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Fulham 2 Grimsby 1

last updated Saturday 25th November 2000, 6:19 PM
Fulham continued their push for the Premiership as second half goals from Boa Morte and Saha ensured that they stretched their lead at the top of the table.

Grimsby did pull a late goal back as Keith Donovan dribbled through the Fulham defence to tuck home, however, the mariners never looked like stealing a share of the points. Fulham stretched their lead at the top of the division to nine points as Watford’s game against Burnley was postponed.

Jean Tigana rested John Collins and at times it looked as if Fulham were enjoying similar relaxation as they lazily toyed with the Grimsby defence. They dominated the early stages, with their slick passing enabling them to create chance after chance. Only a mixture of bad luck and wasteful finishing stopped the Londoners from opening the scoring.

Fabrice Fernandes saw his goal bound shot blocked on the line after Referee Paul Durkin had awarded an indirect free kick. Having outmuscled his marker Luis Boa Morte should have scored but his scuffed shot was palmed away by Danny Coyne.

Grimsby were forced to defend for much of the half but could have taken the lead themselves. Two of Grimsby’s on-loan players’s linked together well as Fostervold broke away down the left and his cross was headed just wide by Neilsen.

Fulham’s dominance continued at the start of the second half, Goldbaek displayed quick feet on the edge of the area and his resulting shot struck the top of the crossbar. Fernandes, who proved a constant irritation to the Grimsby defence took up a number of dangerous positions but could not produce the killer ball.

Just as Fulham appeared to be getting frustrated they scored. Saha on as a substitute was fouled and from the resulting freekick the ball was quickly worked out to Clark, the midfielder played a clever reverse pass through to Boa Morte who slotted home.

Fulham buoyed by the breakthrough attacked with added pace and purpose. Louis Saha was the focus of their attacks, the Frenchman appeared determined to display the flair which he adds to the Fulham team.

It was Saha’s audacious skill which prised open the Grimsby defence for the second goal. Having received the ball on the edge of the area , he cut inside and curled a low shot past Coyne.

This second goal was hard on Grimsby who had defended stoutly against wave after wave of Fulham pressure. Steve Livingstone was at the heart of much of the Mariners play . The flame haired northerner displayed fiery grit as he battled with the continental spice supplied by the Fulham forwards.

Grimsby were rewarded for their tireless efforts when Donovan scored an excellent solo effort. The midfielder dribbled through a static Fulham defence and slid the ball home. The goal which would have cheered the Grimsby fans as they travelled home was not enough to disrupt Fulham, who seek to continue their own journey to the Premiership.

Fulham (0) 2 Grimsby (0) 1

Fulham: Taylor, Symons, Brevett, Coleman, Finnan, Clark, Goldbaek (Saha 56), Davis, Fernandes, Hayles, Boa Morte.

Subs Not Used: Hahnemann, Melville, Sahnoun, W. Collins.

Goals: Boa Morte 60, Saha 81.

Grimsby: Coyne, McDermott, Butterfield (Jeffrey 65), Coldicott, Fostervold, Gallimore, Campbell, Burnett (Willem 75), Donovan, Copenhagen, Livingstone (Bloomer 46).

Subs Not Used: D. Smith, Croudson.

Booked: Fostervold.

Goals: Donovan 87.

Att: 12,107

Ref: P Durkin (Dorset).

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