0 users online

Crystal Palace 0 - 1 Fulham - Match Report

last updated Wednesday 01st August 2001, 10:10 PM
Steed Malbranque
Steed Malbranque
With all eyes looking for the potential debut of Fulham’s latest signing Edwin Van der Sar, it was French midfielder Steed Malbranque who turned out for the Whites first.

Despite Palace having a corner headed off the line by Brevett, the early exchanges of the match were played at a rapid pace, without either side creating any clear-cut chances.

Palace were first to carve out an opening on 9 minutes after Andy Melville’s defensive header fell to Clinton Morrison, whose shot failed to trouble Maik Taylor.

Another Fulham new-boy making his first start was recent signing Abdeslam Ouaddou. The Moroccan international, playing in the defensive midfield role looked far more at ease than his last appearance against Celtic.

On 20 minutes Malbranque gave the travelling Fulham fans their first look at his set-piece delivery. Highly-rated as a dead-ball specialist in France, Malbranque delivered his first corner of the match straight on to the head of Ouaddou, who failed to hit the target.

In spite of the fast pace of the match, neither side managed to create an opening of any consequence in the first-half.

Yet with the half-time break only minutes away, Palace appeared to have let Barry Hayles in on goal, the striker brought the ball under control neatly which enabled him to have a shot on target. Fortunately for Eagles ‘keeper Kolinko, Hayles failed to apply the correct finish.

Palace were again lucky not to go behind as minutes later, Hayles typically bustled through two Eagles defenders, only to be brought down well inside the penalty area. Despite the textbook nature of the foul, the referee failed to point to the spot, much to the puzzlement of the Fulham players and supporters.

Abdeslam Ouaddou
Abdeslam Ouaddou
Having just escaped conceding the opening goal, Palace played out the remaining minutes of the first-half in a rather cautions manner, as both sides reached the interval on even terms.

The second-half started with Fulham, again, applying the pressure, which managed to win the Whites a corner. The addition of Luis Boa Morte for Lee Clark evidently injected some urgency in to the Whites’ attacks.

Malbranque stepped up to take the set-piece which was beautifully flighted on to the head of Alain Goma, whose goal-bound header was cleared off the line.

Short, bustling and with a mean turn of pace, Steed Malbranque was beginning to run riot in the Palace defense as he elevated his performance up a gear.

With 50 minutes gone, Malbranque fed a delightful pass through to Saha, who fizzed a shot narrowly past Kolinko’s post from distance.

Five minutes later, the combination was again repeated but, this time, with more deadly accuracy. Malbranque, again, passed through to Saha who took the ball down on his chest and fired past Kolinko into the net. 1-0 Fulham.

Whilst Fulham’s attacks were gaining more potency, Palace were starting to look dangerous on the counter. Quickly breaking, with Dougie Freedman often leading the charges, the Eagles were by no means out of the match.

As the second-half progressed though, Fulham began to stamp their authority on the match, much to the apparent frustration of the Palace players, who were starting to increase the physical nature of their game.

Sensing that their best way back into the match was to play a more direct style, Palace began to up the tempo of their play, which in-turn, helped to bring about more vocal support from the Palace faithful. Yet in spite of their increased effort, many of the Eagles’ attacks lacked a final cutting edge.

Fulham managed to keep the Palace at arm’s length for the remaining minutes of the match with some tidy passes and solid defending.

The final whistle signaled a hard fought, but well deserved victory for Fulham and a pleasing debut for Steed Malbranque.

Team: Taylor, Finnan, Goma, Melville, Brevett, Clark (Boa Morte 45), Ouaddou (Knight 75), Malbranque, Collins, Saha, Hayles

Subs Not Used: Trollope, Betsy, Stolcers, Hahnemann, Symons


Source fulham fc
Since 1998
"It's been updated!"