Saturday 27 October 2001, 3:00pm at Craven Cottage, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Fulham
2
Malbranque 25', 33'
Southampton
Southampton
1
Fulham gained their second Premiership win of the season as two first-half goals from Steed Malbranque saw off Southampton.

25' Goal

Steed Malbranque

33' Goal

Steed Malbranque

46' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Louis Saha
Off:Steve Marlet

37' Yellow Card

James Beattie Card was given for a foul

71' Yellow Card

Matt Oakley Card was given for a foul

36' Substitution

Player was substituted due to an injury
On:Paul Williams
Off:Claus Lundekvam

55' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Dan Petrescu
Off:Jo Tessem

71' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Kevin Davies
Off:James Beattie

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

Jean Tigana's men should have won by a much greater margin at Craven Cottage, though, but for their profligacy in front of goal.

Last season's First Division champions, who have struggled with the transition to the top flight, wasted numerous opportunities against another side at the wrong end of the table.

Their lack of poise in the area could have cost them late on as Anders Svensson struck the crossbar for the visitors, who had levelled through James Beattie.

Gordon Strachan, who saw his new side throw away a two-goal lead twice in his first match in charge, a 3-3 draw with Ipswich in midweek, watched his team outplayed for the most part after a quiet start.

A third away victory in the league was never on the cards and Malbranque, a £4.5million summer signing who was recalled in place of Lee Clark, made sure Svensson's creativity down the right produced the first threat of the match but his third-minute centre following a dash down the right was negated by Luis Boa Morte, tracking back into his own area.

Fulham for their part enjoyed much of the early possession but when Steve Marlet's neat turn allowed him to run clear of the visitors' defence he was denied by a well-timed challenge from Claus Lundekvam.

Then, just before the quarter-hour, the record £11.5million signing escaped down the left only for his cross-shot to be repelled by Saints goalkeeper Paul Jones.

Southampton, who have won twice on the road in the Premiership so far this season, could have taken the lead in the 18th minute as the ball pinged about the Fulham box and Matt Oakley's shot bobbled wide.

But it was the home side who always looked likelier to score and they did so seven minutes later.

Barry Hayles, again preferred to Louis Saha up front, twisted and turned in the box, his shot was blocked by Jones' legs and with the goalkeeper floored,

Marlet headed goalwards for Malbranque to steer in from a couple of yards ahead of Jo Tessem.

Indecision in the Fulham backline allowed the visitors to restore parity, however, in the 32nd-minute.

Tahar El Khalej's header from inside his own half looked innocuous enough with Marian Pahars running back from an offside position.

But with the hosts' defence waiting for a whistle, James Beattie was allowed to proceed by referee Andy d'Urso and despite getting the ball stuck under his feet while advancing on Edwin van der Sar's goal, regained his composure to sidefoot past the advancing Dutchman.

But the scores remained level for just 60 seconds as Malbranque, who like Marlet gave up Champions League football with Lyon for west London, claimed his second of the afternoon and fourth of the season.

Steve Finnan's low cross was taken off Marlet's toes by El Khalej, the ball ran to Malbranque and he lifted into the roof of the net from eight yards.

Former Southampton winger Boa Morte, who had gone close just before the interval with a drive into the side netting, went on a jinking run across the area at the start of the second, helping the ball to Malbranque, whose cross was turned over by Hayles.

Saha, on as a half-time replacement for Marlet, should have done better when van der Sar's long ball forward sent him racing clear, lifting his effort way too high.

Fulham, whose Achilles heel this season has been scoring goals, continued to create chances and they were close to making it 3-1 through Boa Morte.

Hayles and Malbranque attempted to swap passes but the ball ran loose to the Portugal international, who curled a left-footed attempt against an upright and Saha flashed the rebound wide.

The latter's pace afforded him another opportunity moments later, though, this time seizing on a punt forward, beating the onrushing Jones with his lob, which drifted agonisingly wide.

Malbranque was denied a hat-trick 17 minutes from time as Jones spectacularly tipped his well-placed effort from the edge of the area around a post.

And the Wales number one excelled again by rushing out to smother at Saha's feet as the Cottagers' frustrations grew.

It could have been worse for Tigana's men in between those saves, however, as Svensson's speculative 30-yarder beat van der Sar and thudded off the crossbar for Pahars to somehow blaze over.

Then, substitute Dan Petrescu was left aghast at d'Urso's failure to spot Rufus Brevett charging down a shot with his hands in the box.

With the home crowd tense, there could have been additions to the score at either end but Boa Morte sent a shot wide and Pahars stabbed another off target at the other end.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 27 October 2001
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 18,771

Referee: Andy D'Urso

Fulham

Line-up: Van der Sar; Finnan, Goma, Melville, Brevett; Malbranque, Legwinski, Collins, Boa Morte; Hayles, Marlet (Saha 46')

Unused substitutes: Taylor, Harley, Knight, Goldbaek

Southampton

Line-up: Jones; Dodd, Lundekvam (Williams 36'), El-Khalej, Bridge; Tessem (Petrescu 55'), Oakley, Delap, Svensson; Pahars, Beattie (Davies 71')

Unused substitutes: Moss, Draper

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Aston Villa 10 21
2 Leeds United 10 20
3 Arsenal 10 19
4 Liverpool 9 19
5 Manchester United 10 18
6 Newcastle United 10 17
7 Tottenham Hotspur 11 17
8 Bolton Wanderers 11 15
9 Chelsea 9 14
10 Everton 10 14
11 Blackburn Rovers 10 13
12 Sunderland 11 13
13 Fulham 10 11
14 Middlesbrough 11 11
15 West Ham United 9 11
16 Charlton Athletic 10 10
17 Ipswich Town 10 8
18 Southampton 10 7
19 Derby County 9 6
20 Leicester City 10 5
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Steve Finnan
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 4Andy Melville
  • 3Rufus Brevett
  • 14Steed Malbranque
  • 18Sylvain Legwinski
  • 10John Collins
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 15Barry Hayles
  • 7Steve Marlet
Substitutes
  • 12Maik Taylor
  • 7Jon Harley
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 19Bjarne Goldbaek
  • 20Louis Saha
Southampton (4-4-2)
  • Paul Jones
  • 2Jason Dodd
  • 5Claus Lundekvam
  • Tahar El-Khalej
  • 3Wayne Bridge
  • 21Jo Tessem
  • 8Matt Oakley
  • 24Rory Delap
  • Anders Svensson
  • Marian Pahars
  • 9James Beattie
Substitutes
  • Neil Moss
  • Paul Williams
  • Dan Petrescu
  • Mark Draper
  • 14Kevin Davies