Saturday 13 September 2008, 3:00pm at Craven Cottage, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Fulham
2
Gera 15'; Zamora 41'
Bolton Wanderers
Bolton Wanderers
1
Davies 82'
Goals from Bobby Zamora and Zoltan Gera ensured three points for the Whites on Saturday afternoon.

15' Goal

Zoltán Gera

41' Goal

Bobby Zamora

89' Yellow Card

Seol Ki-Hyeon Card was given for a foul

75' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Seol Ki-Hyeon
Off:Andrew Johnson

84' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Erik Nevland
Off:Bobby Zamora

82' Goal

Kevin Davies

51' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Mustapha Riga
Off:Gavin McCann

0
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90

Andrew Johnson was handed his Fulham debut as the Whites dominated this match over Bolton. Goals from Gera and Zamora gave Fulham a comfortable two-goal lead but the Whites were made to sweat for the final ten minutes after conceding at late goal.

The first goal scoring opportunity of the match presented itself to Fulham inside the first minute when Jimmy Bullard’s low corner skidded through to Zoltan Gera on the penalty spot. The Hungarian international had barely enough time to set his feet before firing over.

Bolton, lining up in a 4-5-1 formation, were clearly looking to stifle the Whites when in possession and quickly spring forward from the middle of the park in numbers. They had their first chance to carry out that tactic when John Pantsil lost the ball and Anthony Gardner made rapid ground down the Bolton left flank. The winger tried to cut back but Danny Murphy, who had virtually caught up with Gardner, helped break up the attack.

Fulham had the ball in the back of the net shortly after, although the lineman’s flag had long been raised by the time Bobby Zamora had challenged Jaaskelainen and fired home. Fulham were ahead for real only a few moments later through Zoltan Gera. The Bolton defence failed to clear a Zamora cross after a quick Fulham attack. The ball fell to Gera in the box and he made no mistake at the second time of asking, firing a low right-footed shot past Jaaskelainen.

Bolton attempted to inject some urgency into their play following the restart but were looking quite nervous in possession. In fact the Trotters appeared at their most dangerous through their set-piece routines. Kevin Davies and Danny Shittu were the most logical targets but Fulham dealt well with the threats, with John Pantsil in particular making plenty of clearances. In open play, Brede Hangeland was enjoying a good day against Davies.

Whilst most of Fulham’s attacking play in the first half was nicely considered and balanced, a more direct approach almost gave the Whites their second of the match. In the knowledge that Bolton’s defence was still off balance, Simon Davies hooked a first time ball over his shoulder into the danger area where Zamora was nearly able to get the ball out from under his feet.

Fulham continued to knock on the door and only a smart reaction save from Jaaskelainen in the 33rd minute denied a Zamora diving header.

Bolton were having a bad day defending their area and once again, a poor clearance fell in the box, this time Simon Davies was the lucky recipient, unfortunately he blasted over.

Fulham finally got the second goal on the 40 minute mark through a wonderful Bobby Zamora strike. The big front man had been working tirelessly for the cause and his goal was straight out of the top drawer. With Shittu and McCann shadowing Zamora closely on the edge of the area, the Fulham striker pirouetted on the ball, leaving his markers for dead before drilling a well-placed shot inside the far post.

The second half brought a more subdued atmosphere – with Bolton looking to get back into the match there was more space to take advantage of and Fulham did just that.

Although there were nervy moments for the Whites at the beginning of the half when Jimmy Bullard recieved a hefty challenge from Kevin Nolan. The tackle earned the Bolton man a yellow card but there was a concerned hush around the Cottage until Bullard rose to his feet.

Andrew Johnson almost netted a goal on his debut when a fired-up Bullard flashed a fierce cross across the face of goal, only a matter of inches in front of Johnson. The Whites continued to press and Simon Davies almost made it three when his attempted chip was palmed over by Jaaskelainen.

As the ole’s rang around Craven Cottage, another flowing Fulham move culminated in Danny Murphy seeing two strong shots charged down.

Bolton introduced former Whites striker Heidar Helguson just after the hour mark in place of right back, Gretar Steinsson. The forward received a warm round of applause from the Fulham faithful. The substitution certainly gave the Whites' defence more to think about from set-pieces and resulted in Kevin Davies winning a greater share of balls in the air.

Zoltan Gera almost scored Fulham’s third when he rose well at the back post and powerfully directed Simon Davies’ cross onto the bar.

Andrew Johnson’s participation ended in the 74th minute when he was replaced by Seol Ki-Hyeon.

The match was far from over as Bolton gave themselves a lifeline in the 82nd minute. Jussi Jaaskelainen’s long punt upfield was won in the air by Kevin Davies and Helguson was enough of a diversion to allow the ball to roll past Mark Schwarzer.

Judging by the corner count, possession figures and chances on goal, Fulham ought to have been clear by a greater margin than just two goals. But as the final whistle drew closer, Bolton’s confidence and desire increased.

Mark Schwarzer had to be alert in rushing out to the feet of Riga after Bolton had bludgeoned their way through Fulham’s rearguard. As the pressure began to build the Whites looked like they might struggle to reach the final whistle ahead.

Another Bolton set piece was cleared out as and the visitors looked to build yet another attack, but Erik Nevland’s full-blooded challenge set Simon Davies free. The Wales international sprinted half the length of the pitch with the ball only to drill the his shot straight at Jaaskelainen. Fulham kept the ball in the Bolton half until the final whilst.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 13 September 2008
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 23,656

Referee: Steve Tanner

Fulham

Line-up: Schwarzer; Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky; Davies, Murphy, Bullard, Gera; Zamora (Nevland 84'), Johnson (Seol Ki-Hyeon 75')

Unused substitutes: Zuberbühler, Stoor, Kallio, Teymourian, Dempsey

Bolton Wanderers

Line-up: Jääskeläinen; Samuel, O'Brien, Shittu, Steinsson; Gardner, O'Brien, Muamba, McCann (Mustapha Riga 51'); Elmander; Davies

Unused substitutes: Al-Habsi, Hunt, Mark Davies, Tamir Cohen, Vaz Te, Makukula

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Liverpool 4 10
2 Arsenal 4 9
3 Chelsea 3 7
4 Hull City 4 7
5 Manchester City 3 6
6 Fulham 3 6
7 West Ham United 4 6
8 Middlesbrough 4 6
9 Portsmouth 4 6
10 Wigan Athletic 4 4
11 Aston Villa 3 4
12 Bolton Wanderers 4 4
13 Manchester United 3 4
14 West Bromwich Albion 4 4
15 Newcastle United 4 4
16 Sunderland 4 4
17 Blackburn Rovers 4 4
18 Stoke City 3 3
19 Everton 3 3
20 Tottenham Hotspur 3 1
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Mark Schwarzer
  • 4John Pantsil
  • 5Brede Hangeland
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 3Paul Konchesky
  • 25Simon Davies
  • 13Danny Murphy
  • 21Jimmy Bullard
  • 11Zoltán Gera
  • 9Bobby Zamora
  • 8Andrew Johnson
Substitutes
  • 19Pascal Zuberbühler
  • 22Fredrik Stoor
  • 33Toni Kallio
  • 6Andranik Teymourian
  • 7Seol Ki-Hyeon
  • 10Erik Nevland
  • 23Clint Dempsey
Bolton Wanderers (4-4-1-1)
  • 22Jussi Jääskeläinen
  • 3Jlloyd Samuel
  • 31Andy O'Brien
  • 24Danny Shittu
  • 2Grétar Steinsson
  • 11Ricardo Gardner
  • 28Joey O'Brien
  • 6Fabrice Muamba
  • Gavin McCann
  • 9Johan Elmander
  • 14Kevin Davies
Substitutes
  • 26Ali Al-Habsi
  • 2Nicky Hunt
  • 16Mark Davies
  • 21Tamir Cohen
  • 15Mustapha Riga
  • 20Ricardo Vaz Te
  • 21Ariz Makukula