Sean Ivor Davis

Monday 12 November 2001

Ian McCulloch writes for Fulham Today

With a real poacher's goal against Holland at Utrecht on Friday night, midfielder Sean Davis inspired the fight back that enabled the England U21 side to grab a 2-2 draw to take back to Pride Park for the second leg of their European Championship qualifying tie on Tuesday.

In a move familiar to the Fulham faithful, Davis pushed up in the last seconds of the first half, and scored with a well-taken header that was perhaps more reminiscent of Gordon Davies at his best than the long-range strikes that had became such a fine feature of Sean's game in the First Division.

On many occasions last season he was to be found unexpectedly turning up in the penalty area just as either half was coming to a close, often with devastating results. There was no more dramatic example than the game at Blackburn Rovers that virtually earned Fulham promotion and the Championship. It was Davies, just as the first half was coming to a close, who put the Rovers keeper under so much pressure that he flapped the ball into Louis Saha's path for the first goal, and it was, of course, Davis who gloriously won the game in the dying seconds of the game for ten-man Fulham to send the White's fans into raptures.

It was a very effective technique and one that U21 manager David Platt evidently thought good enough to use for his own team. Typically though, Sean was full of praise for those around him as he looked back on the game and his first goal for his country.

"David Dunn scored a great goal, a goal good enough to win any game really," he said. "But I've got to say, it was great character from the boys and we were unlucky not to get a win in the end."

Holland had shot into an early two-goal lead, and until Sean's dramatic goal gave them back some self-belief, England had looked on the ropes. A wonder goal from Blackburn's David Dunn in the second half now puts them in a very strong position to progress further. Davis is confident that home advantage can see them through.

"We'll have our own crowd there this time, and every time we get the ball they'll be cheering us on," he said. "Hopefully we can score some goals and get through to the Finals.

His goal came from a right wing free-kick, and despite being surrounded by a large knot of players, he was able to find the time and space to direct a remarkably clean header just inside the near post. A quality strike.

With Fulham's forwards struggling to find the back of the net on a regular basis this season, it has been left to the midfield to score the goals. If Sean carries on demonstrating the sort of predatory instinct that he did on Friday perhaps a role up-front lies ahead. "Sniffer" Davis? You never know.