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BBC Five Live's Steve Wilson reports
"Fulham were in almost total control"
 real 14k

Fulham's John Collins
"I think we dominated the game."
 real 14k

Saturday, 12 August, 2000, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Fulham 2-0 Crewe
Barry Hayles
Barry Hayles broke the deadlock for Tigana's side
Jean Tigana got his managerial career at Craven Cottage off to the perfect start with an opening day victory over Crewe Alexandra.

His side were impressive throughout but it took a perfectly timed substitution from the Frenchman to break the resolve of Dario Gradi's side.

The introduction of Barry Hayles for Luis Boa Morte saw the deadlock broken on 66 minutes and Louis Saha added a second soon after to make the points safe.

Fulham dominated the first half with new signing Saha going close on three occasions inside the opening eight minutes.

Crewe keeper Jason Kearton was forced into saves from Saha after three minutes from a header, and a sixth minute shot, before the 2.1 million signing from Metz shot just wide a couple of minutes later.

Posing problems

The strike partnership of Saha and Boa Morte were certainly posing plenty of problems for the visitors' defence but it was American international Eddie Lewis who came as close to anyone to breaking the deadlock with a free-kick that was tipped over by Kearton.


That's just the start we were after. We played some good stuff. The manager is happy because all that was lacking today was the finishing touch and to be fair their goalkeeper made some good saves
  Fulham's John Collins
With John Collins and Lee Clark controlling the midfield, Crewe offered little in the first half, their only real effort coming from a Rodney Jack half volley that went over Maik Taylor's crossbar just before the break.

Both sides struggled to get into their stride after the break before the introduction of Hayles changed the home side's fortunes.

Bjarne Goldbaek provided the opportunity and there was Hayles to justify his introduction and break the deadlock on 66 minutes.

The goal inspired Fulham and the home fans didn't have to wait long for the second goal as a long ball out of defence from Chris Coleman saw Saha beat Kearton to the ball and open his Craven Cottage account on 75 minutes.

Saha was replaced soon after by Kevin Betsy but he had done enough to suggest that he and Fulham could prove a real handful in the First Division this season.


Fulham: Taylor, Finnan, Brevett, Melville, Coleman, Clark, J. Collins, Goldbaek, Saha, Boa Morte, Lewis. Subs: Hahnemann, Fernandes, Betsy, Hayles, W. Collins.

Crewe: Kearton, Wright, S. Smith, Macauley, Sodje, Street, Lunt, Sorvel, Jack, Rivers, Little. Subs: Bankole, Tait, Hulse, Foster, Collins.

Referee: R Styles (Waterlooville).

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