Fulham 1 Sheffield United 0

Last updated : 26 August 2006 By Footymad Previewer
Fulham recorded their first win of the season thanks to a Jimmy Bullard free-kick against lowly Sheffield United.

Chris Coleman's side controlled this game from the start and never looked likely losers.

Sheffield United however, need to produce a better showing than this if they are to remain in the top flight come the end of the season.

It was Bullard who nearly handed Fulham the lead in the eighth minute when his curling shot from the edge of the area looked goal bound. But he was denied what looked a certain goal by an excellent save from Paddy Kenny who was a full stretch.

Fulham continued to press forward and Sheffield United were limited to a hopeless free kick by David Unsworth which ballooned over the bar on 12 minutes.

The former Everton centre-back's wayward effort was the best it got for United in the opening half as Fulham ran rampant.

Bullard was again the creative drive behind their attacking prowess. His second effort of the game came in the 18th minute when his long shot sailed narrowly wide.

Then, four minutes later he was at it again, this time again he was slightly off target. Coleman's side came even closer to breaking the deadlock when Collins John was denied the opener by the width of a lick of paint.

The 20-year-old Dutchman had been preferred to Heidar Helguson in the starting line-up and he nearly repaid Coleman's decision when he found space in the area only to slam his shot against the post.

But Fulham's persistence finally paid off when Bullard scored his first goal for the club since his arrival from Wigan this summer.

The midfielder curled home his free-kick straight into the top left corner leaving Paddy Kenny rooted to the spot after Chris Morgan had fouled Brian McBride.

After the restart Fulham started with the same vigour with which they had ended the first half by taking the game to Sheffield United. But they found a more resilient United side with manager Neil Warnock's half-time team talk still ringing in their ears.

If Fulham thought this was now going to be a walkover then they were soon to find otherwise as United dug deep. The hard-working Chris Armstrong and Michael Tonge chased every ball in midfield hoping to claw a way back into the game.

At the heart of their defence was the unusual figure of Phil Jagielka who proved just why he is adored by the Sheffield United fans with a workman-like showing.

But the cracks in the United armour had already been exposed and Fulham's pace up front was again causing more problems for Warnock's men.
John nearly caught them napping on the hour mark when he latched on to a weighted through ball but fortunately for United the ball skidded away to safety.

Second half substitute Tomasz Radzinski then should have doubled Fulham's lead. The Canadian surged forward but after deliberating too long his pass was hurried.

The ball fell kindly for Bullard but his blistering strike hit the post before rebounding for McBride, whose shot was saved by Kenny.

McBride then dragged his shot wide at the death as Fulham were left wondering how they had not won by a greater margin.