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Match Report - Fulham 2 Bolton 1

last updated Sunday 27th November 2005, 9:59 PM
Brian McBride
Brian McBride, a true professional,
gets Fulham 3 points with two goals.

Two goals from Brian McBride gave Fulham the three points they deserved on the day their fans said goodbye to George Best.

Best, who died on Friday aged 59, had made himself a superstar at Manchester United but also enjoyed two shorter spells at Craven Cottage between 1976 and 1977.

And while the home fans marked his passing with a minute of pre-match applause they were also able to keep their hands warm during the game as Chris Coleman's side outplayed a Bolton team riding high in the Premiership and enjoying an extended UEFA Cup run.

It was an indisciplined afternoon from Sam Allardyce's men, who had more than half the team booked and El-Hadji Diouf red-carded after the final whistle.

Indeed, it took Fulham just four minutes to end Bolton's run of three successive Premiership clean sheets and Allardyce, an uncompromising defender in his playing days, was appalled by what he saw.

McBride had been allowed to poke home Tomasz Radzinski's low ball to the near post, with recalled defender Radhi Jaidi merely watching it all happen in front of him, wrongly assuming goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen would come out to collect.

It was not Jaidi's day as he misjudged the bounce of a huge punt upfield in the 18th minute from fit-again goalkeeper Mark Crossley which allowed McBride to crack home the second as soon as it came down again.

The American was close to his hat-trick moments later and it needed a block in the box to deny him, with Jaaskelainen hurt in the melee that followed after Collins John's studs had caught him in the face.

Allardyce's anger manifested itself in a 32nd-minute substitution with the hapless Jaidi taken off in favour of Bruno N'Gotty, who had been left on the bench following Thursday's 1-1 UEFA Cup draw in Portugal with Guimaraes.

The change could not have made the Trotters any shakier but it was also apparent that the Bolton players were finding it difficult to control their own tempers as referee Graham Poll began to collect bookings.

Gary Speed was first for kicking the ball away after the whistle had gone and, after Tal Ben Haim had been booked for hacking down Steed Malbranque, Diouf was shown a yellow card for reacting petulantly after Poll had awarded a free-kick for a foul on Ricardo Gardner instead of playing the advantage. Kevin Davies also had his say on the matter and he too was booked.

Match Stats Fulham Bolton
Goals 2 1
Possession 45% 55%
Goal attempts 10 5
On Target 4 3
Corners 3 6
Fouls 18 18
OffSides 1 6
Yellows 2 6
Reds 0 1
source: SkySport

Fulham's Liam Rosenior was next to be cautioned, for a 52nd-minute bodycheck on Joey O'Brien but the home side were still looking far too comfortable for Allardyce's liking and he replaced the invisible Hidetoshi Nakata with Jay-Jay Okocha a minute later.

A third change followed just before the hour mark with Abdoulaye Faye, who been hurt in collisions with first Crossley and then McBride, replaced by Martin Djetou and Fulham boss Chris Coleman made his first change soon after with Sylvain Legwinski coming on for Luis Boa Morte.

Okocha was next to be booked, in the 68th minute for hacking Malbranque down as he motored past, and the Nigerian - the only man on the pitch possessing skills in the Best mould - was having no impact at all on the game.

Kevin Nolan was close to providing that elusive breakthrough in the 78th minute when a Speed corner bobbled in a well-populated six-yard box but when he hooked the ball goalwards McBride was back to block.

More bookings followed - Nolan for dissent, Joey O'Brien for a foul on Radzinski and the fit-again Carlos Bocanegra for a challenge on Davies.

There was a brief glimmer of hope for Bolton when Legwinski put through his own goal in stoppage time as he tried to stop Nolan but the points were still Fulham's and Diouf was shown a red card after the final whistle for further argument with the officials.

Fulham Crossley, Volz, Bocanegra, Goma, Rosenior, Radzinski, Diop, Malbranque, Boa Morte (Legwinski 61), McBride, John (Helguson 89).
Subs Not Used: Knight, Warner, Pearce.

Booked: Rosenior (51,f), Bocanegra (88,f).

  • McBride 4 (right-footed into bottom-left of goal from centre of penalty area 6 yards out),
  • McBride 18 (volleyed right-footed into top-right of goal from right side of penalty area 18 yards out).

Bolton Jaaskelainen, O'Brien, Jaidi (N'Gotty 32), Nakata (Okocha 53), Ben Haim, Gardner, Speed, Faye (Djetou 59), Nolan, Davies, Diouf.
Subs Not Used: Walker, Vaz Te.

Booked: Speed, Ben Haim, Davies, Diouf, Okocha, Nolan, O'Brien.

Goals: Legwinski 90 og (right-footed into bottom-left of goal from 6 yards).

Att: 19,768

Ref: G Poll (Hertfordshire).

Source SportingLife
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