Saturday 18 April 2009, 3:00pm at The Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
Barclays Premier League
Middlesbrough
0
Fulham FC
Fulham
0
Fulham and Middlesbrough played out a tight draw at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday afternoon, which all but confirmed Middlesbrough's relegation from the Premier League.

4' Yellow Card

Anthony McMahon Card was given for a foul

37' Yellow Card

Tuncay Card was given for a foul

82' Yellow Card

Marlon King Card was given for a foul

83' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Adam Johnson
Off:Afonso Alves

40' Yellow Card

Paul Konchesky Card was given for a foul

70' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Zoltán Gera
Off:Simon Davies

87' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Diomansy Kamara
Off:Andrew Johnson

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90

The Whites’ best chance came in the first-half when Andrew Johnson struck the foot of the post with a curled effort, while Boro, for all their possession, struggled to create too many meaningful opportunities - although Mark Schwarzer was the busier of the two keepers.

Fulham rallied late on following the introduction of Diomansy Kamara and could well have snatched all three points with a handful of opportunities.

Roy Hodgson maintained faith with the same starting line-up that recorded a victory against Manchester City a week prior to Saturday’s game at the Riverside.

The game started at something of a subdued pace but Boro, desperate for a win to lift them out of the bottom three, soon started to press forward and forced Schwarzer into some early action. The opening shot of the encounter fell to Stewart Downing who found himself in space on the edge of the area; fortunately his effort was well blocked by Aaron Hughes.

Hughes stepped in with another vital block on the 15 minute mark when Tuncay Sanli crafted a fine opening for Afonso Alves. The home side were looking at their most dangerous down the flanks and some further good play out wide allowed Jeremie Aliadiere to sting Schwarzer’s palms with a firm strike.

Brad Jones at the other end was relatively untroubled as the bulk of Fulham’s efforts were being expended in their defensive duties. Despite Fulham’s lack of attacking penetration early in the first-half, the Whites’ organisation at the back was drawing howls of frustration from the home fans.

The Whites worked a golden chance to open the scoring just before the half hour mark when a low cross from Simon Davies somehow passed through the legs of both Johnson and Bobby Zamora. That attack shifted the momentum Fulham’s way as the Whites embarked on a spell of attacking pressure.

Brede Hangeland did well to deny a powerful run and shot from the dangerous Alves as Boro struck back. However, Fulham kept pushing forward and Johnson came within a whisker of handing the Whites the lead when his curled shot on 33 minutes beat Jones, struck the foot of the far post and rolled along the goal line to safety.

With the home side having to contend with a more potent attacking threat from the Whites, the game became more of a spectacle.

The home side started the second-half with intent and only a world-class save from Mark Schwarzer on 47 minutes denied Tuncay Sanli the opener. The Turkish international got his head to a wicked delivery from Aliadiere but Schwarzer, at full stretch to his right, saved on the line.

Schwarzer showed good reactions moments later to parry a ferocious Downing shot over the bar. He next denied Tony McMahon after the Boro full-back found space with a good overlapping run.

As in the first-half, once Fulham showed their attacking teeth the home side approached the game with a greater deal of caution. However, as Middlesbrough’s wingers faded out of the game, the impressive Tuncay Sanli stepped up as the home side’s driving force in midfield.

Fortunately for Fulham, while Boro were able to claim the upper hand in the possession stakes, many of their final passes were too straight allowing Fulham’s back line to see off any danger with relative ease.

Roy Hodgson made the first change of the match on 70 minutes, replacing Davies with Zoltan Gera.

As Boro grew ever more desperate in their attacks, the quality of their final pass reduced substantially. The home side had a penalty shout waved away by the referee on 80 minutes when a fierce attempt from Downing cannoned into Dickson Etuhu in the area.

With minutes remaining on the clock, Johnson was replaced by Kamara. The Senegal striker certainly made an impact with his direct running.

A good pass from Kamara found Dempsey in the area as Fulham rallied late on, but Jones was out quick to deny the American – the ball found Kamara once again but he was too late in pulling the trigger.


Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 18 April 2009
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: The Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
Attendance: 30,389

Referee: Peter Walton

Middlesbrough

Line-up: Jones; McMahon, Huth, Wheater, Taylor; Bates; Aliadière, Downing; Tuncay; King, Afonso Alves (Adam Johnson 83')

Unused substitutes: Turnbull, Hoyte, Riggott, Digard, Shawky, Emnes

Fulham

Line-up: Schwarzer; Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky; Davies (Gera 70'), Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey; Zamora, Johnson (Kamara 87')

Unused substitutes: Zuberbühler, Stoor, Baird, Dacourt, Nevland

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Manchester United 31 71
2 Liverpool 32 70
3 Chelsea 32 67
4 Arsenal 32 61
5 Aston Villa 33 54
6 Everton 32 52
7 West Ham United 33 45
8 Fulham 33 44
9 Tottenham Hotspur 32 41
10 Wigan Athletic 32 41
11 Stoke City 33 39
12 Manchester City 32 38
13 Bolton Wanderers 33 37
14 Portsmouth 32 37
15 Sunderland 33 35
16 Hull City 33 34
17 Blackburn Rovers 33 34
18 Middlesbrough 33 31
19 Newcastle United 32 30
20 West Bromwich Albion 32 25
Middlesbrough (4-4-2 (Diamond))
  • 1Bradley Jones
  • 29Anthony McMahon
  • 14Robert Huth
  • 5David Wheater
  • 26Andrew Taylor
  • 4Matthew Bates
  • 10Jérémie Aliadière
  • 19Stewart Downing
  • 17Tuncay
  • 16Marlon King
  • 12Afonso Alves
Substitutes
  • 21Ross Turnbull
  • 2Justin Hoyte
  • 5Chris Riggott
  • Didier Digard
  • 15Mohamed Shawky
  • 18Adam Johnson
  • 10Marvin Emnes
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Mark Schwarzer
  • 4John Pantsil
  • 5Brede Hangeland
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 3Paul Konchesky
  • 25Simon Davies
  • 13Danny Murphy
  • 20Dickson Etuhu
  • 23Clint Dempsey
  • 9Bobby Zamora
  • 8Andrew Johnson
Substitutes
  • 19Pascal Zuberbühler
  • 22Fredrik Stoor
  • 34Chris Baird
  • 11Zoltán Gera
  • 16Olivier Dacourt
  • 10Erik Nevland
  • 15Diomansy Kamara