Arsenal 1 Fulham 5

Wednesday 14 August 2002

Arsenal Res 1 Fulham Res 5

Steve Kean's men kicked off their reserve season with an awesome display against Premiership Champions Arsenal at Underhill on Wednesday evening thrashing the Gunners 5-1.

Fulham were in unstoppable form from start to finish with new signing Facundo Sava netting his second reserve team hatrick for the Whites.

Steve Finnan made his return to action and had a successful 45 minutes without any reaction to his injury that will keep him out of Saturday's Premiership curtain raiser against Bolton at Loftus Road.

Lee Clark also played for an hour easing Jean Tigana's injury worries ahead of the Premier League kick off.

Bjarne Goldbaek and an own goal completed the scoring for Fulham who were unstoppable according to Whites goalkeeping coach Gerry Peyton. Talking after the match he said:

"Arsenal never really gave us any problems and despite Maik Taylor having to make one good save in the first half, we were always in total control.

"I thought we gave Arsenal all sorts of problems, especially up front with Sava looking sharp scoring one with his head and two with his feet.

He added:

"Bjarne came in at the far post in the second half to make it 4-0 and an own goal ended the game for Arsenal. They got a penalty that Maik had no chance with. But overall it was a great performance and you couldn't really single out anyone in particular, it was just a good all round team display.

"It was great for Stevie Fin to come back tonight. He came through with no problems. Zat and young Deano (Leacock) looked very comfortable, knocking the ball about beautifully at the back.

"We gave Zat a rest in the second half as he could be involved in some way at the weekend and Dean has a great future ahead of him."

"I can't remember seeing any Arsenal side outplayed as they were tonight. Obviously we're all delighted with the result but the performance was outstanding."

Gunners reserve team Manager Eddie Niedzwiecki made no excuses for his side after the match. Talking to the official Arsenal website he said:

"First of all, credit to Fulham. They were terrific on the night. I felt their first goal was from a very debatable and their other strikes could have been avoided.

"But they played very well, their movement was good and at times we could not cope. They had an experienced side but so did we. Let's not make excuses, excuses are for losers.

"Their experienced players showed how the game should be played. They had the right commitment and right attitude. I now have to look at the reaction of the players and I'll look at myself too.

"We have had a lesson tonight. As a coach you want to put those wrongs right on the training field. On the positive side, they gave us a good hiding and we never gave up. But there is work to do."

Fulham team: Taylor, Finnan, Harley, Leacock, Knight, Shevel, Clark, Stolcers, Sava, Goldbaek, Lewis.