Tag Archives: Fulham

Great Goals: Ruud van Nistelrooy – MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Fulham (March 2003)

Ruud van Nistelrooy was one of Europe’s great goalscorers. His habit was being in the right place at the right time to score from close-range or play off high offside traps and exposing weaknesses in defensive strategies.

This goal was all about skill, class and pace as well – the latter never being one of Van Nistelrooy’s true qualities. He collected possession from just inside his own half and spun away from Sylvain Legwinski who claimed he had been fouled by this movement. After this though, the rest is all about genuine class.

Van Nistelrooy beats no fewer than five Fulham players who either back off or put in feeble challenges. When in the penalty area, you always would back him and this was no exception, scooping the final effort beyond the Cottagers back-up goalkeeper, Maik Taylor.

This was the second goal of a Van Nistelrooy hat-trick in United’s 3-0 victory which set them up for an eighth Premier League title in 11 seasons. Van Nistelrooy won the Golden Boot that season too and there weren’t many better efforts in his Manchester United spell that this special solo strike.

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Memorable Matches: Southampton 4-2 Fulham (October 2002)

Goalscorers: Lee Clark 15, Steed Malbranque 25, James Beattie 27 PEN, 42, 52, Brett Ormerod 72

Teams:

Southampton: Antti Niemi, Wayne Bridge, Jason Dodd, Claus Lundekvam, Michael Svensson, Chris Marsden, Matt Oakley, Fabrice Fernandes, Anders Svensson, James Beattie, Brett Ormerod (Agustin Delgado 79)

Fulham: Edwin van der Sar, Rufus Brevett, Steve Finnan, Alain Goma, Zat Knight (Abdeslam Ouaddou 59), Martin Djetou (Barry Hayles 63), Sylvain Legwinski, Lee Clark, Luis Boa Morte, Steed Malbranque, Steve Marlet

Referee: Mark Halsey, Attendance: 26,188

25 minutes into this clash and it looked like Southampton’s unbeaten start to their home season was set to end. Trailing 2-0 to in-form Fulham, they needed a hero on the south coast to rally themselves back into this match. Luckily, they had one in James Beattie who scored a brilliant hat-trick to help the Saints turn the game completely on its head.

Southampton went into this match on the fringes of the top 10 and had just recorded their first away win of the campaign at Aston Villa six days earlier, with Beattie the only goalscorer from the penalty spot. Fulham were flying in the top six and had already held Manchester United and Chelsea in the 2002-2003 season. On a very gusty afternoon at St. Mary’s, this looked like it was going to be an evenly-fought contest.

It was the visitors who made the better start and they took the lead slightly fortuitously after 15 minutes. Lee Clark tried his luck from distance and his shot took a deflection off Southampton defender Michael Svensson, leaving Antti Niemi completely helpless. 10 minutes later, it was 2-0. Defenders just stood and watched as Steed Malbranque made one of his trademark late runs into the penalty area. The Frenchman fired home past Niemi and it gave the home side a mountain to climb. However, they were level just before half-time.

Two minutes after the Cottagers had established the two-goal lead, the advantage had been halved. Brett Ormerod won a penalty off the hand of Alain Goma. Confident after slotting away his penalty the previous Monday at Villa Park, Beattie sent Edwin van der Sar the wrong way to get Southampton on the scoreboard. Three minutes before half-time, Fabrice Fernandes’ delightful cross was met by the head of Beattie, who guided his header beyond the Dutch goalkeeper. The marking from Fulham was very suspect to say the least but Beattie and Southampton weren’t going to care about that.

Into the second half and there only looked like being one winner. Southampton were dealing with the high winds far better than the opponents and it showed. Six minutes into the second half, Beattie completed his hat-trick; the first of his Premier League career. Anders Svensson’s free-kick was inch-perfect and the striker rose above his markers to complete his personal milestone. The scoring was completed on 72 minutes by Ormerod, converting from close-range after industrious work from Chris Marsden.

Southampton’s fourth successive win in all competitions put them in the top half and they would stay there too, finishing eighth. Fulham faded to 14th and their manager Jean Tigana lost his job before the season ended after contract talks broke down. This day though belonged to James Beattie – the hero the Saints needed as he began to charge his way to his only 20-goal season of his career.

Premier League Files: Bobby Zamora

Bobby Zamora’s career took its time to really get going but he represented all of his Premier League teams with great loyalty and desire to succeed. His best spell was with Fulham where he helped Roy Hodgson’s side to a UEFA Europa League final in 2010 and earned himself international recognition from Fabio Capello and England. A lifelong West Ham United fan, he would spend five seasons as a player for the club he grew up supporting and was often a scorer of some spectacular goals.

He started his Football League career as a trainee with Bristol Rovers in 1999 and made a few sporadic first-team appearances before going out on-loan to first Bath City, then Brighton & Hove Albion. He made an immediate impact at Brighton, scoring six goals in six matches during a three-month loan spell in 2000. This encouraged the Seagulls’ to sign him permanently for the 2000-2001 season. He would score 83 times in 136 appearances, breaking into the England Under-21 setup during this time and helping Brighton towards the second-tier of English football with back-to-back promotions.

Several Premier League clubs had been monitoring Zamora very closely, particularly Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs paid Brighton £1.5 million in July 2003 to take Bobby to White Hart Lane. He was one of Glenn Hoddle’s prime targets that summer. However, the manager was sacked in September 2003 after a poor start to the campaign which saw Tottenham winning only one of their first six games. Zamora struggled to settle too, scoring just once in 18 matches and that was in a League Cup victory over West Ham United. Had he just blown his big Premier League opportunity?

In January 2004, he dropped back down to the Football League but it was a move he needed for his career. Joyfully for Zamora, it was West Ham United where his next port of call would be as the Hammers struck a deal with Tottenham which allowed an unhappy Jermain Defoe to go in the other direction. Zamora struck an instant cord for West Ham supporters, scoring in his first two matches for the club as they narrowly missed out on an immediate return to the Premier League via the play-offs.

There was no play-off heartache in 2005. Zamora was the ultimate difference behind West Ham’s return to the top-flight. He scored four goals in the play-off matches, including the winner to defeat Preston North End in the final. He was heading back to the Premier League and it was with his boyhood club too. He made an important contribution to the 2005-2006 team under Alan Pardew that finished in 9th place and reached the FA Cup final. Bobby scored on the club’s final visit to Highbury which ended in victory over Arsenal but was one of the unfortunate victims to have a spot-kick saved in the FA Cup shootout defeat to Liverpool FC.

He started 2006-2007 in brilliant form with five goals in four matches but as the club hit a dreadful run of form, the goals also dried up for Zamora. Pardew was sacked and replaced by Alan Curbishley. Zamora did score some vital goals in the run-in which saw West Ham pull off a remarkable escape with seven wins in their last nine matches to avoid relegation. Among those goals was a winning goal at Arsenal which made West Ham the first away winners in the Premier League at The Emirates Stadium. In 2007-2008, he missed five months of the campaign because of tendinitis which restricted him to just 14 Premier League appearances and would leave Upton Park in the summer of 2008 to join Fulham.

Zamora struggled to find the net, scoring just twice in 35 league appearances over the 2008-2009 season and it looked set that his stay in the west of the capital would be just a sole season. Fulham agreed a fee with Hull City for Zamora to be sold in July 2009 to the Tigers. However, he turned down the move because he didn’t fancy moving away from London.

It was an inspired decision to stay. Zamora enjoyed his best-ever campaign in 2009-2010, scoring some vital goals in the run to the UEFA Europa League final as Fulham beat the likes of reigning holders Shakhtar Donetsk, Bundesliga champions VfL Wolfsburg and Italian giants Juventus. Fulham suffered heartache in the final, losing 2-1 to Atletico Madrid but finished a comfortable 12th in the Premier League table and he scored 19 goals in all competitions.

A late season injury ended his outside hopes of playing in the 2010 World Cup finals for England but he made his international debut in August 2010, featuring in a friendly victory over Hungary. Another injury meant he would figure just once more for the Three Lions – against Sweden in November 2011 which ultimately turned out to be Capello’s last match in charge of England.

He signed a new four-year contract at Fulham in September 2010 but just 24 hours after putting pen to paper on his new deal, he suffered a broken leg in a home match against Wolverhampton Wanderers. This would keep him out of action for over five months. He did return to action before the 2010-2011 season finished but fell out with new Fulham manager Martin Jol and would leave the Cottagers in January 2012 to join Queens Park Rangers.

He scored on his debut for the club which was a 2-1 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers and scored twice in 14 games as the club narrowly avoided relegation. He never hit the heights of his Fulham days at Loftus Road and experienced two relegations in three seasons. He did score a Goal of the Season contender against West Bromwich Albion in April 2015 and scored another play-off final winner over Derby County but by now, injuries had taken their toll.

In August 2015, he returned to Brighton & Hove Albion and scored seven times in 26 appearances before being released after Brighton missed out on promotion through the play-offs. He didn’t play any part in the campaign after March due to a hip injury and in December 2016, he decided to hang up his football boots. He scored 182 goals during his club career.

Zamora is currently pursuing business interests, including a social housing scheme with ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand and West Ham United midfielder Mark Noble.

On his day, Bobby Zamora was unplayable and certainly made an impact on many of his clubs. His best Premier League spell was with Fulham and he is still fondly remembered by Brighton supporters, who came up with the chant: “When the ball hits the goal it’s not Shearer or Cole, its Zamora,” to the tune of Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore.”

Premier League Files: Jimmy Bullard

Premier League Career: Wigan Athletic (2005-2006), Fulham (2006-2009), Hull City (2009-2010)

Jimmy Bullard was one of the funniest footballers in the last 15 years. You could always see the passion he would have for the game and also, his determination to have a bit of fun whilst doing it. He figured for Wigan Athletic, Fulham and Hull City and has also had a spell in management with non-league side Leatherhead since retirement in 2012.

A West Ham United supporter as a boy, Jimmy was signed by the club in 1999 after some non-league appearances with Gravesend & Northfleet. However, he never managed to make the breakthrough at Upton Park and was given a free transfer two seasons later. He rebuilt his career at Peterborough United, scoring 11 times in 66 appearances, before being snapped up by Wigan Athletic in January 2003 for £275,000.

He helped Wigan secure promotion to the Premier League in 2005 and became an important figure in their debut season in the top-flight. Bullard scored a late winner in a 2-1 success at West Bromwich Albion in September and struck another three goals, including a goal against Arsenal. His antics became almost as common as his play on-the-pitch. In a match against Everton, he famously leapfrogged a pile of players in a goalmouth scramble, resulting in him falling on his face!

Fulham were impressed by Bullard’s performances and triggered a clause in his contract which saw the Cottagers’ pay Wigan £2.5 million for his services in May 2006. He made an instant impact, scoring goals to rescue a point at home to Bolton Wanderers and a free-kick winner to overcome Sheffield United. Sadly, he sustained a dislocated kneecap in the club’s next match away at St James’ Park. He would be on the sidelines for a minimum of nine months with cruciate knee ligament damage. The injury would ultimately keep him out of action until January 2008. A month later, he scored a brilliant free-kick to defeat Aston Villa and his joy was crystal clear. He even hugged referee Chris Foy at the full-time whistle which just showed how happy he was to be back on the football field.

Bullard’s performances in the second half of the season were a crucial part in Fulham escaping relegation on the final day. Despite starting 2008-2009 in arguably the best form of his career, negotiations over a new contract stalled and in December 2008, the west Londoners decided that Jimmy could surprisingly leave the club. A month later, he joined Hull City for a club-record fee of £5 million.

In an interview with the BBC’s Football Focus shortly after his arrival, Bullard said: “I didn’t feel I had the backing from the club, so I felt like it was time to move on. I felt like Fulham didn’t want me and it was as simple as that really. I was in talks with Fulham over a contract and I was told I’m not getting a new contract and I can leave in January.”

He made his Hull debut a week after his arrival against West Ham but sustained further knee damage in that match and this ended his season prematurely after more surgery. After a nine-month absence, he returned to the Hull squad and made an immediate contribution, scoring twice against the Hammers’ in a 3-3 draw and striking the equalising penalty in a 1-1 draw with Manchester City. He famously imitated Hull manager Phil Brown’s on-pitch team talk from the same fixture the previous season in his celebration which luckily went down well with his boss. Another knee injury was sustained in the next fixture against Aston Villa which kept him out for eight further weeks and it became clear the supporters were getting frustrated with his constant injury absences. Hull ended the season in the bottom three and were relegated to the Championship.

Jimmy was one of the club’s highest earners and with the debt piling up; he was allowed to leave that summer. However, his wage demands put many teams off, as well as his injury record. A loan move to Celtic collapsed and he stayed at Hull until January 2011, when he joined Ipswich Town on-loan. He eventually retired from football in October 2012 after a very brief spell at Milton Keynes Dons.

He moved into management in the 2016-2017 season, spending a year with Leatherhead. He won 19 of his 47 matches in charge but resigned at the end of the campaign. Since retirement, Bullard has been a regular on our TV screens, appearing in ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!’ in 2014. He is now one of the three main hosts on the Sky Sports Saturday morning magazine show, Soccer AM.

Memorable Matches: Fulham 3-3 Tottenham Hotspur (September 2007)

Goalscorers: Younes Kaboul 10, Dimitar Berbatov 28, Clint Dempsey 42, Gareth Bale 61, Alexei Smertin 77, Diomansy Kamara 90

Teams:

Fulham: Antti Niemi, Chris Baird, Carlos Bocanegra, Dejan Stefanovic, Paul Konchesky, Steven Davis, Hameur Bouazza (David Healy 70), Alexei Smertin (Collins John 79), Simon Davies, Clint Dempsey, Diomansy Kamara

Tottenham Hotspur: Paul Robinson, Lee-Young Pyo, Pascal Chimbonda, Younes Kaboul, Ricardo Rocha, Tom Huddlestone, Jermaine Jenas, Steed Malbranque (Michael Dawson 84), Gareth Bale, Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane (Jermain Defoe 68)

Referee: Mike Riley, Attendance: 24,007

Neither Fulham, nor Tottenham Hotspur were in sparkling form in the early weeks of the 2007-2008 season. Tottenham, heavily tipped to challenge for a finish in the top-four, had lost three of their opening four Premier League matches whilst Fulham were trying to bed in a clutch of new signings under the former Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez.

He could welcome back goalkeeper Antti Niemi to the fold. The former Southampton stopper was back after a long spell out with a wrist injury. Unfortunately, his return didn’t start well. 10 minutes in and he flapped at Gareth Bale’s corner. The ball fell to Younes Kaboul and the Frenchman, a summer arrival from Auxerre made no mistake to put the ball into the empty net.

In the 28th minute, it was 2-0 to the visitors. Fine work from Robbie Keane saw him play in his strike partner Dimitar Berbatov. Berbatov easily outpaced Dejan Stefanovic and he smashed the ball past Niemi from an improbable angle. It was the Bulgarian’s first goal of the season. Fulham were on the ropes and could have been put out of the contest completely before half-time. Jermaine Jenas had a golden opportunity but wound up giving possession away rather than playing the on-field skipper Keane in to score. It was a costly error as against the run of play, Fulham pulled one back three minutes before half-time. Former Tottenham midfielder Simon Davies swung in a corner and Clint Dempsey made the most of free space to power home.

At the start of the second half, Tottenham reasserted their authority on the contest. Berbatov forced Niemi into a smart save and ex-Fulham midfielder Steed Malbranque struck a half-volley against the post with Niemi completely stranded. A third goal was surely coming and their persistence was eventually rewarded just past the hour mark. Keane’s flick-on put Bale in the clear. The young Welshman flew down the left-hand side and finished calmly beyond Niemi to score his first league goal for the club since his summer move from Southampton.

With 12 minutes left, Fulham looked to be running out of ideas but their hopes of gaining something out of the match were rekindled when Alexei Smertin’s shot deflected off Ricardo Rocha and left Paul Robinson stranded. Tottenham suddenly looked nervy and with time fast running out, they lost the lead. Diomansy Kamara’s acrobatic effort from the edge of the penalty area caught out Robinson and secured the Cottagers’ a fairly fortunate point.

Tottenham manager Martin Jol was furious afterwards. He told BBC: “We have to cut out this sort of rubbish and these mistakes and then maybe we will start winning games.”

He wouldn’t win another league match and was sacked towards the end of October. Tottenham only finished 11th but did win the League Cup under Juande Ramos that season. Fulham escaped relegation on the final day after three wins in a row at the end of the season. This point would be a huge one for them as the season progressed.

The Managers: Martin Jol

Premier League Clubs Managed: Tottenham Hotspur (2004-2007), Fulham (2011-2013)

Martin Jol’s Premier League management career was dominated completely by one city. He managed two clubs in London, managed his first game in the English top-flight in the capital and also saw his management stint in this country ended in London. His time with Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham saw him provide exciting, creative sides that pleased their supporters. Sadly, there was no silverware to follow for his good work.

His time in this country is slightly undervalued when you consider some of the good work from managers arriving in the UK following his departure as Fulham manager in November 2013. His success since in the Middle East shows that he can win top honours around the world.

First steps in the Netherlands

During his playing career, Martin played over 400 times. He turned professional in 1973 with his local professional side ADO Den Haag and won the Dutch Cup two years later. He spent one season in the Bundesliga with German giants Bayern Munich before moving back to Dutch football with FC Twente in 1979.

He was one of the few foreign imports in the English game during the 1980s, joining West Bromwich Albion in 1982 and also going onto play for Coventry City. In 1985, he returned to his homeland and a second spell with Den Haag, winning the Dutch Footballer of the Year award before deciding to quit playing in 1989.

Jol went into coaching at the start of the 1990s and his first professional management role came in 1996 with Roda JC. A year after this appointment, he guided Roda to the Dutch Cup, their first trophy for three decades. He then spent six years with the unheralded RKC Waalwijk team, transforming them from relegation battlers to regular European football challengers. His achievements were well-known in the Netherlands. Jol won Coach of the Year honours in both 2001 and 2002.

To further himself though, he needed to move away from his home country and in June 2004, he was heading back to England for his first crack at management outside of Holland.

Biding his time at Tottenham

Martin Jol initially came in as assistant manager to Jacques Santini who was leaving his post as manager of the French national team to take over at Tottenham Hotspur. Santini’s side though were dull to watch and the fans never took to him as their boss. 13 games into the season, he walked out on the club and Jol was thrust into the limelight as Tottenham’s fourth manager in 14 months.

It was quite a baptism. He lost his first three matches but a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough in November 2004 started a brilliant run that saw Spurs to their best run of form since the inaugural Premier League campaign in 1992-1993. Tottenham strung a run of five successive victories together and managed an eight-game unbeaten sequence until they were beaten at home by impending champions Chelsea in January 2005. Tottenham would eventually finish ninth, missing out on a European spot by two points. Nevertheless, the foundations were in place for a fairly successful spell in north London.

This started by signing a three-year contract extension in August 2005 and the 2005-2006 campaign was going to be the club’s best in Premier League history until their fourth place finish in 2010. Tottenham sat in the top six all season and were in the coveted fourth position from early January onwards right the way through until the final day of the season. Their squad was struck down by a mysterious illness on the eve of the final match at Upton Park against West Ham United. Spurs would lose the game 2-1, allowing bitter rivals Arsenal in to snatch fourth position and the final UEFA Champions League qualification spot at the last possible moment. Despite this crushing late disappointment, it did mean European football for Tottenham for the first time since 1990 and it was the club’s highest league finish in 15 years.

An unfortunate end at The Lane

Inconsistency dogged the 2006-2007 season. High points including a first win in 16 years in the league over Chelsea and a run to the semi-finals of the League Cup. However, Tottenham were in the bottom half of the table by mid-February and out of the race for a Champions League challenge. Jol’s side did finish the campaign very strongly though, losing just once in their last 12 matches to ensure a second successive fifth place finish. On top of that, Spurs went deep in the FA Cup and UEFA Cup, reaching the quarter-finals in both competitions before bowing out to eventual winners, Chelsea and Sevilla respectively.

Expectations were even higher in the summer of 2007 with £40 million being spent on new talent including Gareth Bale and Darren Bent. However, all was not well between Jol and the hierarchy at the club. Reports began to emerge that he had fallen out over transfer policy with the Director of Football, Damien Comolli. It was believed that he had signed a number of players that Jol didn’t really want. One of his transfer targets, Bulgarian Martin Petrov went to Manchester City after the Spurs boss was refused the opportunity to make a bid for him. Worse was to come for Martin.

Results were extremely poor in the opening three months of the 2007-2008 campaign. Tottenham won just one Premier League game and that was against hapless Derby County. They conceded sloppy late goals to deny themselves away wins at Craven Cottage and Anfield and when a director and the club secretary were photographed in a Spanish hotel meeting Sevilla manager Juande Ramos, Jol’s die was cast.

He was sacked during their UEFA Cup defeat at home to Getafe in October 2007.

Hamburg, Ajax and back to London

Although approached by Birmingham City a month later, Martin elected to take some time out of the game and wouldn’t return to the managerial dugout before the start of the 2008-2009 season. When he did return, it wasn’t in England either.

He gave the Bundesliga a go, managing former European champions Hamburger SV. Hamburg finished a respectable fifth in the 2008-2009 table and also reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup. Unfortunately, they were dumped out of that competition by northern rivals SV Werder Bremen. He wouldn’t build on this impressive debut campaign though as the vacancy came up back in the Netherlands with Ajax.

He signed a three-year contract to manage the Amsterdam heavyweights in May 2009 and they broke a number of records in the 2009-2010 season. Ajax finished with a staggering goal difference of +86, scored 106 goals, won their final 14 games of the season and finished with 85 points. That normally would be good enough to win the Eredivisie title but they were beaten to the prize by just a single point. It was FC Twente who took the championship, under the guidance of Steve McClaren.

Jol would still bring some silverware to the club as they won the Dutch Cup, beating Feyenoord 6-1 across two matches. He would resign though in December 2010 after struggling at the start of the following campaign. Ajax were in fourth place when he left but would go on to win the title that season under his successor, Frank de Boer.

He would head back to London in June 2011, succeeding Mark Hughes as the new manager of Fulham.

A mixed bag at the Cottage

His first season back in the Premier League was a solid one. Fulham finished in ninth spot with 52 points, just one point off their record total, set by Roy Hodgson three seasons earlier. There was a 6-0 thrashing of west London rivals Queens Park Rangers, a league double over Liverpool FC and a creditable 2-2 draw with Manchester City, despite trailing 2-0 at one point. He did fall out though with star forward Bobby Zamora, who would eventually join Queens Park Rangers in January 2012.

2012-2013 was a step back though. Although Fulham finished in 12th spot, they finished the campaign very poorly, with just one win in their last seven matches which cost them a top half finish. Jol did bring Dimitar Berbatov into the club from Manchester United and it was his goals that kept them well clear of danger. The worry was though that a decline was beginning at Craven Cottage. Many of Fulham’s more experienced players were leaving, such as Danny Murphy and Clint Dempsey and the replacements were not as impressive.

It came to a head in 2013-2014 for the club. Fulham scrambled three league victories together before the end of November but apart from a 4-1 win away at Crystal Palace, they looked like a team bereft of ideas and on the verge of relegation. With every passing week, the manager’s burrowed look was getting bigger. After a second half collapse at Upton Park, which saw Fulham fail to register a single shot on target and lose 3-0 to West Ham United, Jol was sacked. He lost his final six matches in all competitions with the Cottagers. Fulham would finish the season as an ex-Premier League side.

He would get league glory though in the Middle East, guiding Al Ahly to the Egyptian Premier League title in 2015-2016. Unfortunately, he received threats on social media after the side’s failure to reach the African Champions League semi-finals. Fearing for his safety, he resigned from his post as manager after just six months in the role.

Martin Jol was a down-to-earth, commendable and good Premier League manager who always went down the attractive route. His record is fairly impressive too. It was unfortunate that sluggish starts to his final seasons with both Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham would prove to be his downfall.

Memorable Matches: Charlton Athletic 2-2 Fulham (December 2006)

Goalscorers: Brian McBride 13, Darren Ambrose 19, Darren Bent 45, Franck Queudrue 90

Teams:

Charlton Athletic: Scott Carson, Djimi Traore, Talal El Karkouri, Hermann Hreidarsson, Osei Sankofa, Radostin Kishishev, Matt Holland, Darren Ambrose (Bryan Hughes 74), Jerome Thomas (Dennis Rommedahl 45), Darren Bent, Marcus Bent (Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink 82)

Fulham: Antti Niemi, Franck Queudrue, Carlos Bocanegra, Philippe Christanval, Liam Rosenior, Moritz Volz (Claus Jensen 74), Michael Brown, Wayne Routledge, Tomasz Radzinski, Brian McBride, Heidar Helguson (Collins John 65)

Referee: Graham Poll, Attendance: 25,203

Charlton Athletic were experiencing a very difficult 2006. Long-time manager Alan Curbishley had elected to step aside at the end of the previous season and they were finding life after him incredibly tough. The Addicks were now onto their fourth manager of the calendar year.

Former player Alan Pardew was appointed to try and revive their fortunes. He replaced Les Reed days before Christmas. His appointment came just over a fortnight after his sacking by West Ham United. Pardew’s first match in charge of Charlton was a London derby against Fulham, who notoriously struggled away from home. Chris Coleman’s side had won just one game on the road all season.

It was the visitors’ who started the brighter and they took the lead after 13 minutes. Central defender Carlos Bocanegra was given plenty of space in the penalty area by the Charlton defenders. The American met Franck Queudrue’s free-kick and smashed a header against the crossbar via help from Scott Carson’s fingertips. Unfortunately for the home side, Brian McBride was the quickest to react and finished expertly to give Fulham the early advantage.

Pardew would have wanted a response and he got it. Just six minutes later, Charlton were back on level terms. Jerome Thomas tried his luck but miscued a volley which Antti Niemi made a meal of. Darren Ambrose pounced to equalise. His shot went in off the post.

Charlton went onto dominate the rest of the first half and took the lead right on the stroke of half-time. Carson’s long goal-kick was not dealt with by two Fulham defenders. This allowed the always alert Darren Bent to bear down on goal and finish calmly past Niemi.

The home side continued to show more attacking intent after the interval. Pardew brought on the pacey Dennis Rommedahl for Thomas and he was a constant menace throughout the second half. Niemi was forced into action when the Dane tried to score from a very acute angle.

It looked like Charlton were closing in on only a third Premier League win of the season but an appalling decision would deny Pardew a winning start. Tomasz Radzinski and Djimi Traore had a battle on the touchline and the ball went off Radzinski. However, the linesman gave Fulham a free-kick rather than Charlton a throw-in. From the set-piece, the Addicks’ failed to deal with Michael Brown’s ball into the box and Franck Queudrue smashed home a fortuitous equaliser. Charlton had been denied what would have been a deserved victory.

The result kept them seven points adrift of safety and ultimately, Pardew had too much to do. They were relegated in early May and haven’t returned to the Premier League since. Fulham only survived on the penultimate weekend with Lawrie Sanchez seeing them over the finish line after Coleman was sacked in April 2007.

Great Goals: Paul Konchesky – West Ham United vs. FULHAM (January 2009)

Paul Konchesky is a West Ham United fanatic and he got the opportunity to play for the club for two seasons, even scoring in the FA Cup ‘Gerrard Final’ of 2006.

He moved to Fulham in the summer of 2007 and whilst the left-back didn’t score many, they were often very good goals. In this London derby back at Upton Park, he tried his luck from distance and his attempt paid off.

Given acres of room on the left-hand side, Konchesky was invited to drive into the West Ham half. From around 35-yards out, he launched an unstoppable shot that flies past Robert Green into the net and drew the visitors’ level with their first meaningful attack of the match. West Ham went onto win the match 3-1 but Fulham scored the Goal of the Day by some distance.

Great Goals: David Luiz – Fulham vs. CHELSEA (April 2013)

Half-an-hour into the west London derby at Craven Cottage and the game between Fulham and Chelsea needs something special to ignite proceedings. Step forward the often much-maligned David Luiz.

The Brazilian has plenty of power in his game. This goal was all about power. Eden Hazard plays the ball across the pitch to Luiz, who isn’t closed down by Fulham defenders. Therefore, the Brazilian decides to try his luck. He catches the strike simply perfectly. The ball flies into the top corner past a helpless Mark Schwarzer, who would become Luiz’s teammate a season later.

Chelsea won the game 3-0 and ended the season with a European trophy under the interim guidance of Rafa Benitez.

Shock Results: Manchester United 1-3 Fulham (October 2003)

Goalscorers: Lee Clark 3, Diego Forlan 45, Steed Malbranque 66, Junichi Inamoto 79

Teams:

Manchester United: Tim Howard, Gary Neville, Mikael Silvestre (Quinton Fortune 45), Rio Ferdinand, John O’Shea, Eric Djemba-Djemba (David Bellion 80), Nicky Butt, Cristiano Ronaldo (Paul Scholes 69), Ryan Giggs, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Diego Forlan

Fulham: Edwin van der Sar, Moritz Volz, Jerome Bonnnissel (Martin Djetou 74), Zat Knight, Alain Goma, Lee Clark, Mark Pembridge (Junichi Inamoto 32), Sylvain Legwinski, Steed Malbranque, Louis Saha, Luis Boa Morte (Barry Hayles 86)

Referee: Mike Riley, Attendance: 67,727

Manchester United would have gone top of the Premier League table in October 2003 but they were given a rude awakening by Fulham at Old Trafford. They were on a high following a midweek UEFA Champions League success against Rangers but Chris Coleman’s team had other ideas.

Fulham took control very early on and got the lead through a defensive mistake. Mikael Silvestre conceded possession and the lively Steed Malbranque steered a low cross into the box. The experienced Lee Clark was at the right place at the right time to convert at the near post.

It was no fluke. The Cottagers’ showed no fear for the occasion and they could have extended their lead before half-time. American stopper Tim Howard had to deny the in-form Louis Saha, who would become a Manchester United player three months later. Then, Mark Pembridge, a deadline day signing from Everton smashed an effort against the crossbar.

There was little Sir Alex Ferguson could do to influence matters. He was confined to the directors’ box. An earlier misconduct incident in the season at Newcastle United meant he was serving a touchline ban. His side did find their feet and slightly undeservedly, equalised right on the stroke of half-time. Diego Forlan’s fine finish across the bows of Edwin van der Sar levelled the scores. It was the much-maligned Uruguayan’s first goal of the season.

If Ferguson was dishing out the “hairdryer” treatment during the 15-minute pause, the players were not listening. Fulham kept plugging away and they never lost belief in their abilities to pull off a shock result. Midway through the second half, they got their lead back. An opportunist strike from Malbranque saw Fulham on their way to a first victory at Old Trafford in over 30 years. The Frenchman punished a slack header from Rio Ferdinand.

United were reeling and although they responded with a John O’Shea header that whistled wide of Van der Sar’s goal, it was Fulham who deservedly struck again in the 79th minute. Popular midfielder Junichi Inamoto produced a spectacular finish from six-yards out to send Fulham fans into delirium.

This moved them upto fifth in the table and they had a fine season, despite losing Saha to Manchester United in the January transfer window. A ninth-place finish was an excellent reward in Coleman’s first full season in club management. Manchester United did spend Christmas on top of the table but ended a disappointing third and 12 points behind unbeaten Arsenal.