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Fulham celebrate - The Telegraph

last updated Monday 10th September 2001, 7:25 AM
Charlton (1) 1 Fulham (1) 1

Two of the Premiership's best footballing sides provided some splendid entertainment at the Valley yesterday as Jean Tigana celebrated his 50th League game as manager of Fulham.

The Frenchman was disappointed that he did not register his 32nd win after his side failed to turn possession and chances into goals.

Yet Fulham's passing and their running off the ball, the way the players supported each other and the variety of their attacks underlined the progress that has been made under Tigana during his 14 months in charge.

Had Paul Konchesky not made a goal-saving block tackle on the outstanding Sean Davis in stoppage time, Fulham would have left South-East London with all three points.

However, Charlton deserve credit for their display after being overrun in the first half, when they continually gave the ball back to Fulham. They were the better team after the interval but, like the visitors, did not have a cutting edge near goal.

Charlton manager Alan Curbishley, whose options were restricted with seven senior players missing through injury, started with a 3-5-2 formation, switched to 4-4-2 and returned to a three-man defence to cope with Fulham's fluid football.

A draw was just about a fair result, though Tigana said: "We had a problem finishing. We should have killed the game off in the first half. We need to learn but it's not been a bad start."

Tigana was unhappy about a 19th-minute incident when Charlton's goalkeeper, Dean Kiely, clashed with Louis Saha as the Fulham striker ran on to a long clearance by Edwin van der Sar.

The Fulham manager thought it would not just be a penalty for his side but that Kiely should have been shown the red card, too.

Charlton had taken the lead in the 34th minute against the run of play. Chris Powell's deep centre from the left was headed back across the goalmouth by Sean Bartlett, and the ball struck Andy Melville's shins and trickled over the line for his second own goal against Charlton in two years.

Four minutes later Fulham were level when Sylvain Legwinski, realising that two of his team-mates were offside, continued his run towards goal rather than passing. The French midfielder's shot was parried by Kiely but Luis Boa Morte, making his first appearance of the season after suspension, drove the ball home.

Boa Morte, who won a Championship medal at Highbury in 1998, will find his place under threat from Fulham's record signing, Steve Marlet, who cost £11.5 million from Lyons, for the game against Arsenal on Saturday.

Marlet's knee injury should have healed by then and the striker can become part of a side reinforced by the addition of six players costing £33 million last month - more than £1 million per day.
Source Sport Telegaph by Christopher Davies
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