Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday February 24 2007
Smash and Grab! Daylight Robbery! However you describe it, Fulham didn`t deserve to lose against United.
The fact that the winning goal came so close to the end made the pain even harder to live with. Thankfully, there were a lot of goods points to take away from the game for Fulham.
After the heavy defeat to Spurs last weekend, Coleman made three changes the most notable of these being the return of Rosenior and the decision to drop Zat Knight from the squad.
Fulham started very brightly pushing United back and early action saw Smertin fire wide and Davies volley a shot wide. Diop, pushing forward from midfield also saw a low, long range shot saved.
The first action involving United near the Fulham area saw Evre win a corner off Volz but Vidic could only direct his header wide. With seventeen minutes played, Fulham deservedly took the lead.
A ball out of defence was flicked on and with Davies looking to capitalise on some indecision in the United defence, was only foiled by the out-rushing Van der Sar. Sadly, for the ex-Fulham keeper, the ball rolled to McBride who calmy stroked it towards the empty net. The ball hit the inside of the post and evaded Ferdinand on the line to give Fulham the lead.
McBride had a chance to double the lead but his header from a corner went over the bar. United started to push forward and Ronaldo flashed a shot wide from a good position.
Unfortunately, United were soon to equalise. With twenty-eight minutes played, Volz made a hash of a clearance and Rooney raced behind the home defence. The striker then delivered a deep cross that Giggs mishit but still managed to beat the keeper at the far post.
Fulham tried to respond and McBride hit the side netting with a header before Rooney saw a shot saved at the other end. Fulham could have scored a second but Bocanegra`s shot bobbled kindly to Van der Sar before United launched a swift counter-attack that saw Giggs flash a ball across the goal, thankfully it evaded all the on-rushing forwards.
United had now gained the upper hand and Evre somehow found himself in space but shot meekly wide with the goal at his mercy. The half time break probably came at just about the right time for Chris Coleman to bolster his troops with a half time talk.
Whatever, Coleman said at half time appeared to have worked as Fulham once again took the game to United. Davies engineered a great chance that produced a world class save from Van der Sar before Radzinski should have scored.
The chance came after Brown delivered a beautiful cross and with the goal at his mercy Radzinski somehow directed his header onto the bar. Minutes later the same player was put through but once again couldn`t muster the sort of shot that would give Fulham the lead.
United were creating very few chances, Ronaldo saw a shot saved before once again Fulham pushed forward with McBride having two efforts. The first, a diving header, was saved and the second, a low shot, was also saved.
Coleman introudced Dempsey and John in an order to keep the momentum going but it was to be United that were to up the pressure. Ronaldo started to become influential having two shots that were deflected for corners before Giggs drilled a shot into the side-netting.
With time running out the feeling that United were going to snatch it become stronger and when Ronaldo skipped past two challenges and saw his shot deflected by Christanval past Lastuvka, the robbery was completed.
Why him? Why him? I keep asking myself!
Date:Saturday February 24 2007
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