Fulham 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1

Last updated : 31 January 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Brian McBride scored on his home debut for Fulham to give them a morale-boosting derby victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

American star McBride, a £600,000 signing from Columbus Crew, bundled home the winner in a 2-1 victory at Loftus Road, much to the delight of manager Chris Coleman.

He had feared the worst when Robbie Keane scored an early penalty for the visitors, but the match turned when Fulham won a penalty of their own on the stroke of half-time and Steed Malbranque tucked it away.

The first half was not high on quality, but there were certainly plenty of chances and either end.

Sean Davis began the list by muscling past two defenders before shooting straight at Kasey Keller, but Spurs were by no means slow to react.

They forced a string of corners and almost went ahead when Keane struck from 25-yards, only to see his fierce low effort tipped on to a post by Edwin Van der Sar after 15 minutes.

Just two minutes later the visitors did take the lead from the penalty spot.

Ian Pearce, making his debut for Fulham, handled as Keane juggled with the ball in the box and then watched as Keane fired home the penalty.

Fulham worked hard to get back in the game after that, with Barry Hayles forcing a fine save out of Keller after livewire Steed Malbranque had sent him through with a neat pass.

Hayles also fired in a snapshot that fizzed wide, but Spurs got their comeuppance on the stroke of half-time when Luis Boa Morte turned and raced towards goal.

The winger has had a difficult week after being charged with improper conduct by the FA and then accusing Everton striker Duncan Ferguson of making racist comments toward him in last week's FA Cup tie at Goodison.

He was booed all afternoon by Spurs fans, but that had more to do with his Arsenal past than any feud with Ferguson. And he made the visiting supporters pay when he was tripped inside the area by Michael Brown.

Malbranque stepped up, with only seconds to go before the half-time whistle, and confidently made it 1-1.

After the break the action continued at a rate of knots, but with little real end product for either team.

Spurs came close when Helder Postiga's shot was well saved and Fulham responded by replacing lone striker Barry Hayles with recent signing McBride.

And the Ameican came mighty close to making an instant impact when Keller only just managed to prevent him lobbing Fulham ahead in the 64th minute.

That was a warning shot for Spurs, but they didn't heed it, because just two minutes later McBride had struck for real.

Davis swung over a corner that was met by Pearce's head, and although Keller kept it out of the net, McBride pounced to bundle the rebound home.

Tottenham's reaction was swift, as they took their corner total to 12 by the 70th minute and seeing a Brown effort deflected over the bar following a sweeping Keane-inspired move.

But Fulham also moved up a gear with both Boa Morte and Moritz Volz seeing shots well saved at the other end.

It was all set up for a frantic finale, but Spurs were unable to find an equaliser as the Cottagers held on to take all three points.

Man of the Match: Steed Malbranque - was at the heart of all that was good about Fulham, showing class in his passing and coolly netting from the penalty spot.