Wednesday 3 February 2010, 8:00pm at Craven Cottage, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Fulham
1
Greening 74'
Portsmouth
0
Both Nicky Shorey and Stefano Okaka made their Fulham debuts as the Whites narrowly defeated Portsmouth in a 1-0 win.

74' Goal

Jonathan Greening

54' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Kagisho Dikgacoi
Off:Stephen Kelly

69' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Erik Nevland
Off:Stefano Okaka

76' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:David Elm
Off:Bobby Zamora

87' Yellow Card

Tal Ben Haim Card was given for a foul

61' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Danny Webber
Off:Frédéric Piquionne

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

Fulham made a tentative start to this vital game at the Cottage. The first ten minutes certainly saw Portsmouth have the better of the opening exchanges – with Frederic Piquionne in particular drawing a fine save from Mark Schwarzer early on.

Portsmouth were enjoying the upper hand in the midfield battle as both Danny Murphy and Jonathan Greening were quickly finding themselves short on time in possession.

But the Whites soon settled into their defensive shape making life harder for Avram Grant’s men when in possession. The attacking tactics used by Portsmouth were certainly reaping fewer dividends.

Aaron Hughes came close to opening his Fulham account on 24 minutes when he got his head to a well placed corner from Damien Duff, forcing David James into a fine fingertip save on the line.

A Portsmouth counter-attack on 23 minutes saw Kevin Prince Boateng wriggle his way through the packed heart of the Whites’ defence, only to see his shot well held by Schwarzer.

Stefano Okaka came close to causing confusion in the Portsmouth penalty area when he almost got on the end of a dangerous Damien Duff delivery into the area. With David James in two minds as to whether come for the ball or stay on the line, his choice of staying put ended up being the correct decision as Okaka just failed to make contact.

Fulham’s loan striker came within a whisker of putting the Whites in front on 32 minutes after good work from Jonathan Greening. The Fulham midfielder rose high in the area to nod a cross into the path of Okaka, who was loitering at the far post. Unfortunately, the Italian striker could not make sufficient contact to direct the ball past James.

A fine passing move from Fulham involving Kelly, Murphy, Okaka and Greening enabled Zamora to receive the ball in a dangerous area. The striker managed to dummy past two defenders before his shot was blocked from six yards.

There was danger in the Fulham area just minutes later when a clearance dropped to Frederic Piquionne whose shot was well blocked by a diving Stephen Kelly.

Roy Hodgson’s men certainly made a better start to the second-half than the first – immediately putting Pompey on the back foot and pressing the opposition high up the pitch. The change in tempo meant Portsmouth were less able to commit men forward with regular frequency, and as a result both Piquionne and Dindane were forced to work harder so see the ball.

Fulham’s first substitution of the game came relatively early when, on 55 minutes, Stephen Kelly was replaced by Kagisho Dikgacoi. The move saw Dikgacoi join Danny Murphy in the centre of midfield with Chris Baird shifting to right-back.

Following a lull in play, Danny Murphy and Damien Duff got the Whites moving again. Murphy skipped away from a challenge in midfield and played a pass to Duff who cut on to his left foot on the edge of the area and forced a corner after working a good shooting opportunity.

As the second-half progressed the play started becoming somewhat fragmented in nature with play punctuated by a number of stoppages and throw-ins. Of the two sides, Fulham were attacking with greater purpose but Portsmouth were still able to trouble the Whites, albeit through a more direct style of football. 

Stefano Okaka’s debut ended on 69 minutes when he was replaced by Erik Nevland in a like-for-like swap.

Fulham took the lead through Jonathan Greening on 74 minutes after Damien Duff did well to get to the by-line and fire a low cross across the face of the six yard box. The ball ran past Zamora but Greening was on hand at the back post to emphatically place his shot past James. 

Fulham’s final substitution of the evening saw David Elm replace Bobby Zamora on 77 minutes. Elm and Nevland immediately struck up an understanding.

Towards the end of the game Portsmouth failed to build or sustain any serious pressure, and Fulham comfortably saw out the remaining time to earn another three precious points. 

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Wednesday 3 February 2010
Kick-off: 8:00pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 21,934

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Fulham

Line-up: Schwarzer; Kelly (Dikgacoi 54'), Hughes, Hangeland, Shorey; Duff, Baird, Murphy, Greening; Zamora (Elm 76'), Okaka (Nevland 69')

Unused substitutes: Zuberbühler, Stoor, Smalling, Bjorn Helge Riise

Portsmouth

Line-up: James; Finnan, Ben Haim, Wilson, Belhadj; Yebda, Basinas, Boateng, O'Hara; Dindane, Piquionne (Webber 61')

Unused substitutes: Ashdown, Rocha, Vanden Borre, Diop, Mullins, Hughes

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Chelsea 24 55
2 Manchester United 24 53
3 Arsenal 24 49
4 Tottenham Hotspur 24 42
5 Liverpool 24 41
6 Manchester City 22 41
7 Aston Villa 23 40
8 Birmingham City 23 34
9 Everton 23 32
10 Fulham 24 30
11 Blackburn Rovers 24 28
12 Stoke City 22 26
13 Sunderland 23 24
14 Wigan Athletic 22 22
15 West Ham United 23 21
16 Bolton Wanderers 22 21
17 Wolverhampton Wanderers 23 21
18 Hull City 24 21
19 Burnley 23 20
20 Portsmouth 23 15
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Mark Schwarzer
  • 2Stephen Kelly
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 5Brede Hangeland
  • 7Nicky Shorey
  • 16Damien Duff
  • 6Chris Baird
  • 13Danny Murphy
  • 27Jonathan Greening
  • 25Bobby Zamora
  • 9Stefano Okaka
Substitutes
  • 19Pascal Zuberbühler
  • 22Fredrik Stoor
  • 26Chris Smalling
  • 17Bjorn Helge Riise
  • 34Kagisho Dikgacoi
  • 10Erik Nevland
  • 35David Elm
Portsmouth (4-4-2)
  • 1David James
  • 16Steve Finnan
  • 26Tal Ben Haim
  • 6Marc Wilson
  • 39Nadir Belhadj
  • 32Hassan Yebda
  • 33Angelos Basinas
  • 23Kevin-Prince Boateng
  • 5Jamie O'Hara
  • 24Aruna Dindane
  • 9Frédéric Piquionne
Substitutes
  • 1Jamie Ashdown
  • 3Ricardo Rocha
  • 18Anthony Vanden Borre
  • 8Papa Bouba Diop
  • 8Hayden Mullins
  • 22Richard Hughes
  • 9Danny Webber