Fulham 0 Watford 0

Saturday 10 July 2004

A healthy pre-season crowd of just under 7,000 caught their first glimpse of a refurbished Craven Cottage at Saturday's friendly against Watford.

Chris Coleman elected to field a mixture of youth and experience with Mark Crossley, Zat Knight, Sylvain Legwinski and Mark Pembridge providing a steadying influence to an otherwise youthful line-up.

The match started in typical pre-season fashion as the sense of occasion seemed to take precedence for both supporters and players.

With both teams not even a week into their pre-season preparations, the game was played at a fairly erratic tempo - both sides were looking to play an evenly paced passing game but a combination of rustiness and lack of match fitness often stifled any promising moves.

The visitors had the best goal scoring opportunity in the first half when Bouazza found himself in space but fired straight and low into the arms of Mark Crossley.

Following a spate of substitutions Fulham began to up the pace. Stuart Noble almost finished off a slick move after Welsh youth international Matthew Collins fed Michael Timlin on the left wing. Timlin's dangerous low cross had goalkeeper Alec Chamberlain scrambling to smother the ball at the feet of Noble.

With the match officially abandoned at half time, a period of exhibition football was subsequently played.

The Whites started by adopted a more attacking stance with Elvis Hammond in particular looking a threat up front. Having been out for most of last season, Hammond was clearly eager to impress and his pace often left the Watford back line second guessing.

Fulham goalkeeper Ross Flitney was forced into a superb one-handed save on 60 minutes after Scott Fitzgerald found himself in space just inside the area. The Watford player's shot seemed destined to fly inside the far post but Flitney reacted well and diverted the effort wide.

Hammond continued to be Fulham's main danger man, but it was highly rated Academy striker, Ishmael Ehui, who came closest to scoring in the final minutes. The speedy front man latched on to a Dean Leacock clearance and sprinted past his marker. Unfortunately, with only the goalkeeper to beat he lofted his shot into the Hammersmith End.


Fulham (First Half): Crossley, Rosenior, Green, Fontaine, Legwinski (Capt), Knight, Pembridge, Doherty, Pratley, Lawless, John

Subs Used:
42 mins Noble on for John
42 mins Hammond on for Lawless
42 mins Timlin on for Doherty
42 mins Collins on for Pembridge
42 mins McDermott on for Pratley
42 mins McKinley on for Legwinski

Fulham (Exhibition match): Flitney, Leacock, Goma, Rehman, Watkins, Timlin, Collins, McDermott, McKinley, Hammond, Noble

Subs Used:
70 Ehui on for Noble
70 Milson on for Goma
70 James on for Collins

Attendance: 6,947