Saturday 1 May 2004, 3:00pm at Fratton Park, Portsmouth
Barclays Premier League
Portsmouth
1
Yakubu 80'
Fulham FC
Fulham
1
McBride 85'
Brian McBride scored the equaliser for Fulham at Fratton Park, and after the scores were made level it looked like only one side were going to claim all three points. Portsmouth, however, defended valiantly and the Whites had to settle for a point.

80' Goal

Yakubu

52' Yellow Card

Amdy Faye Card was given for a foul

6' Substitution

Player was substituted due to an injury
On:Richard Duffy
Off:Linvoy Primus

90' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Teddy Sheringham
Off:Yakubu

85' Goal

Brian McBride

40' Yellow Card

Sylvain Legwinski Card was given for a foul

42' Yellow Card

Carlos Bocanegra Card was given for a foul

57' Yellow Card

Junichi Inamoto Card was given for a foul

84' Yellow Card

Alain Goma Card was given for a foul

77' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Brian McBride
Off:Martin Djetou

85' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Collins John
Off:Luis Boa Morte

0
15
30
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60
75
90

But the home side had to endure a tense last few minutes in which Fulham substitute Brian McBride struck a spectacular equaliser and then missed a sitter. 

Harry Redknapp's team were celebrating at the end of another sunny south coast day after they collected their 17th point from the last 21 available to extendan unbeaten run to seven matches - five of them victories. Yet it could have been a severe dose of ant-climax at Fratton Park after Yakubu pounced on an error by Fulham's Dutch 'keeper Edwin van der Sar to hit the ball home for his 14th goal of the season 10 minutes from time.

Steve Stone had cleverly given Matt Taylor the chance to make the telling cross with a clever chip into the area. Few would have anticipated American McBride's equaliser which was hammered home with his left foot from all of 30 yards, but from no more than eight he failed to convert the impressive Junichi Inamoto's cross with the goal gaping in stoppage time.

Much relief was the order of the day but it had been a strident, absorbing match with Fulham getting to grips with their determined hosts in the second half. Pompey could have had it wrapped up by half-time but Lomana LuaLua and Yakubu both spurned glorious chances before the on-loan Newcastle raider struck the outside of a post. 

The pair laced into Fulham's stretched defence in a way that Luis Boa Morte could only have dreamed about at the other end. 

Although Sean Davis and Inamoto did their best to offer the Portuguese some support he was too often left isolated in a one-striker system. Hard-running Pompey, with Russian Alexei Smertin a marvellous influence directing midfield traffic with twinkling footwork on his 29th birthday, closed down their rivals with unstinting industry - and still found time to offer aconsiderable forward threat. 

Yakubu's first big opportunity came in the 17th minute when LuaLua fashioned a perfect cross from the right. The Nigerian leapt head and shoulders above all challengers but thrust his header over the crossbar. 

LuaLua, the man Pompey are desperate to sign permanently after the end of his loan from Newcastle, must have seen the goal big and inviting when pulling downa long ball eight yards out 15 minutes later. 

But he swept it across goal and beyond the far post as van der Sar loomed large at him. The 'keeper would have needed every inch of his giant frame though had LuaLua's shot from the right been an inch closer three minutes later.

The angle was at best unlikely in any case but the ball still smacked against the outside of the near post before bouncing away. Half-time could not come too quickly for Chris Coleman's side who still boast an outside chance of qualifying for Europe. 

As it was they were somewhat lucky that Sylvain Legwinski and Carlos Bocanegra were only booked by referee Steve Dunn for calculated fouls - Bocanegra's blatant obstruction stopping LuaLua bursting through the middle. 

Even so, the need for greater physical commitment had clearly been discussed in the Fulham dressing room at half-time and within 30 seconds of the restart they won a series of 50-50 tackles to let Inamoto set up Davis whose shotrattled the underside of the bar. Inamoto had to pull LuaLua's shirt halfway off his back to prevent him breaking clear again and battle was really joined when Yakubu and Smertin testedvan der Sar before Legwinski muscled his way through at the other end only toscoop his shot over.

If Fulham had performed like this in the first half they might have run away with the game. Inamoto shot just wide after a Steed Malbranque free-kick was deflected over the Pompey bar when it could have gone anywhere. 

And it needed a brave block on the hard-working Japanese player by debutant teenage Portsmouth substitute Richard Duffy, replacement for the injured Linvoy Primus, to stop him breaking the deadlock. Pompey stuck to their task though and it looked the perfect finish for them when Yakubu smuggled the ball home after van der Sar's 80th minute blunder. But McBride, who had replaced defender Martin Djetou, had the final word with a thundering shot and then somehow failed to convert a a tap-in at the right atthe death.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 1 May 2004
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Fratton Park, Portsmouth
Attendance: 20,065

Referee: Steve Dunn

Portsmouth

Line-up: Hislop; Primus (Duffy 6'), De Zeeuw, Stefanovic, Taylor; Smertin, Amdy Faye, Quashie, Stone; Yakubu (Sheringham 90'), Lua Lua

Unused substitutes: Wapenaar, Harper, Berkovic

Fulham

Line-up: Van der Sar; Volz, Goma, Pearce, Bocanegra; Inamoto, Legwinski, Djetou (McBride 77'), Davis, Malbranque; Boa Morte (John 85')

Unused substitutes: Crossley, Hudson, Petta

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Arsenal 35 83
2 Chelsea 36 75
3 Manchester United 36 71
4 Liverpool 35 53
5 Newcastle United 35 53
6 Aston Villa 35 52
7 Fulham 36 49
8 Charlton Athletic 36 49
9 Birmingham City 36 49
10 Bolton Wanderers 35 47
11 Southampton 35 45
12 Middlesbrough 35 45
13 Blackburn Rovers 36 43
14 Portsmouth 35 41
15 Everton 36 39
16 Tottenham Hotspur 35 39
17 Manchester City 36 38
18 Leeds United 35 32
19 Wolverhampton Wanderers 36 32
20 Leicester City 36 30
Portsmouth (4-4-2)
  • Shaka Hislop
  • 2Linvoy Primus
  • Arjan De Zeeuw
  • 3Dejan Stefanovic
  • 14Matthew Taylor
  • 16Alexei Smertin
  • 19Amdy Faye
  • 26Nigel Quashie
  • Steve Stone
  • 24Yakubu
  • 32Tresor Lomana Lua Lua
Substitutes
  • Harald Wapenaar
  • 24Richard Duffy
  • Kevin Harper
  • 10Eyal Berkovic
  • 8Teddy Sheringham
Fulham (4-5-1)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 35Ian Pearce
  • 34Carlos Bocanegra
  • 6Junichi Inamoto
  • 5Sylvain Legwinski
  • 17Martin Djetou
  • 23Sean Davis
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
Substitutes
  • 12Mark Crossley
  • 5Mark Hudson
  • 26Bobby Petta
  • 8Brian McBride
  • 17Collins John