Football: Peschisolido makes his point

Fulham 1 Bolton Wanderers 1
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THE FIRST DIVISION is not quite the doddle that Fulham imagined it might be after beginning the season with a swaggering run of 15 matches unbeaten. Tested by a crop of injuries, they have fallen short and have now won only once in nine games.

Some of their followers, more accustomed to the success of the past three seasons than the old happy-go-lucky days, are not taking it well. The crowd of 9,642 was much the smallest of the season, and at the final whistle, there was an altercation between a group that had been handing out some verbal abuse and others who felt the term "supporter" should be taken more literally.

Early grumbles, brought about by a Bolton goal in the first quarter of an hour, were stilled as Fulham equalised within two minutes and went on to dominate until half-time. They lost their way thereafter and hardly made a chance for the rest of the game, even when the strikers Danny Cadamarteri, Karlheinz Riedle and Barry Hayles were thrown on in a triple substitution. "We showed a lot of character and created lots of chances, we just need a bit of luck," Paul Bracewell, the Fulham manager, said.

"I was shaking," said the Bolton manager, Sam Allardyce, as he looked at the cavalry lining up on the touchline. But with only nine minutes remaining, his opposite number had left the charge too late to have any effect, and Allardyce was able to maintain his record of only one defeat since leaving Notts County.

Bolton's goal had a Nordic stamp on it, which is often the case, as more than half their side hails from those parts. The Swede Claus Jensen, impressive in midfield, sent a pass out to the left for Iceland's Eidur Gudjohnsen, who came inside and buried a fierce shot behind Maik Taylor.

The home team needed a quick response and got it when Mike Whitlow's faulty clearance was charged down, allowing Paul Peschisolido to run at goal. He stumbled after a challenge from the Bolton goalkeeper, Jussi Jaaskelainen, and the referee awarded a penalty on his assistant's say- so. Peschisolido fired the spot-kick firmly into a corner of the net. Before half-time Fulham's Lee Clark hit a post but his side never came as close again.

Fulham (3-5-2): Taylor; Melville, Coleman, Symon; Uhlenbeek (Cadamarteri, 81), Clark (Hayles, 81), Davis, Hayward, Brevett; Horsfield, Peschisolido (Riedle, 81). Substitutes not used: Hahnemann (gk), Morgan.

Bolton (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Phillips (Holden, 57), Bergsson, Fish, Whitlow; Johansen (O'Kane, 34), Aljofree, Jensen, Gardner; Hansen (Taylor, 75), Gudjohnsen. Substitutes not used: Glennon (gk), Strong.

Referee: A Butler (Sutton-in-Ashfield).