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The Arizonan, Californian

Tampa B.M. 0 Fulham 2 - Match Report

last updated Thursday 17th May 2001, 7:55 AM
A crowd of 2,311 came to the University of Tampa’s Pepin Rood Stadium to watch the Premiership’s newest arrivals take on the Tampa Bay Mutiny earlier this evening. With temperatures well into the 90s earlier in the day, it was still pretty warm when kick off came around at 7pm.

Set in front of the backdrop of sunset over the Tampa skyline, it was a full strength Fulham side that was once again selected to take on the MLS representatives. Just before kick off, legendary Fulham keeper Peter Mellor, now resident in Tampa and working for US Soccer, participated in a brief presentation with our own Captain Andy Melville, and Mutiny Captain, Carlos Valderama.

Once the pleasantries were out of the way it was down to business and within minutes Fulham had taken the lead after Kevin Betsy had latched on to a ball from Andrejs Stolcers at the far left-hand post. As the game progressed Tampa seemed to lack the flair of their neighbours from down State which allowed Fulham to keep possession for sustained periods.

On 25 minutes Eddie Lewis once again had a golden opportunity to impress his fellow countrymen after Luis Boa Morte had broken down the left flank and cut the ball back, but Lewis’ shot ricocheted off a Tampa defender and out of play.

With Valderama making an early exit, it was Curtis and Barclay in the Mutiny attack who were posing the biggest threats to Fulham, but Marcus Hahnemann dealt comfortably with the Mutiny’s strike partnership.

Just before half time Fulham continued to impose their superiority on the game as Betsy and Stolcers combined to put Boa Morte through but the Portuguese international just couldn’t get his foot behind the ball. Seconds later Kevin Betsy had made it two for himself and Fulham as he clinically finished off a Finnan cross from close range.

The second half saw no real drama beyond the constant stream of substitutions made by both sides. With Symons replacing Goma, and Wayne Collins and Bjarne Goldbaek on for Finnan and Stolcers respectively, the pattern of Fulham domination continued. Around the hour mark the Mutiny forced two more great reaction saves out of Marcus Hahnemann before two more Fulham subs entered the fray – Trollope for Brevett and Saha for Betsy.

On 69 minutes Lee Clark threaded a sublime pass into the path of Wayne Collins, thundering down the right flank. Collins’ low cross rolled straight into the path of Eddie Lewis who had made a great run from central midfield but the American’s connection was once again deflected off for a corner.

With Tampa continuing to squander the few chances they had by launching the slightly lighter-weight MLS balls over Hahnemann’s bar and into the Florida sky, the match, and Fulham’s season, finally drew to a picturesque close in front of the twinkling lights of Tampa

Fulham:
Hahnemann, Finnan, Brevett, Goma, Melville, Davis, Clark, Stolcers, Lewis, Boa Morte, Betsy.

Subs: W.Collins for Steve Finnan, Kit Symons for Alain Goma, Paul Trollope for Brevett, Zat Knight on for Sean Davis, Bjarne Goldbaek for Stolcers, Alan Neilson for Lewis and Louis Saha for Kevin Betsy.
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