Wednesday 15 August 2007, 7:45pm at Craven Cottage, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Fulham
2
Healy 23'; Smertin 26'
Bolton Wanderers
Bolton Wanderers
1
Helguson 12'
Goals from David Healy and Alexei Smertin against Bolton Wanderers got Fulham off the mark and gave them their first win of the 2007/2008 season.

23' Goal

David Healy

26' Goal

Alexei Smertin

74' Yellow Card

Paul Konchesky Card was given for a foul

90' Yellow Card

Carlos Bocanegra Card was given for a foul

79' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Diomansy Kamara
Off:David Healy

80' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Clint Dempsey
Off:Hameur Bouazza

12' Goal

Heidar Helguson

26' Yellow Card

El Hadji Diouf Card was given for a foul

72' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Daniel Braaten
Off:Heidar Helguson

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75
90

Lawrie Sanchez’ faith in David Healy was once again rewarded as the striker capped off a superb all round performance with a fine goal.

A mild shower before kick-off turned into a torrential downpour as the game got underway. The difficult conditions meant this was never going to be a game for the purists but Fulham once again produced an effective mix of football in front of a boisterous Craven Cottage crowd.

Sanchez retained the same starting line up from Sunday’s defeat at the Emirates. Sammy Lee’s Bolton side contained a real physical presence with Nolan, Speed and McCann all selected in midfield. Heidar Helguson was selected in attack alongside Nicolas Anelka.

The opening period of the game was played at a frenetic pace. Both sides battled hard and the conditions meant a direct style of play took precedence for both sides. The first real chance of the game fell to Bolton’s Kevin Nolan.

After a barrage of Bolton pressure on Fulham’s area the ball was played back into Nolan’s path on the 18 yard line. The midfielder was left unmarked with his back to goal and attempted an overhead kick. The shot lacked any real substance to test Warner who collected with ease.

Both sides looked comfortable under pressure during the opening exchanges but on 12 minutes an unforced error by Tony Warner allowed Heidar Helguson to score the simplist of goals and earn Bolton a one-nil lead.

A long throw in from the right flank was delivered into the heart of the box. Warner collected but as the he looked for the counter attacking options available to him the ball slipped from his grasp. Helguson was lying in wait and as the ball dropped he sent his tap-in home from six yards.

Despite the mistake Warner retained his composure to pull off a vital save from Anelka on 16 minutes. The French striker teased Baird down the left flank before cutting outside and delivering a left footed shot across Warner’s goal. The keeper dived low to his left to force to ball away for a corner.

After 20 minutes of play and with Bolton a goal to the good the Whites found their rhythm and attacking momentum. First Konchesky delivered a superb in-swinging cross to the far post which tested Bolton’s defence to the limit before Simon Davies left footed shot from outside the area had Jaaskelainen stretched.

Fulham positive approach was rewarded with two goals in the space of five minutes. On 23 minutes David Healy pulled the game level. A Fulham corner was delivered from the right by Davies. In the ensuing scramble Helguson sent his downward header into the path of Healy. Eight yards from goal the striker smashed his right footed shot into the far corner of the net. Craven Cottage erupted.

Minutes later Fulham deservedly took the lead through Alexei Smertin. Industrious work from Simon Davies down the right flank earned Fulham a free-kick after the midfielder was hacked down by Diouf (booked).

Davies stepped up and delivered a fine set piece into the area which was headed clear. Smertin seized the ball 25 yards from goal and smashed in a left footed drive. A deflection took the ball off course but into the net and the Whites were ahead.

On the half hour mark Bolton enjoyed a wave of direct attacks but Sanchez’ side held firm and soaked up the pressure. Fulham were once again showing commitment and effort in abundance. Smertin in particular was enjoying a fine game, disposing Diouf twice in threatening positions in the space of a minute.

Bolton looked for a way back as half time approached but Fulham continued to counter and caused Bolton defensive problems with diagonal balls to Bouazza and Davies on the flanks.

On 40 minutes an astute piece of defending by Bocanegra denied Diouf. A long ball was delivered into the area and Helguson headed to Diouf lurking on the far post. Diouf snapped in his right footed volley form the angle but Bocanegra steamed in to deflect the ball away for a corner.

Before the break Anelka beat Fulham’s offside goal to go through on goal but Warner marshalled the striker to the corner and Zat Knight calmly collected his attempt on goal before clearing to safety.

Fulham had a strong penalty appeal turned down before the break when David Healy looked to have created a chance in the area on Jaaskelainen but the decision went against the striker. On the balance of play Fulham deserved their lead going into the break.

Fulham got the second period underway and started positively. First Helguson fouled Bocanegra on the half way line and the defender’s free-kick found the outstretched boot of McBride 16 yards from goal. The flight of the shot was at a comfortable height allowing Jaaskelainen to save with ease. 

Despite the conditions underfoot Fulham mixed up their play to good effect and on 50 minutes countered with a fluid passing move. Some fine link up play through midfield freed Davies in a central position. The Welshman fired in his shot across goal but Jaaskelainen read the flight of the ball and saved.

After his first half error Tony Warner made amends with a stunning save on 53 minutes from Anelka. The Frenchman sent in curling shot from the inside left of Fulham’s area. Anelka’s shot was heading for the top corner before Warner dived to his left producing a fingertip save to send the ball round the post.

Fulham’s most promising work came down the right flank with some dangerous deliveries from Davies and Healy respectively. Healy produced a superb cross on 67 minutes. The striker skipped past his marker before reaching the by-line and sending in a peach of a cross to the far post. McBride’s position was too central but Healy was enjoying a fine game.

Diouf, at the heart of Bolton’s approach play, almost pulled things level with a right footed drive across Warner’s goal from 18 yards.

Fulham’s work rate didn’t let up in the second half and Smertin was once again leading by example in midfield. Bolton persevered down Fulham's right flank but Knight and Baird inparticular were faultless at the back.

Gavin McCann almost brought Bolton level on 75 minutes following Paul Konchesky’s foul on Diouf on Fulham’s left flank. Konchesky was booked before the resulting free-kick found McCann 8 yards from goal in a central position. The midfielder’s header sailed wide of Warner’s far post. McCann was replaced moments later by Mikel Alonso before Sammy Lee replaced Helguson with Daniel Braaten. The former Fulham striker was applauded by both sets of fans.

Lawrie Sanchez made a double substitution on 79 minutes. Goal scorer Healy was replaced by Kamara and Bouazza made way for Clint Dempsey. Kamara was immediately in the thick of the action, clearing up in defence with some neat footwork before clearing to safety.

Kamara almost made a dream start on his home debut. Davis was released down the left flank and sent in an early cross to the striker. Kamara, racing into a central position on the 18 yard line stretched to reach the cross but the ball evaded his lunge by a fraction. Despite a limited time on the pitch Kamara’s quality was evident and moments before the end was denied a penalty after falling under the challenge of two Bolton defenders in the area.

Nicky Hunt wasted a glorious chance for Bolton two minutes from time. A cross fired into the box deflected off Knight into Hunt’s range six yards out on the right hand side of the area. The defender sent his shot soaring over Warner’s bar.

Sammy Lee made one final role of the dice before fulltime, replacing defender Samuel with striker Lubomir Michalik. It was too little too late as Fulham continued to soak up Bolton’s pressure before the final whistle.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Wednesday 15 August 2007
Kick-off: 7:45pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 21,102

Referee: Lee Probert

Fulham

Line-up: Warner; Baird, Christanval, Bocanegra, Konchesky; Davies, Steven Davis, Smertin, Bouazza (Dempsey 80'); Healy (Kamara 79'), McBride

Unused substitutes: Batista, Volz, Brown

Bolton Wanderers

Line-up: Jääskeläinen; Hunt, Méité, O'Brien, Samuel; Nolan, McCann, Gardner, Vaz Te; Diouf, Helguson (Braaten 72')

Unused substitutes: Al-Habsi, Dzemaili, Sinclair, Harsányi

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Everton 2 6
2 Manchester City 2 6
3 Sunderland 2 4
4 Newcastle United 1 3
5 Chelsea 1 3
6 Arsenal 1 3
7 Blackburn Rovers 1 3
8 Liverpool 1 3
9 Fulham 2 3
10 Portsmouth 2 2
11 Manchester United 2 2
12 Reading 1 1
13 Birmingham City 2 1
14 Derby County 2 1
15 Aston Villa 1 0
16 Middlesbrough 1 0
17 Wigan Athletic 1 0
18 West Ham United 1 0
19 Bolton Wanderers 2 0
20 Tottenham Hotspur 2 0
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 12Tony Warner
  • 34Chris Baird
  • 5Philippe Christanval
  • 3Carlos Bocanegra
  • 4Paul Konchesky
  • 25Simon Davies
  • 10Steven Davis
  • 8Alexei Smertin
  • 24Hameur Bouazza
  • 31David Healy
  • 20Brian McBride
Substitutes
  • 13Ricardo Batista
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 30Wayne Brown
  • 11Diomansy Kamara
  • 23Clint Dempsey
Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2)
  • 22Jussi Jääskeläinen
  • 2Nicky Hunt
  • 5Abdoulaye Méité
  • 31Andy O'Brien
  • 3Jlloyd Samuel
  • 4Kevin Nolan
  • Gavin McCann
  • 11Ricardo Gardner
  • 20Ricardo Vaz Te
  • 21El Hadji Diouf
  • 18Heidar Helguson
Substitutes
  • 26Ali Al-Habsi
  • 23Blerim Dzemaili
  • 27James Sinclair
  • 27Daniel Braaten
  • 29Zoltán Harsányi