Fulham 2-1 Charlton Match Report

last updated Sunday 16th April 2006, 12:19 AM
Andrew Scurr at SkySport
Luis Boa Morte
Luis Boa Morte scores a brace

A Luis Boa Morte brace helped Fulham defeat London rivals Charlton 2-1 at Craven Cottage.

An exciting first half saw Boa Morte give Fulham an early lead before Addicks striker Jason Euell scored his first goal for 18 months to level things up after 26 minutes.

Boa Morte scored a goal worthy of being the winner of any match just four minutes after Charlton had equalised as he ran round a static Charlton defence to finish past Myhre.

Pouring rain meant for a poor second half but Fulham will not care as they all-but ensured they will not be dragged back into the relegation dogfight again this season.

Zat Knight missed a glorious opportunity to put the hosts ahead within the first ten minutes when he headed wide from six yards. The tall centre back ran onto Simon Elliott's corner but was put off sufficiently by Marcus Bent to send the effort off target.

However, it did not matter as Boa Morte put Fulham ahead with a cheeky free kick from the right touchline.

With the Charlton defence expecting the cross, the Portuguese international took the opportunity to place the ball round a poorly-placed wall and in at the near post leaving Thomas Myhre seething.

The goal seemed to wake The Addicks up and after Radostin Kishishev had been kept out by an excellent block, Euell had them level with a controversial goal.

Darren Ambrose's in-swinging free kick was bearing down on Antti Niemi, but with the Finn being pressurised by Euell on the line, he failed to get very much contact on the punch.

Hermann Hreidarsson kept the ball alive in the area and Euell was able to pounce from close range to head into the top of the net. Niemi continued his protests with referee Martin Atkinson but the goal was allowed to stand.

England striker Darren Bent forced a low save out of Niemi soon after, before Ambrose saw a 30-yard effort fly just over the crossbar.

Four minutes after succumbing to an equaliser, Boa Morte showed his class with a superb individual effort to restore Fulham's advantage.

The former Arsenal man picked up the ball just inside Charlton's half and ran with pace at the centre back pairing of Chris Perry and Gonzalo Sorondo, leaving them for dead before placing the ball past Myhre's out-stretched right hand and into the bottom corner.

Papa Bouba Diop forced Myhre into a good, low save from a free kick that was creeping in at the near post prior to Charlton pushing for the equaliser before the break.

Charlton were clearly causing Fulham problems with corners and Hreidarsson again guided the ball into the six-yard box where Bent stabbed at the ball and looped it onto the top of the crossbar.

Match Stats Fulham Charlton
Goals 2 1
Possession 46% 54%
Goal attempts 6 9
On Target 4 6
Corners 2 12
Off-sides 1 3
Fouls 12 17
Yellows 0 0
Reds 0 0
source: skysport

The England international also had a shot deflected into the safety of Niemi's grasp as Charlton ended the half on the front-foot.

After the excitement of the first 45 minutes, both teams failed to live up to the expectations in the second with the game becoming sloppy in large parts and neither side showing their attacking ability as they did before the break.

Hreidarsson had a long-range shot deflect wide off Knight while at the other end Boa Morte had a deflected free kick cleared off the line by Euell and Diop caused Myhre problems with a shot from distance that bobbled just in front of the Norwegian goalkeeper.

Niemi was forced to make two good saves from Marcus Bent and Hreidarsson in an exciting finale but Fulham scraped through and are now just one point short of the 40-point mark that normally ensures safety.

Charlton manager Alan Curbishley was infuriated by Luis Boa Morte's clever free-kick which put Fulham on the way to a 2-1 victory in today's London derby at Craven Cottage.

'Once again we ended up chasing the game - but their first goal infuriated me,' said Curbishley 'Their second goal was a great run and finish - but from our point of view you can't let players go past four defenders like that and bear down on goal.

'The two goals we lost today were avoidable, and in between that we probably had the better chances and should have made Fulham pay. 'But we are back to conceding early away from home and having to chase games again. That is exactly what happened on Wednesday against Middlesbrough and again today.'

The habit cost the Addicks dear.

'Fulham have a great record here. I thought we had enough about us to get a point - but sometimes it doesn't work out that way,' added Curbishley.

'In the Premiership that first goal is very important. But once we got ourselves back in it, I thought we were the better side and created the better chances.

'We are very disappointed with what we did defensively. Conceding early goals is something that we got out of our system, and we have got to do that again - even if there are only four games left.

Fulham's assistant manager Steve Kean is confident they have now done enough to secure Premiership football for another season.

'We hope that is enough for us,' he said. 'This win puts a bit more daylight between us and the other teams down there.

'We knew it was going to be difficult against Charlton. But we hope the win is going to be enough, and it sets us up for the last four games.'

Kean admitted, though, that Fulham wee indebted to goalkeeper Antti Niemi for a magnificent double save in the last minute to deny Marcus Bent and then Herman Hreidarsson.

'We were defending deeper and deeper, and Antti earned his money today with those saves,' he said.

'He made two fantastic saves, and all the lads gave him a pat on the back in the dressing room.'

Kean also confirmed Boa Morte's successful near-post free-kick was entirely deliberate.

'It was a cheeky free-kick for our first goal - but Luis says he went for it,' he reported.

'But his second goal was excellent. He's got such pace and power and he showed that before finishing his run off with a right-foot shot - which is not his strongest one.'

 

Fulham Niemi, Rosenior, Knight, Pearce, Bridge, Malbranque,Diop, Elliott (Christanval 63), Boa Morte, Helguson, McBride.
Subs Not Used: Crossley, Volz, Radzinski, John.

Goals:

15 mins - Goal scored by Luis Boa Morte from a free kick left-footed into the bottom-right of goal from 25 yards out on the right wing.

30 mins - Goal by Luis Boa Morte who ran half the length of the pitch and placed it right-footed into the bottom-left of goal from centre of penalty area. Excellent stuff.

Charlton Myhre, Spector, Sorondo, Perry, Hreidarsson,Kishishev (Thomas 60), Holland (Bothroyd 80), Euell, Ambrose,Marcus Bent, Darren Bent.
Subs Not Used: Andersen, Powell, Sankofa.

Goals: Euell 26.

Att: 19,146

Ref: M Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

Source Andrew Scurr at SkySport
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