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11 straight wins for Mighty Whites

last updated Wednesday 18th October 2000, 10:52 PM
Still the Fulham juggernaut rolls on. Jean Tigana's team registered their 11th straight win from the start of the season as their crushing of First Division opposition continued.

Fulham have now equalled Newcastle's record of wins from the start of the season in the First Division, recorded in 1992-93 by Kevin Keegan's team - and they are now just two short of Reading's all-time English record of 13 set in 1985. It is a record that must surely fall.

It was appropriate that former Magpie Lee Clark should have hit the two goals that clinched this win for Fulham, but in truth the result was never in doubt.

It took Fulham just 10 minutes to sweep into the lead, courtesy of a disastrous blunder by Palace's Latvian goalkeeper Alex Kolinko.

When Fabrice Fernandes swung in a free-kick from the left, Kolinko decided to collect the ball.

But he was nowhere near it as Louis Saha climbed to thump a header past him for his 12th goal in 10 starts for Fulham.

It was the start Palace did not want and for the next five minutes they hardly saw the ball as Tigana's team smoothly moved it around.

A second goal seemed inevitable as Palace groped for the ball desperately, and Kolinko had to make a good save to stop Steve Finnan scoring. But football has an infinite capability to surprise and that is exactly what happened when Palace levelled the scores after 17 minutes.

Mikael Forsell nodded down a rare corner, Jamie Pollock got in among a dithering Fulham defence, and suddenly there was Neil Ruddock at the far post thrashing the ball into the net.

But it was an interruption that barely seemed to bother Fulham. The trickery of Luis Boa Morte and Saha always promised to unhinge a hefty looking Palace backline, but when it came, the goal stemmed from another fine move built from deep.

This time Bjarne Goldbaek cut in from the right on a probing run, and when his clever pass bisected the Palace backline, Clark drilled the ball past Kolinko.

Palace threw on new £1.5million Latvian winger Andrejs Rubins at the start of the second half, but he did little to stem the flow.

The third and clinching goal arrived in the 59th minute. Substitute Barry Hayles battled his way through on the right, and his pass reached Clark, who rattled his shot past the helpless Kolinko.

Fulham: Taylor, Finnan, Symons, Coleman, Trollope, Clark (Lewis 80), J. Collins, Goldbaek (Davis 67), Fernandes, Saha, Boa Morte (Hayles 55).

Subs Not Used:Hahnemann, W. Collins.
Booked: Symons.
Goals: Saha 10, Clark 23, 59.

Crystal Palace: Kolinko, Smith, Ruddock (Rubins 45), Mullins, Rodger, C. Morrison, Black (Gray 72), Forssell (Carlisle 72), Pollock, A. Morrison, Harrison.

Subs Not Used: Thomson, Austin.
Booked: Smith, Pollock.
Goals: Ruddock 17.

Att: 16,040
Ref: M Brandwood (Lichfield)

Source sportinglife
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