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BBC Sport's Ron Jones
"Fulham outclassed a team that showed great spirit"
 real 14k

Tranmere's Stuart Barlow
"You can't give class sides a two goal start"
 real 14k

Friday, 30 March, 2001, 21:37 GMT 22:37 UK
Slick Fulham topple Tranmere
Louis Saha grabbed two for Fulham
Louis Saha grabbed two for Fulham
Tranmere Rovers 1-4 Fulham

Fulham continued their march towards the Premiership with a resounding victory at Prenton Park which leaves Tranmere rock bottom of Division One.

It was the Londoners 12th away league win of the season to equal the club record and they are now 17 points clear at the top of the table.

Tranmere, for whom it was a seventh successive game without a win, huffed and puffed, but enjoyed little fortune while Fulham put on another display of slick passing and movement.

Louis Saha raised his tally for the season to 26 with a third-minute strike.

Keeper Maik Taylor found Andrejs Stolcers at the half-way line with an accurate throw and he crossed to Saha, who stepped outside on-loan defender Jeff Kenna and netted with a left-foot shot into the right-hand corner.

At the other end, impressive midfielder Jason Koumas, who worked tirelessly all night, saw his shot blocked by Andy Melville after a fine solo run.

Rovers' best chance came on 27 minutes, but Paul Rideout headed just over from Kenna's cross.

Lead doubled

It proved a costly miss as Fulham doubled their lead a minute later after Simon Osborn lost possession and Lee Clark pounced on the ball to find Hayles, who netted with a fine rising left-foot shot from 12 yards.

Tranmere should have reduced the margin in first-half injury time, but Mickey Mellon blasted across the face of the goal when put clear by Wayne Allison.

Substitutes Stuart Barlow and Seyni N'Diaye made an impact after the break for the Merseysiders, but a tremendous rally brought no reward as Fulham held firm.

The visitors distanced themselves with a third goal on 65 minutes, Clark exchanging passes with Hayles and then bursting forward to plant a right-foot shot past Murphy from 18 yards.

Clark missed a sitter and Murphy made fine stops from Stolcers and Hayles, but it was 4-0 on 83 minutes with Saha heading in from a cross by Kit Symons.

Osborn grabbed a consolation for Tranmere in the last minute after Fulham's only mistake in defence.

Links to more Eng Div 1 stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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