It was a case of home comforts as we entered the final third of the 2005/06 season, with Fulham battling to stay well clear of the relegation zone. All but three of our 32 points, by the time West Bromwich Albion arrived, had come at Craven Cottage and our away form under Manager Chris Coleman had failed to yield a single win on the road.
The previous result, a 4-2 defeat at Old Trafford, may not have looked like it would give the Whites confidence, but there was something to be positive about as some renewed attacking flair ensured that we went into the weekend with ambitions to score.
And score we did. It took just four minutes for Heidar Helguson to find the net from our very first attack. It was a simple case of converting Brian McBride’s flick-on from eight yards and we were off. Nigel Quashie almost got an equaliser when he dispossessed Fulham's Simon Elliott and lashed a shot just over the bar, but Elliott’s free-kick just before half-time found Helguson’s head and our lead was doubled.
Baggies boss Bryan Robson made a couple of attacking changes to get his side back into it, but once again it was the four minute mark which saw us score: this time Tomasz Radzinski making it 3-0 when he met Steed Malbranque's lobbed throughball to burst into the box and fire home.
Ten minutes later, the game was well and truly put to bed when Helguson’s powerful effort took a huge deflection off Curtis Davies and wrong-footed goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak. 4-0 and still half an hour to play, the goals dried up as we eased off until the final ten. Collins John, on as a substitute for the impressive Helguson, was hungry for goals and converted a fine left-wing cross from Radzinski on 83 minutes.
Then Kevin Campbell finished from former Fulham midfielder Junichi Inamoto’s ball to get a consolation for the Baggies, but John was on hand to make it six as Radzinski provided the pass once more.
Strike pair McBride and Helguson took the plaudits for the leading the demolition, with Coleman saying afterwards: "They are like throwbacks to the old days. I liken them to strikers I used to play against in my day. They are big strong boys, they attack the ball and don't give defenders a minute's peace. If we put the ball in the box, they will get goals. They caused havoc at Manchester United last week and did the same today."
Robson simply insisted: "My back four were just shocking. There's no excuse. If you defend like that in the Premiership or any division, you will get beat." The Baggies would go down at the end of the season, while the Whites finished happily in 12th place to fight another campaign.
From the archives
The Guardian – Monday 13th February 2006
‘Fulham's forward throwbacks bring six appeal to cottage industry’ by David Lacey