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Fulham 1 Ipswich 1 - Match report

last updated Sunday 21st October 2001, 4:37 PM
Ipswich failed to take full advantage of Luis Boa Morte's first-half dismissal as Fulham comfortably held on for a point after Jermaine Wright had equalised Barry Hayles' strike.

Wright gave himself something to celebrate on his 26th birthday when he drilled a precise 12-yarder past Edwin van der Sar after the Dutchman had flailed hopelessly at Martijn Reuser's cross, but Town showed a surprising lack of urgency as they failed to exploit their extra man.

Boa Morte's second booking - for diving on the stroke of half-time - completed a thoroughly miserable afternoon for the Portuguese, who had earlier horribly miscued from the penalty spot in front of the drenched Craven Cottage faithful.

The former Arsenal winger would be entitled to count himself a little unlucky to be sent off, for although his tumble in the face of Herman Hreidarsson's block was exaggerated, his nimbly-executed nutmeg had clearly flummoxed the big Icelander.

But there was no excuse for his comically topped spot-kick, which bobbled well wide on the half hour mark after John McGreal had handled in the area.

A 2-0 lead at that stage may well have finished off toothless Town, but as it was Fulham had just Hayles' fourth of the season, gobbled up hungrily after John Collins' free-kick had rebounded off Fabian Wilnis, to show for a dominant first-half showing.

Hayles was a constant thorn in Ipswich's side, leaving his more illustrious strike partner Steve Marlet in the shade with his close control and determined running, while Sylvain Legwinski probed intelligently from the centre of the field.

But Jean Tigana's side have just eight Premiership goals to their name this season, and too often their quick breaks down the flanks foundered as Boa Morte and Hayles ran infield into trouble.

Boa Morte might have gone even earlier than he did, had the referee not taken the correct view that Wilnis' theatrical fall to the turf on 34 minutes was out of keeping with the Fulham man's petulantly raised hand: as it was the booking he did get was to prove decisive.

George Burley brought Reuser off the bench at half-time to capitalise on the extra space, but his clever turn and cross for the goal apart, the Dutchman struggled to escape the dogged attention of Steve Finnan.

In fact, once the Cottagers' galloping Frenchman Steed Malbranque had been introduced to the fray, the home side looked the more likely winners, but the closest they came was a rasping 25-yarder from fellow French replacement Louis Saha which Matteo Sereni was relieved to claw away.

The result is of no significant use to either club's efforts to haul themselves away from the lower reaches of the table, but Ipswich and Fulham now have nine draws between them, and stalemate will remain the most likely outcome of their games as long as both continue to display a reluctance to gamble in pursuit of victory.

Van der Sar, Finnan, Brevett, Melville, Goma, Clark (Davis 62), Marlet (Malbranque 63), Collins, Legwinski, Boa Morte, Hayles (Saha 68).

Subs Not Used: Taylor, Knight. Sent Off: Boa Morte (45).

Booked: Boa Morte, Legwinski. Goals: Hayles 23.

Sereni, Wilnis (Reuser 45), Clapham, McGreal, Hreidarsson, Holland, Wright, Makin, Peralta (Magilton 72), Armstrong, George (Stewart 13).

Subs Not Used: Branagan, Naylor.

Booked: Peralta, Armstrong, Wilnis. Goals: Wright 55.

Att: 17,221 Ref: M Riley (Leeds).
Source Sky by Stephen Turner
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