Chris Coleman began life as Fulham's permanent boss with a thrilling 3-2 Loftus Road triumph over Middlesbrough which left their fans chanting "Are you watching Sean Davis?".
Cottagers boss Coleman, surprisingly installed on a full-time basis during the summer, agreed to sell wantaway midfielder Davis to either Boro or Everton after he accused the club of lacking ambition. And the fans let the England hopeful, injured on Saturday, know exactly what they thought of him during this action-packed victory against his prospective new team.
Coleman's appointment has sparked a wave of enthusiasm through the club and chairman Mohamed Al Fayed contributed to that on Saturday, reiterating his commitment to the club in his programme notes. Junichi Inamoto and Edwin van der Sar were Fulham's heroes and villains in equal measure. Inamoto produced a candidate for miss of the season before bagging Fulham's second goal - his first league goal in 11 months - but then handled for a Boro penalty. Van der Sar saved brilliantly from Malcolm Christie but was then caught in no man's land as Szilard Nemeth reduced the arrears to 3-2. Carlos Marinelli had put Boro ahead before Steve Marlet equalised. Inamoto bagged the second and Louis Saha the third - with Nemeth ensuring a nervy final few minutes for rookie manager Coleman.
It was a lively opening in west London, with Boro striker Juninho forcing van der Sar into action with a volley from Jonathan Greening's cross inside the first 60 seconds. The Teessiders grabbed the lead with 10 minutes on the clock, thanks to the determination of Marinelli. The midfielder robbed Fulham centre-back Martin Djetou, cut inside from the right and slotted the third goal of his Boro career past the onrushing van der Sar. But Fulham were level just six minutes later, through Marlet. New-boy Jerome Bonnissel crossed from the left, Saha flicked on and Marlet, arriving at pace at the far post, beat Alan Wright to the ball and thundered home. The home side almost took a 2-1 advantage when the trio who made their equaliser teamed up again. Bonnissel's long pass was touched on by Saha and Marlet's lob was met by Schwarzer's leap, clawing the ball away from the open goal behind him.
Schwarzer also saved from Steed Malbranque's dipping volley on the stroke of half-time. Inamoto then produced an awful miss early in the second half. The Japanese international, completely unmarked, made only the slightest contact with the ball when Malbranque teed him up eight yards from goal. But Inamoto made immediate amends when he belted home Fulham's second. Saha laid the ball off to him 10 yards out and he lashed the ball into the roof of the net.
It was all Fulham now and Marlet was close to making it 3-1, his studs just brushing Malbranque's dangerous ball right in front of goal. Then there was drama at the other end in the 61st minute as Inamoto needlessly handled a loose ball in the area to give away a penalty. Van der Sar flung himself full-length to his right to make a majestic save from Christie's spot-kick. But Fulham roared into a 3-1 lead in the 69th minute. Malbranque's chip from the left popped up off Stuart Parnaby's studs and Saha acrobatically hooked the ball into the net from the edge of the six-yard box. Inamoto tried to bag his second with a volley but fired wide. Van der Sar handed Boro a lifeline with nine minutes left. He raced from his goalline as Doriva's through-ball bounced towards Boro substitute Szilard Nemeth - but lost the race by some distance. Nemeth lobbed him to pull the score back to 3-2. Schwarzer saved from Luis Boa Morte as Fulham pushed for a fourth in injury-time.