Boa Morte late strike maintains Fulham's flying start

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The Independent Online

A goal two minutes from time by substitute Luis Boa Morte gave Fulham a 1-0 win at Norwich City yesterday as Jean Tigana's team maintained their 100 per cent start in the First Division.

A goal two minutes from time by substitute Luis Boa Morte gave Fulham a 1-0 win at Norwich City yesterday as Jean Tigana's team maintained their 100 per cent start in the First Division.

In an often ill-tempered encounter that produced no fewer than nine yellow cards Boa Morte completed a five-man move to score the goal which keeps Fulham top of the table with 12 points from four matches and leave the Canaries with only one point from their first four games.

A goalless draw would have been a fitting reward for a plucky Norwich side but it was a touch of class from the former Scottish international John Collins that took the three points.

Collins, who had previously been ineffective, found the on-rushing Sean Davis with a delightful flick and the midfielder's precision pass left Boa Morte with the simple task of beating Andy Marshall from close range.

Norwich almost grabbing a deserved point in injury time when Craig Fleming headed just wide from a Raymond de Waard corner.

The visitors started both halves brightly and should have gone ahead in the opening five minutes of the second as Louis Saha and Barry Hayles both wasted opportunities but for much of the remainder of the game it was Norwich who were in charge and three times in a seven-minute spell midway through the first half they came close to breaking the deadlock themselves.

First Darel Russell curled a shot just over and then Chris Llewellyn screwed a shot wide. Gaetano Giallanza also failed to hit the target after keeper Maik Taylor had spilled a cross.

There were precious few clear-cut chances after that but Norwich turned in a fully committed display but they are still left waiting for their opening home goal of the campaign.

The match was always keenly contested and boiled over late in the first half when an altercation between Russell and Hayles saw virtually every player on the pitch become involved in the mass mêlée.

When peace was finally restored referee Mike Fletcher booked the two protagonists as well as Fernando Derveld who committed the original foul.

From Fulham's point of view the main thing will be the three points as the performance was not one that will live long in the memory.

The Bolton manager Sam Allardyce was in no mood for talking despite his side grabbing three points with a 1-0 victory at Tranmere.

He took his squad away from Prenton Park without the players even taking a shower and his only comment was: "I am saying nothing. I am just going."

But captain Mike Whitlow - whose 53rd-minute goal clinched the game for the Trotters - said: "I was delighted with my goal. It was great to get the win but there was no extra satisfaction because we lost to Tranmere in the Worthington Cup semi-final last season."

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