Saturday 17 December 2005, 3:00pm at Craven Cottage, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Fulham
2
Diop 45'; Boa Morte 52'
Blackburn Rovers
Blackburn Rovers
1
Fulham made it four consecutive home wins with a hard-fought but deserved victory over Blackburn.

45' Goal

Papa Bouba Diop

52' Goal

Luis Boa Morte

42' Yellow Card

Heidar Helguson Card was given for a foul

45'+35 Yellow Card

Brian McBride Card was given for a foul

67' Yellow Card

Zat Knight Card was given for a foul

71' Yellow Card

Tomasz Radzinski Card was given for a foul

35' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Heidar Helguson
Off:Collins John

49' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Sylvain Legwinski
Off:Papa Bouba Diop

90' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Ahmad Elrich
Off:Luis Boa Morte

61' Yellow Card

David Bentley Card was given for a foul

63' Yellow Card

Paul Dickov Card was given for a foul

83' Yellow Card

Kerimoglou Tugay Card was given for a foul

84' Yellow Card

Lucas Neill Card was given for a foul

57' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Shefki Kuqi
Off:Brett Emerton

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

Chris Coleman lined up with a new-look defence for the visit of Mark Hughes’ Blackburn Rovers. Carlos Bocanegra, out with an Achilles injury, was replaced by Dean Leacock who took up position on the right side of defence. Liam Rosenior moved over to the left with Zat Knight and Alain Goma forming the central defensive partnership.

Luis Boa Morte, back from his one game suspension, replaced Steed Malbranque in midfield after the Frenchman was left out as a precaution following a hamstring irritation.

Rovers opened the game with an extended piece of possession football. Fulham, for their part, elected to remain compact and let the visitors have the ball before hitting quickly on the break. The opportunity for a counter-attack first came on 7 minutes when Boa Morte was brought down and the resulting piece of play saw Christanval put his effort wide.

A typically tenacious piece of play from Boa Morte on 10 minutes robbed Lucas Neill and set Fulham up for another attack. The Whites managed for force a corner from which Alain Goma nearly opened his Fulham scoring account with a spectacular scissor kick.

Following the initial burst of possession play from Rovers, the game settled down to a more evenly balanced affair. Fulham were able to gain a good hold on the match thanks to the hard central midfield work of Diop and Christanval.

Collins John came close to opening the scoring for the Whites on 21 minutes when Luis Boa Morte evaded the attentions of Savage and floated a perfect diagonal ball into the path of John, whose diving header was well tipped over by Friedel.

That proved to be John’s final contribution to the match. After receiving some intense treatment on his hamstring during a break in play, it was soon determined that the Dutchman would not be able to continue.

The change saw Helguson partner McBride in attack with Radzinski supporting the two front men. With Fulham still acclimatising to the new formation, Brett Emerton missed the chance of the match when he headed wide with the goal at his mercy.

Papa Bouba Diop then gave Fulham the lead just before the interval when he was on hand to side foot home Luis Boa Morte’s well-delivered free kick.

Diop lasted just three minutes into the second half before he limped off with what looked like an ankle injury picked up midway through the first half. The Senegalese giant was replaced by Legwinski.

Fulham doubled their lead on 52 minutes through a well worked team move. Sylvain Legwinski fed the ball to McBride and the American played a one-touch pass into the path of Helguson – all in a very congested area of the pitch. The Icelandic striker raced clear on the right before squaring into the patch of Boa Morte, who applied the finish.

Moment later Blackburnstarted to turn the screw. First Morton Gamst Pedersen struck the bar with a fierce free kick before Mark Crossley was forced to arch his back and claw a high ball away from under the bar.

With Helguson and McBride competing hard up front, Blackburn’s back four certainly knew they were in a game. Not only were the tough duo fighting hard in attack but they were also dropping back into midfield to make their mark.

A flowing passing move from Fulham on 73 minutes culminated in Helguson touching the ball to McBride, who had found a yard of space. Unfortunately, the pass was straight at McBride and he was unable to work it into space.

The game then descended into something of a scrappy affair with yellow card being handed out freely and more punishable offences evading the official’s eye.

Blackburnwere given a lifeline when Zat Knight glanced a Blackburncross past Crossley. The goal ensured it was a nervy final few minutes for the Whites as Rovers piled forward and had came close to equalising on a couple of occasions. 

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 17 December 2005
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 20,138

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Fulham

Line-up: Crossley; Leacock, Goma, Knight, Rosenior; Radzinski, Christanval, Diop (Legwinski 49'), Boa Morte (Elrich 90'); McBride, John (Helguson 35')

Unused substitutes: Warner, Pearce

Blackburn Rovers

Line-up: Friedel; Neill, Khizanishvili, Todd, Gray; Emerton (Kuqi 57'), Tugay, Savage, Pedersen; Bentley, Dickov

Unused substitutes: Enckelman, Reid, Douglas, Mokoena

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Chelsea 16 43
2 Manchester United 17 37
3 Liverpool 15 31
4 Tottenham Hotspur 16 30
5 Bolton Wanderers 16 30
6 Wigan Athletic 17 28
7 Arsenal 15 26
8 West Ham United 17 25
9 Newcastle United 17 25
10 Manchester City 16 24
11 Charlton Athletic 16 22
12 Blackburn Rovers 17 21
13 Middlesbrough 16 19
14 Fulham 17 19
15 Aston Villa 17 17
16 Everton 17 17
17 West Bromwich Albion 17 16
18 Portsmouth 17 13
19 Birmingham City 15 12
20 Sunderland 17 5
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Mark Crossley
  • 22Dean Leacock
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 6Zat Knight
  • 17Liam Rosenior
  • 13Tomasz Radzinski
  • 19Philippe Christanval
  • 14Papa Bouba Diop
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 20Brian McBride
  • 15Collins John
Substitutes
  • 12Tony Warner
  • 35Ian Pearce
  • 5Sylvain Legwinski
  • 27Ahmad Elrich
  • 10Heidar Helguson
Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2)
  • 1Brad Friedel
  • 2Lucas Neill
  • Zurab Khizanishvili
  • 4Andrew Todd
  • 33Michael Gray
  • 7Brett Emerton
  • 5Kerimoglou Tugay
  • 8Robbie Savage
  • 12Morten Gamst Pedersen
  • 11David Bentley
  • 10Paul Dickov
Substitutes
  • 31Peter Enckelman
  • 16Steven Reid
  • 8Jonathan Douglas
  • 15Aaron Mokoena
  • 32Shefki Kuqi