Saturday 31 August 2002, 3:00pm at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
Barclays Premier League
West Bromich Albion
West Bromwich Albion
1
Moore 48'
Fulham FC
Fulham
0
Fulham concede a second-half goal at The Hawthorns which proves to be the difference between the sides, as West Bromwich Albion go on to win 1-0.

48' Goal

Darren Moore

25' Yellow Card

Lee Marshall Card was given for a foul

37' Yellow Card

Darren Moore Card was given for a foul

67' Yellow Card

Ronnie Wallwork Card was given for a foul

74' Yellow Card

Andy Johnson Card was given for a foul

52' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Jason Koumas
Off:Lee Marshall

77' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Bob Taylor
Off:Lee Hughes

88' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:James Chambers
Off:Jason Roberts

26' Yellow Card

Luis Boa Morte Card was given for a foul

58' Yellow Card

Sean Davis Card was given for a foul

70' Yellow Card

Steve Finnan Card was given for a foul

59' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Steed Malbranque
Off:Andy Melville

60' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Zat Knight
Off:Junichi Inamoto

60' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Louis Saha
Off:Facundo Sava

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

Defender Darren Moore scored the second-half goal which was the ultimate difference between these two teams in a match as tense as it was scrappy.

But, make no mistake, West Brom lifted themselves off the foot of the table primarily due to the impetus and inspiration supplied by the player in whom manager Gary Megson had invested £2.5million before Saturday's transfer deadline.

Hughes, or the 'Ginger Ninja' as he is known, scored 86 goals in 176 games for West Brom before leaving for Coventry last year and Megson was banking on his renewed partnership with Jason Roberts to revive a season which had begun in such depressing fashion.

Indeed, Megson had described his side's start - defeats against Manchester United, Leeds and Arsenal in which they had shipped nine goals - as being like an "initiation ritual".

Rarely had the old soccer cliche 'baptism of fire' seemed more appropriate.

And yet in Hughes there looks to be a bridgehead of genuine hope. The Albion faithful obviously believe so, giving the striker a thunderous ovation which must have been heartwarming to a local boy who wrestled with his conscience when he left for Coventry in a £5million deal last year.

He was first to everything, twisting and turning the Fulham defence all afternoon and, along with partner Jason Roberts, with whom he used to share a room, causing untold problems in the Londoners' defence.

He sent one right-foot shot in the first-half skidding just wide of goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar's far post. Another header went tamely wide but always there was the threat of goals.

And if he managed to coax his way into the notebook of referee Rob Styles for a foul which said more about his commitment than his timing then it also said much about the pernickety refereeing of the official.

Mr Styles had one of those afternoons which gives spectators valid grounds for complaint - pedantic, overly fussy and apparently without the remotest sympathy for football as an entertainment.

Naturally the fans voiced their complaints in time-honoured fashion, the noisiest cameo of the entire afternoon reserved for the referee's half-time walk down the tunnel.

The goal when it came was as agricultural as the football for much of an afternoon which was a finesse-free zone.

As it was it came from a corner, swung over to the far post where Moore and Hughes rose together. It looked as if striker and defender had managed to get in each other's way when the initial header came back off goalkeeper van der Sar.

But Moore was first to react, leaping again to head the ball down where it caught the forearm of van der Sar but the goalkeeper could not keep it out of the net and the Hawthorns rocked with ecstasy. The lead was richly deserved, if only for Albion's commitment to all-out attack.

Understandably, it was a nervous last 20 minutes, as you would expect playing a team who had hit the ground running in the Premiership this season, largely due to their involvement in the Intertoto Cup.

Fulham had scored twice in the closing minutes to salvage a point last week at Middlesbrough but despite their composed approach play they lacked penetration and barely recorded a shot on target throughout the 90 minutes.

Perhaps their midweek exertions in beating Bologna caught up with them. It certainly looked that way with Japanese World Cup star Junichi Inamoto a shadow of his hat-trick heroics on Wednesday.

In the end Albion might easily have finished with a flourish - substitute Bob Taylor sweeping a thunderous shot from the half-way line in Beckham style which was tipped over with some anxiety by van der Sar.

That would have been asking too much. For now the three points will do Megson just fine.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 31 August 2002
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
Attendance: 25,461

Referee: Rob Styles

West Bromwich Albion

Line-up: Hoult; Moore, Wallwork, Balis, Gilchrist; Clement, Gregan, Marshall (Koumas 52'), Johnson; Roberts (Chambers 88'), Hughes (Taylor 77')

Unused substitutes: Daniels, Dichio

Fulham

Line-up: Van der Sar; Finnan, Goma, Melville (Malbranque 59'), Brevett; Inamoto (Knight 60'), Legwinski, Davis, Boa Morte; Sava (Saha 60'), Marlet

Unused substitutes: Taylor, Hayles

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 4 10
2 Arsenal 3 7
3 Liverpool 3 7
4 Leeds United 4 6
5 Charlton Athletic 4 6
6 Manchester City 4 6
7 Chelsea 3 5
8 Manchester United 3 5
9 Middlesbrough 3 5
10 Blackburn Rovers 4 5
11 Sunderland 4 5
12 Everton 4 5
13 Fulham 3 4
14 Birmingham City 4 4
15 Newcastle United 2 3
16 Aston Villa 3 3
17 West Bromwich Albion 4 3
18 Southampton 4 2
19 West Ham United 3 1
20 Bolton Wanderers 2 0
West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2)
  • 25Russell Hoult
  • 23Darren Moore
  • 24Ronnie Wallwork
  • Igor Balis
  • Phil Gilchrist
  • 6Neil Clement
  • Sean Gregan
  • Lee Marshall
  • 10Andy Johnson
  • 33Jason Roberts
  • 19Lee Hughes
Substitutes
  • 19Luke Daniels
  • 6James Chambers
  • 19Jason Koumas
  • Bob Taylor
  • Danny Dichio
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Steve Finnan
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 4Andy Melville
  • 3Rufus Brevett
  • 6Junichi Inamoto
  • 18Sylvain Legwinski
  • 23Sean Davis
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 9Facundo Sava
  • 7Steve Marlet
Substitutes
  • 12Maik Taylor
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 14Steed Malbranque
  • 15Barry Hayles
  • 20Louis Saha