Sunday 19 January 2003, 3:00pm at Loftus Road, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Fulham
1
Davis 39'
Middlesbrough
0
England hopeful Sean Davis grabbed the goal which ensured Fulham finished the day with a morale-boosting 1-0 victory against terrible travellers Middlesbrough.

39' Goal

Sean Davis

89' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Luis Boa Morte
Off:Facundo Sava

68' Yellow Card

Gareth Southgate Card was given for a foul

45' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Joseph-Desire Job
Off:Luke Wilkshire

64' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Szilard Nemeth
Off:Noel Whelan

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

Sven-Goran Eriksson was in the directors' box to assess Davis before the friendly with Australia next month - and he saw the midfielder slot home in the 39th minute to condemn Boro to their eighth away league defeat on the trot.  

Before the game, off-the-field issues had dominated conversation at Loftus Road.  

The 'Back to the Cottage' fans' pressure group dished out leaflets urging chairman Mohamed Al Fayed to resurrect plans to return the club to theirtraditional Craven Cottage home.  

But Al Fayed, who has poured more than £100million into the club, hit back inthe match programme.  "There seems to be a general perception I will continue to bankroll Fulham with limitless funds. I will not," he warned.  

"I may have deep pockets but I am not a fool with my money.   

We must tighten our belts and introduce prudent budgetary control."

On the field Davis struck at the end of an uneventful first half.  

The second period was far more entertaining, with Boro surviving an incredible goalmouth scramble and Facundo Sava hitting the crossbar.  

The best effort by Steve McClaren side's was Joseph-Desire Job's fierce strike, flipped over the bar by Fulham goalkeeper Maik Taylor.  

So Boro again failed to find the net - just as they have in their last eightleague games away from the Riverside - and it was Fulham who clinched the three points to edge away from the Barclaycard Premiership relegation zone.  

Early on, Sava caused Boro big problems at the back.   

But his wayward finishing- sending headers well wide and blasting a shot on the turn into row Z - ensured the game remained goalless at the quarter-hour mark.  

Fulham moved up a gear at the half-way point of the first period, Mark Schwarzer saving spectacularly from Davis and Steve Marlet seeing his strike deflected wide.  

Boro's attacking efforts were frequently halted by the linesman raising his flag for offside.  

Fulham were timing their runs much better - and from one such forward burst, by Davis in the 39th minute, the home side bagged the opener.  

Sava laid the ball off to Sylvain Legwinski on the half-way line, and the Frenchman threaded a fine through ball down the inside-left channel.  

Davis raced on to the precise pass and cut in on goal, ahead of Gareth Southgate, to poke the ball beyond Schwarzer and into the bottom right corner.  

Djetou preserved Fulham's lead by heading off his line when Taylor misjudged along punt up field and allowed the ball to bounce over his head and towards anopen net.  

Boro somehow survived two minutes after the interval when Steed Malbranque's first effort was blocked on his line by Massimo Maccarone, his follow-up wascharged down and then Marlet saw his header half-cleared before skying yetanother attempt.  

Then the Teessiders finally showed some attacking invention and went close tothe equaliser.  

A minute after Tony Vidmar's shot trundled wide, half-time substitute Jobproduced a sparkling run and shot which was met by an equally impressive Taylor save.  

Sava's sublime mid-air flick almost created Fulham's second - but Marlet, just five yards out, was unable to control the ball.  

Southgate ironically went closer just after the hour, slicing Malbranque's cross over his own bar.  

It was all Fulham now, with only the woodwork and Schwarzer's heroics preventing the Cottagers doubling their lead.  

Sava produced a crashing header from Davis' corner which smacked against theBoro crossbar.  

Then Schwarzer brilliantly palmed Bjarne Goldbaek's dipping 25-yarder roundhis right-hand post.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Sunday 19 January 2003
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Loftus Road, London
Attendance: 14,253

Referee: Mark Halsey

Fulham

Line-up: Taylor; Finnan, Djetou, Goma, Brevett; Malbranque, Davis, Legwinski, Goldbaek; Sava (Boa Morte 89'), Marlet

Unused substitutes: Herrera, Melville, Collins, Hammond

Middlesbrough

Line-up: Schwarzer; Parnaby, Southgate, Vidmar, Queudrue; Geremi, Greening, Wilson, Wilkshire (Job 45'); Whelan (Nemeth 64'), Maccarone

Unused substitutes: Crossley, Cooper, Boksic

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Arsenal 24 52
2 Manchester United 24 47
3 Newcastle United 23 42
4 Chelsea 24 41
5 Everton 24 39
6 Liverpool 24 38
7 Tottenham Hotspur 24 38
8 Southampton 24 36
9 Blackburn Rovers 24 34
10 Manchester City 24 34
11 Leeds United 24 31
12 Middlesbrough 24 30
13 Charlton Athletic 23 30
14 Aston Villa 24 29
15 Fulham 23 27
16 Birmingham City 24 26
17 Bolton Wanderers 23 21
18 Sunderland 24 19
19 West Bromwich Albion 23 17
20 West Ham United 23 17
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 12Maik Taylor
  • 2Steve Finnan
  • 17Martin Djetou
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 3Rufus Brevett
  • 14Steed Malbranque
  • 23Sean Davis
  • 18Sylvain Legwinski
  • 19Bjarne Goldbaek
  • 9Facundo Sava
  • 7Steve Marlet
Substitutes
  • Martin Herrera
  • 4Andy Melville
  • 10John Collins
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 34Elvis Hammond
Middlesbrough (4-4-2)
  • 1Mark Schwarzer
  • 2Stuart Parnaby
  • 6Gareth Southgate
  • Tony Vidmar
  • 20Franck Queudrue
  • 20Geremi
  • 14Jonathan Greening
  • 24Mark Wilson
  • Luke Wilkshire
  • Noel Whelan
  • 23Massimo Maccarone
Substitutes
  • 26Mark Crossley
  • Colin Cooper
  • Alen Boksic
  • 8Szilard Nemeth
  • 16Joseph-Desire Job