Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Sunday August 22 2010
In a pulsating clash at Craven Cottage, Fulham shared the spoils in a four goal thriller with Manchester United.
For the fixture Mark Hughes was able to call upon the services of Paul Konchesky again with Stephen Kelly dropping down. David Stockdale continued in goal with want-away keeper Mark Schwarzer having failed a fitness test. Clint Dempsey also came into the starting eleven with Zoltan Gera dropping to the bench. Also on the bench were supposed Blackburn target Jonathan Greening and the new £5 million signing Moussa Dembele.
The opposition were without Wayne Rooney, who didn`t travel south with Javier Hernandez deputising. On the bench for United was Chris Smalling, sold to the Old Trafford outfit last January but loaned back to us for the remainder of the season.
United got the action underway and carved out the first chance with nine minutes played when Park saw his shot deflected for a corner. The corner kick was eventually cleared but United were pushing Fulham back and Stockdale was forced to make a spectacular save from a Berbatov effort. Unfortunately, the resulting corner led to the opening goal of the half, the ball, after being fed into the area was laid back for Scholes to rifle a low shot past Stockdale from twenty-five yards out.
Fulham responded well to that 12th minute shock when a Zamora head down saw Davies fire just over. As the game switched quickly from end to end Hernandez fired wide from just outside the area. Dempsey then saw a low, long range shot easily collected by Van der Sar before Stockdale again had to save smartly from the dangerous looking Berbatov.
The game continued to be played at a fast pace and Zamora saw a header go wide from a Konchesky cross before Stockdale once again saved smartly from Berbatov. Just past the half hour mark Fulham had a glorious chance to equalise but Van der Sar saved twice from Etuhu. The first save being a block and the second a finger tip save to thwart us.
Fulham had responded well to going behind and after Vidic conceded a soft corner Etuhu headed over before, just before half time, Dempsey fired a shot over the bar.
Fulham got the action underway and what a second half it was to turn out to be.
Hughes blocked a shot from Scholes early on before Fulham got on the attack with a Davies shot being blocked by Evans. From the resulting corner, the ball was eventually worked back in and a Hughes header flashed wide. Zamora was fouled by Scholes just outside the area but Konchesky`s free kick was disappointing and slammed into the wall.
Just before the hour mark, Fulham drew level when Duff skipped past Evra on the touchline and fed Zamora, without looking the striker fed the ball into the danger area an there was Davies to smash home the equaliser. United responded with Hernandez drifting a shot wide before our new signing, Dembele, was introduced.
Fulham should have had a penalty when Vidic clearly pulled Demble`s shirt but the referee waved play on. Stockdale was then forced to make two saves from Berbatov. The second fro a shot but the first looked better as a header from the Bulgarian, took a deflection off Scholes. Murphy thought he`d curled a shot, from distance past Van der Sar but the keeper got his hand to it.
Nani, on for Park, then saw his free kick hit the roof of the net before, with about ten minutes left, United forced three corners in quick succession. Unfortunately the third saw the ball hit the leg of Hangeland and go in for an own goal. Two minutes later United were gifted a penalty when the ball hit Duff on the hand after it had deflected off his foot as he tried to clear it. Nani, with the chance to win it for United, saw Stockdale guess correctly to push his shot away.
With time running out Fulham won a corner and when the ball was swung over there was Hangeland to power a header, low down, past Van der Sar. With four minutes of added time announced, neither side could break the deadlock and the honours were shared.
Vital Fulham on:
Vital Fulham on:
Date:Sunday August 22 2010
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