Monday 2 January 2006, 3:00pm at Craven Cottage, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Fulham
2
John 43', 61'
Sunderland
Sunderland
1
Lawrence 7'
Fulham came back from behind to win an abrasive match against Premiership strugglers Sunderland.

43' Goal

Collins John

61' Goal

Collins John

45' Yellow Card

Dean Leacock Card was given for a foul

59' Yellow Card

Sylvain Legwinski Card was given for a foul

40' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Heidar Helguson
Off:Papa Bouba Diop

69' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Steed Malbranque
Off:Collins John

75' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Niclas Jensen
Off:Liam Rosenior

7' Goal

Liam Lawrence

57' Red Card

Steven Caldwell Card was given for a foul

76' Yellow Card

Tommy Miller Card was given for a foul

90' Yellow Card

Julio Arca Card was given for a foul

64' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Nyron Nosworthy
Off:Anthony Le Tallec

64' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Daryl Murphy
Off:Justin Hoyte

65' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Andy Gray
Off:Jon Stead

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

The Whites, who were forced to field a number of players short of full fitness, fell behind in the 6th minute when Liam Lawrence latched on to a half-cleared ball from Zat Knight and volleyed home from the edge of the area.

It was a poor start for Fulham who had failed to settle to the early pace of the game.  That period of uncertainty came to an end on the quarter hour mark when, for the first time in the match, Fulham began to take control of possession.

Papa Bouba Diop came close to getting the all-important equaliser ham when on 20 minutes Luis Boa Morte ran on to McBride’s flick on a turned the ball across the face of goal. Only a sliding interception prevented the ball from getting through to Diop, who had to goal at his mercy.

Sunderland were looking at their most dangerous when in possession just in front of Fulham’s back line and the ease witch which they were able to advance beyond Fulham’s midfield must have caused some concern on the Fulham bench.

On 30 minutes Luis Boa Morte saw his powerful free kick headed away by Gary Breen after a well-rehearsed routine allowed the Portuguese international shooting room. 

Fulham’s defence had a scare 38 minutes when Lawrence bundled his way past both Zat Knight and Ian Pearce before Dean Leacock’s covering challenge cleared the danger.

Papa Bouba Diop’s involvement ended on 39 minutes when he was replaced by Heidar Helguson. Despite displaying his usual touches of quality in the centre on the park, Diop was clearly lacking match sharpness.  The substitution saw Fulham changed to a 4-4-2 system with John and Radzinski moving out to the wings.

Fulham got back on level terms in the 42nd minute when McBride flicked on a cross and Collins John managed to leap forward and head an awkward ball past Davis.

A moment of confusion in the Black Cats’ defence on 47 minutes gave Zat Knight the opportunity to shoot on goal.  Unfortunately the ball arrived on his left foot and the big defender sliced wide.  Collins John was next to try his luck as he tested Davis’ reactions twice.

Sunderland were reduced to ten men on 57 minutes when Heidar Helguson was brought down by Steven Caldwell after Ian’s Pearce’s through ball had set the Icelandic striker clean through.  Referee Gallagher had no option but to show the defender a straight red card.

Undeterred, Sunderland pressed up the pitch and with two consecutive free kicks had Fulham’s defence in trouble.  However, the Whites rode the storm and broke immediately with pace and in numbers.  Luis Boa Morte fed the ball to Helguson, who had drifted to the left wing.  The striker advanced a few paces before curling a cross with the outside of his foot onto the head of John who headed home.

Even though Fulham had taken the lead, the match was far from over as, even with ten men, Sunderland were attacking with real intent.  Mick McCarthy made a triple substitution on 63 minutes and that seemed give his side fresh impetus.  Hoping to take advantage of Fulham’s recent poor defensive record, the visitors continued to pump awkward deliveries into the Fulham area.  It was certainly a tactic worth pursuing considering the man disadvantage.

Fulham were also soon reduced to ten men when Steed Malbranque was on the receiving end of a high, studs up tackle from Tommy Miller. The Sunderland player caught the Fulham man just above the knee and with Fulham having made all three substitutions, there was no alternative but to play on with ten on the field.

However, the final push from Sunderland failed to materialise as Fulham quite comfortable held out for the closing few minutes.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Monday 2 January 2006
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 19,372

Referee: Dermot Gallagher

Fulham

Line-up: Warner; Leacock, Pearce, Knight, Rosenior (Jensen 75'); Radzinski, Diop (Helguson 40'), Legwinski, Boa Morte; McBride, John (Malbranque 69')

Unused substitutes: Drobny, Rehman

Sunderland

Line-up: Kelvin Davis; Hoyte (Murphy 64'), Breen, Caldwell, Arca; Lawrence, Miller, Collins, Whitehead; Stead (Gray 65'), Le Tallec (Nosworthy 64')

Unused substitutes: Alnwick, Woods

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Chelsea 21 58
2 Manchester United 20 44
3 Liverpool 19 41
4 Tottenham Hotspur 20 37
5 Wigan Athletic 21 34
6 Arsenal 19 33
7 Bolton Wanderers 19 32
8 Manchester City 20 28
9 Blackburn Rovers 19 27
10 West Ham United 21 26
11 Newcastle United 20 26
12 Aston Villa 21 25
13 Charlton Athletic 19 25
14 Fulham 21 23
15 Everton 21 23
16 Middlesbrough 20 22
17 West Bromwich Albion 21 19
18 Portsmouth 20 17
19 Birmingham City 20 16
20 Sunderland 20 6
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 12Tony Warner
  • 22Dean Leacock
  • 35Ian Pearce
  • 6Zat Knight
  • 17Liam Rosenior
  • 13Tomasz Radzinski
  • 14Papa Bouba Diop
  • 5Sylvain Legwinski
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 20Brian McBride
  • 15Collins John
Substitutes
  • 32Jaroslav Drobny
  • 33Niclas Jensen
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 21Zesh Rehman
  • 10Heidar Helguson
Sunderland (4-4-2)
  • 1Kelvin Davis
  • 32Justin Hoyte
  • 5Gary Breen
  • 6Steven Caldwell
  • 33Julio Arca
  • 7Liam Lawrence
  • 14Tommy Miller
  • 15Danny Collins
  • 6Dean Whitehead
  • 9Jon Stead
  • 17Anthony Le Tallec
Substitutes
  • 1Ben Alnwick
  • 33Nyron Nosworthy
  • 19Martin Woods
  • 14Daryl Murphy
  • 27Andy Gray