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Fulham 2-1 Bolton - Another win for Roy

last updated Saturday 13th September 2008, 10:00 PM
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson
Fulham 2 Bolton 1

Andrew Johnson finally made his Fulham debut but it was two other summer arrivals who starred as Roy Hodgson's side survived a late scare at Craven Cottage.

Zoltan Gera opened his account with an emphatic 15th minute finish and Bolton cracked for a second time when Bobby Zamora pounced shortly before half time.

The visitors' defence was tormented by the irrepressible Zamora all afternoon and his goal was a moment of individual brilliance, evading two defenders before expertly finding the net.

Kevin Davies took advantage of a moment of hesitancy in Fulham's defence to pull one back with nine minutes to go as Bolton struck out of the blue.

It would have been a huge injustice had Gary Megson's team snatched a late point but Fulham should have made more of their chances.

Bolton had rings run round them throughout with their lack of pace and mobility - exemplified by centre backs Danny Shittu and Andrew O'Brien - brutally exposed.

For Fulham fans it was a glorious afternoon as Hodgson's passing philosophy - tailor made for the guile-free Trotters - reigned at sun-kissed Craven Cottage.

Mark Schwarzer had one save to make, keeping out a fine effort by Gavin McCann, until Bolton's late flurry sparked by Davies' fortuitous score.

Match Stats Fulham Bolton
Goals 2 1
Possession 62% 38%
Goal attempts 22 13
On Target 6 7
Corners 12 6
Off-sides 2 6
Saves 5 4
Fouls 17 12
Yellows 1 1
Reds 0 0
source: Soccernet

The only thing missing for Fulham was a goal by debutant Johnson, the £10.5million summer signing from Everton who missed the start of the season with a thigh strain.

Zoltan Gera
Zoltan Gera
Johnson had one penalty shout turned down and his pace was a menace, but the England striker lacked match fitness and was replaced with 15 minutes to go.

The tone was set from the opening minute when Bolton were carved open with ease only for Gera to sky his shot when it was harder to miss than score.

Johnson nodded a cross by Gera high over the bar and moments later Zamora smashed the ball into the net but referee Steve Tanner had spotted his elbow on keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Bolton were coming under growing pressure as they struggled to contain Fulham's movement and in the 15th minute the home side surged ahead.

Zamora crossed from the left but the ball was only cleared to the edge of the area where the incoming Gera sent the ball screaming past an unsighted Jaaskelainen.

Bolton midfielder Gavin McCann saw an intelligent looping shot tipped off target by Mark Schwarzer but Fulham still had Craven Cottage at their mercy.

Bullard teed-up Gera with a crafty backheel but the ensuing shot was blocked and then Paul Konchesky went marauding into space.

Zamora showed strength to fend off Andrew O'Brien only to snatch at the ball from close range and an increasingly desperate Bolton were let off the hook once again.

The former West Ham striker was clearly fired-up and after being felled in the area by a dubious tackle from Shittu, he saw a difficult low header well saved by Jaaskelainen.

But he could not be denied in the 41st minute as Fulham finally grabbed the second their dominance deserved.

Expertly spinning out of a double challenge from Shittu and McCann on the edge of the area, Zamora took a couple of paces and buried the ball in the bottom right corner of the net.

Bobby Zamora
Bobby Zamora
Bolton reverted to plan B early in the second half by seeking to bully Fulham into submission.

Davies took an elbow from behind and then Kevin Nolan was booked for a one-footed tackle on Jimmy Bullard, who was called-up by England last week. Bullard almost enjoyed instant revenge when he set-up a chance for Johnson but there was too much weight on his pass and shortly after Davies went close.

There was no respite for hapless Bolton as they watched a Gera effort strike the bottom of the crossbar and bounce clear.

Fulham were subjected to a nervy ending when Davies bundled a long-range free kick into the net but Bolton's late surge went unrewarded.

Fulham Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky,Davies, Murphy, Bullard, Gera, Zamora (Nevland 84),Johnson (Ki-Hyeon 75).
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Teymourian, Stoor, Dempsey, Kallio.

Booked: Ki-Hyeon (89,f).

Gera 15 (left-footed into bottom-left of goal from the centre of penalty area, 12 yards out.), Zamora 41 (drilled right-footed into bottom-right of the goal from the left side of the penalty area after laving two Bolton defenders for dead with fancy footwork. Assist (pass) by Brede Hangeland from left wing.).

Bolton Jaaskelainen, Steinsson (Helguson 64), Shittu,Andrew O'Brien, Samuel, Gardner, Muamba, Nolan,McCann (Riga 51), Joey O'Brien, Davies.
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Hunt, Vaz Te, Cohen, Fojut.

Booked: Nolan.

Goals: Davies 82.

Att: 23,656

Ref: Steve Tanner (Somerset).

Source Duncan Bech at PA Sport
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