Sunday 19 March 2006, 4:00pm at Craven Cottage, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Fulham
1
Boa Morte 17'
Chelsea
Chelsea
0
The Whites recorded a momentous victory over Chelsea at Craven Cottage with a stunning performance of skill and resilience. Luis Boa Morte’s goal was all that separated the two sides in a pulsating encounter.

17' Goal

Luis Boa Morte

53' Yellow Card

Michael Brown Card was given for a foul

71' Substitution

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

89' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Philippe Christanval
Off:Steed Malbranque

29' Yellow Card

Robert Huth Card was given for a foul

57' Yellow Card

Ricardo Carvalho Card was given for a foul

60' Yellow Card

Didier Drogba Card was given for a foul

90' Yellow Card

Claude Makelele Card was given for a foul

90' Red Card

William Gallas Card was given for a foul

26' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Damien Duff
Off:Shaun Wright-Phillips

26' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Didier Drogba
Off:Joe Cole

46' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Ricardo Carvalho
Off:Robert Huth

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

Fulham had a penalty appeal turned down on the five minute mark after John Terry mistimed a challenge on the rapidly advancing Volz. Although the Fulham faithful appealed strongly, replays showed that although Terry missed the ball, he also failed to make any meaningful contact with Volz. Regardless, the appeal added a touch of spice to an already exuberant atmosphere.

With both sides employing differing systems, the game was proving to be an interesting tactical battle in addition to the physical tussle. Chelsea lined up in their familiar 4-5-1 formation whilst Fulham utilised a more solid 4-4-2 with Pembridge and Brown tying up the central midfield area.

Fulham took the lead in the 17th minute through Boa Morte's effort. The home side had been producing some threatening pieces of football in the lead up to the goal, and the strike was not against the run of play.

Boa Morte received the ball in the inside left position and although the Chelsea defence had opened up, allowing the right foot shot, Boa Morte elected to push the ball inside to Malbranque.

The French midfielder checked back and played the ball back into the path of the Portuguese winger. Both Boa Morte and Ferreira swung their feet but Ferreira got there first and cannoned the ball into Boa Morte’s shin and past Cech.

The ease with which Fulham were controlling proceedings brought about an early double substitution from Chelsea. Shaun Wright-Phillips, who had enjoyed no success against Liam Rosenior, was replaced by Duff whilst Joe Cole made way for Drogba as the visitors switched to a 4-4-2 to match up man-for-man with Fulham.

Mark Crossley produced a fine save to deny Duff on 31 minutes as the substitute looked to have an immediate impact on the game. After advancing to the edge of the Fulham area, the former Blackburn winger hit a fierce left footed drive which Crossley got down to well and blocked with a strong left hand.

The action rapidly switched to the other end when, having won back possession, Mark Pembridge played a nice ball with the outside of his left foot into the path of Collins John, who had sprung the Chelsea offside trap. With Cech rapidly advancing, the Dutch striker attempted to lift the ball over his body, but the angle was too tight and the keeper cleared the danger.

As half time approached, Chelsea began to up the pressure. Playing now with Drogba and Crespo up front, the visitors were certainly having more of an impact on Fulham’s defence.

Chelsea made their third and final change of the match during the half time interval with Carvalho replacing Huth in the centre of defence.

Mark Pembridge was only a whisker away from doubling Fulham’s advantage soon after with a wickedly taken free kick. Chelsea, aware of Pembridge’s threat from the dead ball, lined up with a six man wall. Nonetheless, the former Welsh international was still able to bend a low free kick against the foot of the post.

There were controversial scenes moments later at the other end when Chelsea thought they scored the equaliser. Didier Drogba’s direct run was found by a probing pass but the Chelsea front man controlled the ball with his hand before rounding Crossley and slotting the ball into an empty net.

With Jose Mourinho urging his men back to the centre circle for the restart, Referee Mike Dean was not influenced and took his time before consulting his assistant and correctly ruling that Drogba had illegally controlled the ball.

Heidar Helguson replaced Collins John with half an hour to go as Chris Coleman gave the Chelsea defence a different threat to contend with.

Fulham were by no means being torn apart but as the match entered its closing stages, Chelseawere forcing the more dangerous situations – whether they were through corners or open play.

The atmosphere amongst the home fans was tangible as the final whistle drew closer and every won header or tackle was greeted with a cheer.

With Fulham looking to close off the game, Coleman replaced Malbranque with Phillippe Christanval coming on to keep a tight grip on the midfield area.

Mark Crossley had to be on call to produce another fine save with only minutes remaining, this time it was from a John Terry header. And there was more controversy at the death when William Gallas was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Helguson whilst the Icelandic striker was shielding the ball. A long stoppage in play followed, which was enough to put out any hopes of Chelsea getting an equaliser.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Sunday 19 March 2006
Kick-off: 4:00pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 22,486

Referee: Mike Dean

Fulham

Line-up: Crossley; Volz, Knight, Pearce, Rosenior; Malbranque (Christanval 89'), Pembridge, Brown, Boa Morte; McBride, John (Helguson 71')

Unused substitutes: Warner, Jensen, Radzinski

Chelsea

Line-up: Cech; Gallas, Huth (Carvalho 46'), Terry, Ferreira; Makelele; Wright-Phillips (Duff 26'), Lampard, Essien, Joe Cole (Drogba 26'); Crespo

Unused substitutes: Cudicini, Maniche

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Chelsea 30 75
2 Manchester United 29 63
3 Liverpool 31 61
4 Tottenham Hotspur 30 52
5 Arsenal 30 50
6 Blackburn Rovers 30 49
7 Bolton Wanderers 28 48
8 Wigan Athletic 30 46
9 Everton 30 43
10 West Ham United 29 42
11 Manchester City 30 40
12 Newcastle United 30 39
13 Charlton Athletic 30 39
14 Fulham 31 35
15 Aston Villa 30 34
16 Middlesbrough 29 34
17 West Bromwich Albion 30 27
18 Birmingham City 29 24
19 Portsmouth 30 24
20 Sunderland 30 10
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Mark Crossley
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 6Zat Knight
  • 35Ian Pearce
  • 17Liam Rosenior
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 7Mark Pembridge
  • 9Michael Brown
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 20Brian McBride
  • 15Collins John
Substitutes
  • 12Tony Warner
  • 19Philippe Christanval
  • 33Niclas Jensen
  • 10Heidar Helguson
  • 13Tomasz Radzinski
Chelsea (4-1-4-1)
  • 1Petr Cech
  • 3William Gallas
  • 4Robert Huth
  • 26John Terry
  • 19Paulo Ferreira
  • 4Claude Makelele
  • 24Shaun Wright-Phillips
  • 8Frank Lampard
  • 5Michael Essien
  • 10Joe Cole
  • Hernán Crespo
Substitutes
  • 23Carlo Cudicini
  • 6Ricardo Carvalho
  • 7Maniche
  • 16Damien Duff
  • 11Didier Drogba