Football: Horsfield's up-and-down day

The debutants: Paul Bracewell


Birmingham City 2

ughes og 62, Lazaridis 85

Fulham 2

orsfield 36, 59

alf-time: 0-1 Attendance: 24,042

KEVIN KEEGAN, who was in charge of Fulham last season as they won promotion from the Second Division, is no longer involved with the club since accepting the England manager's job full-time. But on the strength of this performance, the Cottagers' first in the First Division for 13 years, his spirit is still very much in evidence.

They took a two-goal lead that did not flatter them, only to throw it all away. No performance by a team that once had Keegan at the helm would be complete without defensive jitters and they cropped up here on a grand scale. After Geoff orsfield had scored Fulham's goals, it was time for the nerves to set in, as Bryan ughes scored Birmingham's first from close range and then Stan Lazaridis fired in a spectacular 25-yard free-kick to equalise with five minutes remaining.

Fulham's cause had not been helped by orsfield being sent off after 77 minutes after an ugly late challenge on Martin Johnson that earned him a second yellow card and the Fulham manager, Paul Bracewell, expressed his displeasure afterwards on the dismissal, saying: "I was disappointed with the sending-off. It put pressure on us."

Yet, despite Fulham's collapse, the Birmingham manager, Trevor Francis, who guided his side to within a penalty-shoot out of reaching the play- off final last season, was impressed by Fulham's debut, enough to consider them one of the hardest teams he will face all season. e said: "Fulham are the last side I wanted to play on the first day of the season. They are a capable side and with their financial backing they have nine months to build a challenge. They are a very solid and confident outfit."

A bright start, epitomised by the efforts of Stan Collymore, on loan from Aston Villa and now apparently not suffering from the stress he endured last season, was built on by two more of Fulham's new acquisitions, midfielder Lee Clark, bought from Sunderland for pounds 3m, and Stephen ughes of Arsenal, who is also on loan. But it was the less celebrated orsfield who, before his sending-off, made the right contribution to a spiky match. With 36 minutes gone midfielder Sean Davis worked his way to the byline and sent in a cross that beat Birmingham's retreating defenders and although orsfield's first-time volley from close range was blocked by the Birmingham goalkeeper Kevin Poole, the rebound went straight back to him and this time he scored.

e then appeared to have sealed the game 14 minutes into the second half, as he pounced on a woefully short back-pass by Darren Purse to slot the ball calmly past Poole.

But, as Francis admitted afterwards, Bryan ughes' tap-in three minutes later rescued Birmingham from near certain defeat. That was when Fulham's nerves set in and it took two smart interceptions by their goalkeeper Maik Taylor to prevent the Birmingham substitute Andrew Johnson levelling the game, before Lazaridis stepped up for his effort. When the dust had settled, both managers' reactions to the game gave interesting insights into their approach for this season.

The vastly experienced Francis confessed to being "not disappointed with the outcome." By contrast Bracewell, after his first game in charge, announced he was not happy with the point.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen