Saturday 23 August 2003, 3:00pm at Goodison Park, Liverpool
Barclays Premier League
Everton
Everton
3
Unsworth 7'; Naysmith 20'; Watson 35'
Fulham FC
Fulham
1
Hayles 69'
Three goals in a 28-minute first-half spell for Everton should have been the start of a goals bonanza but in the end the home side were more than happy to hear the final whistle.

7' Goal

David Unsworth

20' Goal

Gary Naysmith

35' Goal

Steve Watson

49' Yellow Card

Alessandro Pistone Card was given for a foul

87' Yellow Card

Steve Watson Card was given for a foul

74' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Nick Chadwick
Off:Wayne Rooney

69' Goal

Barry Hayles

60' Yellow Card

Moritz Volz Card was given for a foul

83' Yellow Card

Steed Malbranque Card was given for a foul

90' Yellow Card

Alain Goma Card was given for a foul

46' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Barry Hayles
Off:Sylvain Legwinski

56' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Zat Knight
Off:Martin Djetou

62' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Malik Buari
Off:Junichi Inamoto

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

Just how much Steve Marlet's likely departure influenced Fulham's awful first-half display is open to debate but they never recovered from a spell ofembarrassing Everton domination in which Rooney's skills and pace were influential as Gary Naysmith, David Unsworth and Steve Watson put the hosts in total control.

 But the second period was nowhere near as one-sided and Fulham scored through substitute Barry Hayles, created a hatful of chances and but for Everton goalkeeper Richard Wright they could even have nicked a point. Rooney was back for his first start of the season, and his influence was immediate. Fulham left out Marlet, who is almost certainly on his way out of the club with Marseille the expected destination. Before the goals deluge, Everton full-back Unsworth almost conceded a dreadful own goal as he passed back to Wright without looking to see the goalkeeper was stood just behind him. 

The pair watched the ball roll wide of a post. Everton struck instantly from that moment of embarrassment as Watson won possession and fed Rooney.  When the ball came back to Naysmith just outside the box, he rifled a low drive inside Edwin van der Sar's left-hand post. Fulham's reply came from a Junichi Inamoto drive which cannoned away off Alan Stubbs and a Steed Malbranque shot then struck Unsworth on the six-yard line. The ease with which Everton were able to run at and expose Fulham's back line was emphasised when Rooney surged from halfway and found Naysmith charging up in support with a fierce drive which flashed over the crossbar. A minute later Everton cut Fulham to pieces again.  Rooney's cross-field ball was flicked to Watson by Naysmith, and ended up being fed into the path of Unsworth galloping into the box on the left.  The big defender unleashed a low drive inside the far post for the second. Fulham responded with a Malbranque cross which Louis Saha fell over, unmarked, on the six-yard line.

That just about summed them up. Everton were clearly in the mood now and from a well-worked free-kick 25 yards out, Stubbs' rising drive hit the top of the post before bouncing to safety. But on 35 minutes, Fulham's defence was caught out again as the hosts grabbed their third.  Naysmith headed down a free kick, Rooney forced Alain Goma into an error before trying to screw the ball in from almost on the byline.  Watson was there anyway to blast the ball home from a couple of feet. Fulham replaced Sylvain Legwinski with Hayles at the break, and the striker's first involvement was a a tackle and a booking on Naysmith. 

Whatever rookie boss Chris Coleman said at the break, Fulham at least emerged for the second half prepared to run and tackle. And Wright was finally being tested.  He saved full length from Malbranque and then turned away substitute Malik Buari's header. Rooney almost got himself on the scoresheet when Watson's fierce midfield challenge on Goma sent the ball straight into the young striker's path.  He raced down the left and tried to chip van der Sar but the Dutchman was able to pullthe ball down to safety. Wright had to save twice more from Malbranque and Hayles before Fulham scored. It came on 69 minutes when Hayles turned in the box to fire home Malbranque's right-wing corner. The tiring Rooney was taken off in the 74th minute as Nick Chadwick came on, but still Fulham dominated play to the increasing distress of the home support. Naysmith missed a sitter but the chances were mainly coming Fulham's way, Saha heading wide on 77 minutes and then Boa Morte's clever chip on 82 minutes had to be clawed out from under the crossbar by Wright.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 23 August 2003
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool
Attendance: 37,604

Referee: Neale Barry

Everton

Line-up: Wright; Watson, Unsworth, Stubbs, Pistone; Naysmith, Yobo, Gravesen, Linderoth; Radzinski, Rooney (Chadwick 74')

Unused substitutes: Simonsen, Weir, Tie, Osman

Fulham

Line-up: Van der Sar; Volz, Goma, Djetou (Knight 56'), Bonnissel; Malbranque, Inamoto (Buari 62'), Clark, Legwinski (Hayles 46'), Boa Morte; Saha

Unused substitutes: Crossley, Sava

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Manchester United 2 6
2 Chelsea 2 6
3 Blackburn Rovers 2 4
4 Manchester City 2 4
5 Portsmouth 2 4
6 Birmingham City 2 4
7 Charlton Athletic 2 3
8 Everton 2 3
9 Arsenal 1 3
10 Tottenham Hotspur 2 3
11 Fulham 2 3
12 Southampton 2 2
13 Leeds United 2 1
14 Leicester City 2 1
15 Newcastle United 2 1
16 Bolton Wanderers 2 1
17 Middlesbrough 1 0
18 Aston Villa 1 0
19 Liverpool 1 0
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 0
Everton (4-4-2)
  • 1Richard Wright
  • 2Steve Watson
  • 25David Unsworth
  • 15Alan Stubbs
  • Alessandro Pistone
  • 3Gary Naysmith
  • 66Joseph Yobo
  • 10Thomas Gravesen
  • Tobias Linderoth
  • 13Tomasz Radzinski
  • 10Wayne Rooney
Substitutes
  • 1Steve Simonsen
  • David Weir
  • 12Li Tie
  • 21Leon Osman
  • 29Nick Chadwick
Fulham (4-5-1)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 17Martin Djetou
  • 18Jerome Bonnissel
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 6Junichi Inamoto
  • 10Lee Clark
  • 5Sylvain Legwinski
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 8Louis Saha
Substitutes
  • 12Mark Crossley
  • 16Zat Knight
  • Malik Buari
  • 9Facundo Sava
  • 15Barry Hayles