Saturday 1 April 2006, 3:00pm at Craven Cottage, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Fulham
1
Malbranque 10'
Portsmouth
3
O'Neil 1', 62'; Lua Lua 24'
The Whites were unable to put further distance between themselves at the bottom three on Saturday as they suffered defeat at the hands of a hard working Portsmouth side.

10' Goal

Steed Malbranque

69' Yellow Card

Steed Malbranque Card was given for a foul

74' Red Card

Michael Brown Card was given for a foul

90' Yellow Card

Heidar Helguson Card was given for a foul

34' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Philippe Christanval
Off:Ian Pearce

66' Substitution

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

72' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Tomasz Radzinski
Off:Mark Pembridge

1' Goal

Gary O'Neil

24' Goal

Tresor Lomana Lua Lua

62' Goal

Gary O'Neil

55' Yellow Card

Gary O'Neil Card was given for a foul

70' Yellow Card

Pedro Mendes Card was given for a foul

66' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Dejan Stefanovic
Off:Andres D'Alessandro

69' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Svetoslav Todorov
Off:Benjani

89' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Azar Karadas
Off:Tresor Lomana Lua Lua

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

Fulham got off to the worst possible start when, after just 35 seconds, Portsmouth took the lead through Gary O’Neil. Wayne Bridge failed to deal with a diagonal ball into the box and O’Neill was on hand to place his finish past Mark Crossley’s right hand.

The Fulham faithful packed into Craven Cottage didn’t have long to wait for an equaliser though. The Whites had been threatening and on 9 minutes a wonderful piece of magic from Steed Malbranque got Fulham back on level terms. The French playmaker received the ball just outside the edge of the penalty area, with three Portsmouth players for company. In one movement he evaded the attentions of all three before curling a wonderful shot past the grasp of Kiely and in off the post.

The Fulham defence breathed a sigh of relief on 18 minutes when Fulham old boy, Sean Davis, put his effort over the bar when it would have been easier to score. The opportunity was created by the ever dangerous Andres D’Alessandro who showed good skill to beat Volz and play the ball into the danger area. The ball passed a number of players before reaching Davis who, from four yards, shinned the ball over. It was a lucky escape.

The game barely had time to settle back into a normal rhythm before Portsmouthre-took the lead. Following a headed flick-on from a throw, Lomana LuaLua sprinted clear of Zat Knight and finished past Crossley with the outside of his right foot.

The action soon swung immediately to the other end. WayneBridgemade good ground down the left before being brought down. Following a short free kick, the ball was well delivered into the box by Bridge before Brian McBride rose highest and guided his header on to the bar.

Portsmouth’s two livewires, D’Alessandro and LuaLua, were proving to be the main source of problems for Fulham back line. Both were looking to get into space on Fulham’s right flank and their trickery was giving the unsupported Volz plenty to contend with.

Ian Pearce’s involvement in the game ended on the 33 minute mark. The big central defender looked to have tweaked his back just before Portsmouthscored their second. He was replaced by Phillippe Christanval.

Fulham’s first attempt on Portsmouth’s goal in the second half came in the 52nd minute when Luis Boa Morte fed the ball through to John, who was marginally offside. Just minutes later a Mark Pembridge corner caused havoc in the visitors’ area and only a last ditch clearance from Primus prevented Malbranque from smashing the ball home.

Just as the game entered a fragmented period of play, Portsmouthextended their lead courtesy of a fortunate deflection. With the ball bouncing on the edge of the area, O’Neil tried his luck. His shot skimmed off the top of Christanval's head, which gave the ball sufficient additional elevation to loop over the reach of Crossley.

In an attempt to get back into the game, Chris Coleman replaced Collins John with Heidar Helguson on 65 minutes. The Whites’ attacking options were further boosted on 72 minutes as Coleman played his final hand of the match, bringing Tomasz Radzinski on for Pembridge.

Unfortunately for Fulham, Coleman’s tactical change was somewhat stifled as, almost immediately, Michael Brown was shown a straight red card for a two footed challenge on Sean Davis which caught the Pompey midfielder on the right shin. The challenge left Referee Foy with little option but to brandish the red.

Despite having the numerical advantage and looking to sit on their lead, Portsmouth were far from looking assured at the back as Fulham desperately tried to get back into the game.

A straight free kick into the box on 81 minutes, aimed at Helguson, had the Pompey defence at sixes and sevens as Kiely fumbled, only to be bailed out by a hefty clearance.

Helguson then missed a golden opportunity to bring a dramatic end to the game as he charged through the middle of Portsmouth’s defence, played a one-two with Malbranque, before lifting the ball over with only the 'keeper to beat.

The Icelandic international was certainly getting himself involved. Moments later Dean Kiely failed to gather a through ball which bounced out to McBride. The American international squared the ball to Helguson who only had to slot the ball into the empty net. Unfortunately he scuffed the finish and a recovering defender was able to clear. 

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 1 April 2006
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 22,322

Referee: Chris Foy

Fulham

Line-up: Crossley; Volz, Knight, Pearce (Christanval 34'), Bridge; Malbranque, Brown, Pembridge (Radzinski 72'), Boa Morte; McBride, John (Helguson 66')

Unused substitutes: Warner, Rosenior

Portsmouth

Line-up: Kiely; Primus, Priske, O'Brien, Taylor; D'Alessandro (Stefanovic 66'), Davis, Pedro Mendes, O'Neil; Benjani (Todorov 69'), Lua Lua (Karadas 89')

Unused substitutes: Ashdown, Routledge

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Chelsea 32 79
2 Manchester United 32 72
3 Liverpool 32 64
4 Arsenal 31 53
5 Tottenham Hotspur 32 53
6 Blackburn Rovers 31 52
7 Bolton Wanderers 30 48
8 Wigan Athletic 31 46
9 West Ham United 31 45
10 Everton 32 44
11 Charlton Athletic 31 42
12 Newcastle United 32 42
13 Manchester City 31 40
14 Middlesbrough 30 37
15 Fulham 33 36
16 Aston Villa 32 35
17 West Bromwich Albion 31 28
18 Portsmouth 31 27
19 Birmingham City 31 25
20 Sunderland 32 11
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Mark Crossley
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 6Zat Knight
  • 35Ian Pearce
  • 31Wayne Bridge
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 9Michael Brown
  • 7Mark Pembridge
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 20Brian McBride
  • 15Collins John
Substitutes
  • 12Tony Warner
  • 17Liam Rosenior
  • 19Philippe Christanval
  • 10Heidar Helguson
  • 13Tomasz Radzinski
Portsmouth (4-4-2)
  • 33Dean Kiely
  • 2Linvoy Primus
  • 6Brian Priske
  • 33Andy O'Brien
  • 14Matthew Taylor
  • 4Andres D'Alessandro
  • 28Sean Davis
  • 30Pedro Mendes
  • 26Gary O'Neil
  • 25Benjani
  • 32Tresor Lomana Lua Lua
Substitutes
  • 1Jamie Ashdown
  • 3Dejan Stefanovic
  • 15Wayne Routledge
  • 8Azar Karadas
  • 9Svetoslav Todorov