Boro snatch opening win
Boro claim win at third attempt
By Graeme Bailey. Last Updated: 19/08/07 3:10pm
Mido: Debut goal
Middlesbrough claimed their first win of the season as they beat Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage, although the home side were seemingly robbed of a point in the final minutes.
Fulham had taken a deserved lead when Brian McBride swept home early in the first-half, although that proved his last contribution as he dislocated his knee in the process of scoring.
After the break Boro were handed a lifeline by Fulham keeper Tony Warner, as he somehow managed to palm Mido's shot into the net, which handed the Egypt international a debut goal.
With the match heading for a draw the game burst into life when Boro took the lead with just minutes remaining. Substitute Jeremie Aliadiere played a great ball into the path of Lee Cattermole - who fired home into the corner.
Then in the final minutes, Fulham were denied a clear equaliser. The ubiquitous David Healy ghosted in at the back post to slide home a cross, which Mark Schwarzer could not prevent from crossing the line, but the Boro defence played on and luckily for them so did referee Andy D'Urso.
To compound Fulham's woes, winger Hameur Bouazza was taken to hospital in the same ambulance as McBride after suffering a dislocated right shoulder.
Bouazza was involved as Boro were carved open with a minute on the clock, delivering an outswinging cross that Schwarzer punched clear a heartbeat before Alexei Smertin could connect with his header.
Healy's follow-up shot was deflected off-target by Smertin and Fulham maintained their bright start with a series of menacing corners.
An injury to referee Lee Mason held up play with fourth official D'Urso taking over.
A slick move saw Fulham take the lead in the 16th minute, with Steven Davis finding Smertin who raced to the goalline and sent the ball across the six yard box.
Healy was prevented from shooting by David Wheater's challenge but the ball continued on its path to McBride and the unmarked American striker had time to pick his spot and score - before crumpling and being carried off.
Boro should have equalised in the 31st minute when Tuncay Sanli dashed through midfield and released the onrushing Downing but his effort sailed wide with just Warner to beat.
A neat interchange between Julio Arca and Mido opened up Fulham's defence but the Egyptian marksman did not have the pace to make the most of the chance.
The second half was 10 minutes old when Mido produced the equaliser - with help from Warner.
Arca found Mido and the new signing fired a weak shot that seemed destined to bounce harmlessly into the arms of Warner, only for the keeper to deflect the ball into his own net.
Substitute Diomansy Kamara, who had replaced McBride, had the ball in the net in the 60th minute but D'Urso had spotted an elbow by Dempsey on Andrew Davies and disallowed the goal.
Aliadiere thought he had put Boro ahead but once again D'Urso intervened, ruling the Frenchman had pulled Paul Konchesky back as they raced to the ball.
Fulham should have retaken the lead but Dempsey somehow missed a near open goal, directing his shot wide after being teed up by Healy.
Boro succeeded where their opponents had failed, Aliadiere slipping a deadly pass to Cattermole who picked his spot for the winning goal.
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|5||Shots on Target||4|
|10||Shots off Target||3|
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