0 users online

Fulham squeeze through to 3rd Round - Match report

last updated Wednesday 12th September 2001, 12:59 AM
Full-back Rufus Brevett was Fulham's saviour last night at Rochdale with a last-gasp equaliser in extra time as the expensively assembled Londoners struggled to beat third division Rochdale.

Luis Boa Morte then steered Fulham into the third round of the Worthington Cup on Tuesday after a penalty shoot-out at Spotland.

The Portuguese striker scored with the decisive spot-kick after Rochdale threatened to cause an upset. Boa Morte had opened the scoring only for Kevin Townson to score twice for the Third Division leaders.

Fulham dominated the first half only to drift into the comfort zone and lose their shape.

They came within inches of opening the scoring in the seventh minute. Barry Hayles picked up a loose ball in the penalty area and thumped in a shot that beat keeper Matthew Gilks.

However, much to Rochdale's relief, the ball came back off the bar and was eventually cleared.

Boa Morte saw his header scrambled away after Steed Malbranque's inswinging corner.

Rochdale hit back and Gareth Griffiths powered a header goalwards in the 15th minute only for Jon Harley to block his effort.

Fulham retaliated immediately and opened the scoring a minute later.

Lee Clark strode forward and his shot was palmed away by keeper Gilks but only as far as Boa Morte, who made no mistake from close range.

Malbranque then played a ball over the top in the hope of releasing Boa Morte. Gilks, however, raced out of his goal to avert the danger.

Boa Morte should have added a second in the 31st minute but he only found the side netting after Wayne Evans failed to cut out a routine cross from Steve Finnan.

Rochdale refused to panic and kept trying to play it neat and tidy but they found it difficult to break Fulham down. Boa Morte then threaded the ball through to Sean Davis but his weak 20-yard shot didn't trouble Gilks.

Malbranque, such an industrious player, picked up a pass from Davis but hit his shot over the top. Davis, however, was at fault with the goal that brought Rochdale level in the 73rd minute.

He lost concentration and then possession, allowing Townson to advance on goal.

The young striker, only on the park five minutes, showed a cool head to rifle a shot from the edge of the area beyond keeper Maik Taylor.

Townson then saw a volley whistle past the post as Rochdale went for the winner.

But play quickly switched down the other end with defender Sean McAuley throwing himself in front of Boa Morte's effort.

Rochdale were forced on the back foot as the game went into extra time with both Malbranque and Hayles coming close to regaining the lead for the Premiership side.

However, Fulham were rocked 12 minutes into the first period when Townson dramatically put Rochdale ahead.

Clive Platt's shot came back off the post after a fine build up and Townson was on hand to rattle in the rebound.

However, with Fulham facing an early exit, Rufus Brevett scored deep in stoppage time in extra time to increase the drama with a shot across the face of the goal and the match went to penalties.

Lee Clark, Sylvain Legwinski and Steve Finnan all scored from the spot to keep Fulham and Rochdale level on 3-3. As the tension mounted, both sides then missed their next two spot kicks with Sean Davis and Barry Hayles the culprits for Fulham

Fulham continued to match Rochdale goal for goal with successful spot kicks from Andy Melville and Rufus Brevett to make the score 5-5. Rochdale then failed to capitalise on the chance to put Fulham under pressure as they failed to score with their eighth effort. With the chance to win the match, Maik Taylor stepped up, only to see his shot saved.

With Rochdale missing the seventeenth penalty on the night, Luis Boa Morte finally ended the encounter as he slotted past Gilks to the delight of the travelling Fulham fans

Rochdale manager Steve Parkin shrugged off the disappointment of going out of the Worthington Cup to salute his players.


Rochdale (0) 2 Fulham (1) 2 After Extra Time. AT 90 mins 1-1

Rochdale: Gilkes, Evans, Bayliss, Griffiths, McAuley, Ford (Flitcroft 68), Oliver, Jones, Durkan (Doughty 49), Connor (Townson 69), Platt.
Subs Not Used: Baker, Todd.

Booked: Bayliss.

Fulham: Taylor, Finnan, Knight (Melville 93), Ouaddou, Harley (Brevett 69), Goldbaek (Legwinski 105), Clark, Davis, Malbranque, Hayles, Boa Morte.
Subs Not Used: Hahnemann, Betsy.

Booked: Finnan, Hayles.

Att: 6,303 Ref: R Pearson (Peterlee).
Source sporting life
Since 1998
"It's been updated!"