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Match Report - Middlesbrough 1 Fulham 1

last updated Wednesday 20th April 2005, 8:41 AM

A controversial last-gasp penalty earned Middlesbrough a 1-1 draw with Fulham at The Riverside.

A late Brian McBride effort seemed to have handed all three points to The Cottagers but, with seconds remaining, referee Rob Styles handed the hosts a lifeline by pointing to the spot after Edwin van der Sar and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink collided going for a high ball in an incident that quite clearly took place outside the box.

Fulham striker Brian McBride
Fulham striker Brian McBride

Boudewijn Zenden retained his composure by slotting home the spot-kick, but Fulham boss Chris Coleman lost his and had to be restrained after attempting to confront Styles at the final whistle.

The visitors started much the better and really should have hit the front on eight minutes; Mark Pembridge swung over an inviting free-kick from the left but, after out-muscling Colin Cooper, Brian McBride sent his header just the wrong side of the post.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink saw a half-hearted appeal for a penalty waved away on the quarter-hour mark after going down theatrically under challenge from Liam Rosenior.

Chances were, though, very much at a premium with both sides struggling to retain possession for any length of time in a scrappy affair.

The next of note unsurprisingly fell to Fulham who were playing what little football there was on offer.

Another Pembridge free-kick caused problems in the Boro defence with Colin Cooper dragging an attempted clearance to Collins John twelve yards from goal, but the hit-man fired widely over when well-placed.

The Londoners were guilty of more profligate finishing soon after with McBride this time the culprit.

Neat build-up down the left-hand side between Rosenior and Boa Morte led to the latter picking out McBride with a cross but the American, who should have been flagged offside, could not profit from the generosity of the referee's assistant and directed his header over from eight yards.

Boro's first attack of genuine promise came on 42 minutes but evaporated almost as quickly as it had arrived.

When George Boateng slid through Szilard Nemeth he appeared to have a clear run on goal but, instead of trying to get a shot off, the Slovakian opted to try and round the retreating Fulham defenders and the chance was ultimately lost.

Fulham, dominant for much of the first half, carried their momentum into the second period and were far the quicker from the traps after the interval with Boa Morte again prominent down the left.

The former Arsenal winger seemed to be able to hit the by-line at will but, as he had in the first half, failed to find the killer ball.

However, Boa Morte came within inches of breaking the deadlock himself with a free-kick from the edge of the box shortly before the hour mark.

After a two-step run-up the wideman floated a delightful effort over the wall but on to the top of the crossbar and behind with goalkeeper Brad Jones a spectator.

The narrow escape seemed to finally wake Boro from their slumbers and the hosts belated found their feet as an attacking force - although Edwin van der Sar still remained underemployed.

Match Stats Boro Fulham
Goals 1 1
Possession 52% 48%
Goal attempts 9 7
On Target 2 1
Corners 2 6
Off-sides 5 3
Penalty 1 0
Fouls 11 12
Yellows 1 0
Reds 0 0
source: skysport/Opta sports data

Hasselbaink should have tested his compatriot with a quarter of an hour remaining but glanced a header just wide of the far post after winning the race to Boudewijn Zenden's left-wing cross.

The former Chelsea hit-man was again demanding a penalty moments later but, despite the intensely close attentions of Zat Knight, saw his appeals again rejected by Rob Styles.

However, with the hosts appearing the more likely winners, Fulham struck what appeared to be killer blow with eight minutes remaining.

Tomasz Radzinski pulled a cross from the right back into the path of McBride at the far post, and the American unleashed a rasping low effort which flashed past Jones and into the far corner.

That seemed to be that, but referee Styles salvaged the hosts a point with a calamitous penalty award as the game entered injury-time.

Hasselbaink gave chase to a hopeful punt up-field and did appear to be caught by van der Sar as the keeper attempted to clear the bouncing ball - but the offence quite clearly took place outside the box.

Despite the extended protests of Fulham's enraged players the decision stood and Zenden kept his cool from the spot to sneak a draw that left Coleman beside himself with rage at the final whistle.

Middlesbrough Jones, Cooper (Kennedy 86), Southgate, Ehiogu, Queudrue, Parlour, Boateng, Zenden, Downing, Hasselbaink, Nemeth.
Subs Not Used: Doriva, Davies, Wheater, Knight.

Booked: Southgate.

Goals: Zenden 90 pen.

Fulham Van der Sar, Rosenior, Knight, Goma, Volz, Pembridge, Radzinski, Clark, Boa Morte, John (Malbranque 82), McBride.
Subs Not Used: Bocanegra, Crossley, Jensen, Rehman.

Goals: McBride 82.

Att: 30,650

Ref: R Styles (Hampshire).

Source SkySport by Mark Kendall

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