1-0 (Davies 13), 2-1 (Bouazza 48), 3-3 (Murphy 74)
1-1 (Petrov 36), 2-2 (Mpenza 50), 2-3 (Petrov 60)
- Match reports
- Sat 22 Sep 2007, 12:00AM
- Posted by Leon Collins
Pre Match news: The Blues starting line up showed two changes to the one that started the win over Villa, with Richard Dunne back in for Onuoha, and Stephen Ireland replacing Darius Vassell.
City were sporting their vivid new purple away kit, matched by quite a few of their travelling contingent of fans.
Michael Johnson had treatment after just two minutes when he got an elbow in the face from Smertin that went unpunished by referee Mark Halsey.
The hosts looked to be in with a chance two minutes later when Healy raced on to a ball over the top, but Richard Dunne was right on his shoulder to touch it back to Schmeichel.
It didn’t take long for the first goal of the game, and it came from the home side after 13 minutes. Bouazza won the ball from Johnson near his own corner flag and after a quick move all the way downfield he was crossing from the left towards Simon Davies at the near post, who nipped in to head home as both Dunne and Schmeichel converged on the former Spurs man.
The provider could have turned scorer five minutes later when he found enough space to lash a shot in from inside the area, but having more time than he realised he put his effort a long way over the bar.
Vedran Corluka’s cross from the right on 25 went all the way across the area to Martin Petrov, but the Bulgarian’s shot after taking aim flew over the corner of the post and bar.
City’s Croatian right back got to the by-line six minutes later and pulled the ball back just the wrong side of a Fulham defender with Mpenza waiting to pounce.
The Blues had looked lacklustre, but all of a sudden a goal came from out of nowhere on 36 minutes. Hamann won the ball just in front of his area and released Johnson, whose searching pass found Martin Petrov out on the left wing. The Bulgarian international cut into the box and fired the ball home through a defender’s legs and off Niemi’s left hand into the bottom corner, his first for the club since his arrival from Atletico Madrid.
Hamann chanced his arm from range a minute later, his first time shot going arrow-straight just inches wide of Niemi’s right post.
Fulham’s goalscorer was replaced after the break by Kamara, and just three minutes into the new half Lawrie Sanchez’s men had retaken the lead. Dunne gave away a free kick on the edge of the box, and Hamuer Bouazza slammed the ball inside the wall but past Schmeichel’s outstretched right hand into the net.
But City’s heads didn’t drop, and they hit back barely a minute later. Antti Niemi did well to block Petrov’s shot, but Emile Mpenza pounced to head the rebound home from a couple of yards out..
The crazy start to the second half continued when the Blues went ahead for the first time on the hour. Martin Petrov did a 1-2 with Elano, burst into the box and slotted the ball in at the near post, racing behind the goal to celebrate with the massed ranks of City fans.
There was still plenty of time and life in this game, and there was a flashpoint on 70 minutes when Richards and Dempsey clashed near the touchline. Referee Halsey calmed things down eventually and both players were shown yellow cards.
Fulham had made a pair of substitutions, and they paid off with 16 minutes left. Former Liverpool and England midfielder Danny Murphy latched onto a ball in from the left, and from inside the area he shot past Schmeichel’s left hand first time to level the scores.
And he could have taken the lead again just afterwards, putting a great chance over the bar from the edge of the box after linking with Kamara.
Sven Goran Eriksson signalled his intentions to still try and get all three points by bringing on Geovanni and Bianchi with 10 minutes left.
Stoppage time was just as frantic as normal time, with Schmeichel pouching a deflected shot, Geovanni firing over Niemi’s bar and Konchesky hauling the same player down to give away a free kick at the death. Petrov whipped it across the face of goal to no avail, and the whistle went just after to bring the curtain down on a breathless and highly entertaining evening by the Thames. The teams left the pitch to the apt strains of ‘They call it madness’ over the PA.