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Fulham outclass Bolton - S.Telegraph

last updated Sunday 18th August 2002, 2:04 PM
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Fulham (3) 4 Bolton (1) 1

Fulham's first game at Loftus Road turned into a midsummer stroll as Bolton were hopelessly outclassed.

The InterToto Cup finalists were clearly more match-fit and alert to the task while Bolton, who walloped five goals past Leicester on the opening day of last season, were on the receiving end, despite going in front almost at the outset.

Showing no homesickness after their two-mile switch from Craven Cottage, Fulham were two goals to the good by half-time.

They attacked from the start only to hand the visitors a shock lead in only the third minute, failing to cut out Ricardo Gardner's searching pass and enabling Youri Djorkaeff to turn in the box, where Alain Goma barged him over.

Michael Ricketts tried to sell Edwin van der Sar a couple of dummies before steering home his right-foot penalty kick.

Steve Marlet headed wide after Sylvain Legwinski flicked on a Steed Malbranque free-kick as Jean Tigana's side urgently sought to equalise. They did just that in the 10th minute, courtesy of another spot-kick award by referee Alan Wiley. Whereas his first decision had seemed clear-cut, Gudni Bergsson's challenge on Louis Saha saw the Frenchman only stumble. Saha duly rattled in the penalty left-footed.

Malbranque provided most of Fulham's creative spark and Marlet should have done better from his pass than just hammer the ball against Jussi Jaaskelainen's legs. Legwinski showed him how it should be done on 32 minutes, cutting inside following Sean Davis's through-ball and guiding a neat shot beyond Jaaskelainen.

Five minutes later, it was 3-1. There was no doubt about the third penalty, Bernard Mendy bundling over Luis Boa Morte and Marlet scored from the spot.

The curiously anonymous Jay Jay Okocha failed to reappear after the interval and Bolton also replaced the hapless Mendy. Henrik Pedersen, who had come on for Okocha, did his best to put Wanderers back in contention, embarking on a weaving run and setting up Djorkaeff, who spooned the ball embarrassingly over.

But Fulham were cruising now and, to a huge chorus of glee from the Japanese contingent in the crowd, Junichi Inamoto entered the fray. The midfielder took just 10 minutes to make an impact, his cross prompting defensive panic before Legwinski volleyed in his second 12 minutes from time.

Fulham: Van der Sar, Finnan, Melville, Goma, Brevett, Malbranque (Inamoto 69), Davis, Boa Morte, Legwinski, Saha (Sava 78), Marlet.
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Collins, Ouaddou.
Booked: Melville.
Goals: Saha 11 pen, Legwinski 33, Marlet 38 pen, Legwinski 79.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Mendy (Pedersen 45), Bergsson, N'Gotty, Charlton, Frandsen, Okocha (Whitlow 45), Gardner, Djorkaeff, Nolan (Warhurst 70), Ricketts.
Subs Not Used: Poole, Holdsworth.
Booked: Mendy, N'Gotty.
Goals: Ricketts 4 pen.
Att: 16,338
Ref: A Wiley (Staffordshire).
Source S.Telegraph by Steve Thomson
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