Fulham 0 Birmingham City 0

Last updated : 13 August 2005 By Footymad Previewer
A disappointing clash at a rain swept Craven Cottage ended goalless though both sides will just be glad to get a point on the board.

Having been linked strongly with Newcastle in the summer, Luis Boa Morte was given the captain's armband by Chris Coleman and the Portuguese winger looked to add some impetus into the home side's game.

Emile Heskey was causing Fulham's defence problems early on with his aerial strength and having forced Zat Knight into conceding a foul, had an early chance to test out Fulham's new keeper, Tony Warner, though Jermaine Pennant failed to test him from the resulting free-kick.

Claus Jensen then played in Tomasz Radzinski though his shot was superbly blocked by Jamie Clapham, then Boa Morte did likewise for Brian McBride though he horribly miscued his shot.

After that early flurry of action, the game lacked any real quality with only several strong challenges keeping the crowd on their toes.

With 45 mnutes on the clock, Fulham created the best chance of the match, when a lightening quick move saw Steed Malbranque carry the ball half the length of the field.

Advancing on the Birmingham box, he laid the bal into McBride, who in turn found Boa Morte, and although his first touch allowed Maik Taylor to block the ball, he had enough time to get on to the rebound and saw his second effort crash back off the bar.

The visitors carved out their first clear cut chance on the hour when Julian Gray embarked on a run greatly assisted by untimely slips from Malbranque and Knight, though finding himself bearing down on goal with only Warner to beat, lifted it over the keeper, but also just past the far post.

Still to force Taylor into a meaningful save, McBride did find the net, heading in Boa Morte's superb cross, through his celebrations were cut short by the linesman's flag.

Fulham's best chance of scoring seemed to rest with set-pieces, though Jensen fired two efforts straight at Taylor.

Birmingham were inches away from taking the lead in a farcical manner, when Moritz Volz nearly headed in Pennant's cross, before Boa Morte was forced to head off his own line from Matthew Upson.

In the closing stages, Fulham saw Collins John and Malbranque have a couple of attempts on goal, though the game was set to finish goalless.

Man of the Match: Luis Boa Morte – The Fulham skipper did as much as anyone to try and break the deadlock, with his display sure to re-ignite interest from Newcastle United.