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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 January, 2005, 17:57 GMT
Fulham 1-0 West Brom
Fulham's Papa Bouba Diop (left) tries to get past West Brom's Kevin Campbell
Papa Bouba Diop broke West Bromwich Albion's hearts as his last-minute winner gave Fulham three points.

It was rough justice on the visitors, who had created the better chances in a scrappy match short on quality.

Debutant Kevin Campbell forced a fine save from Fulham keeper Edwin van der Sar as he broke clear, and Rob Earnshaw also had a close-range shot saved.

A Campbell deflection almost gave West Brom a late winner, but Diop had the final say with his winning header.

His goal means the Baggies are still winless under manager Bryan Robson, and while the former England hero can take comfort from his side's display, he will know defeat leaves them in desperate relegation trouble.

The match had begun so promisingly for West Brom, with Earnshaw having an opportunity as early as the second minute, although he sliced badly wide after Campbell's fine pass.

Better work from Earnshaw saw the Welshman fashion an opening after nine minutes, but Van der Sar was equal to the shot.

Fulham began to threaten, and Steed Malbranque forced a good save from Russell Hoult with a right-foot drive from the edge of the box.

Yet, Zat Knight almost gifted the visitors the lead 21 minutes into the match, as his attempt to chest the ball safely back to Van der Sar fell woefully short, and the keeper had to react sharply to deny Earnshaw.

Ronnie Wallwork's shot then caused further consternation for Fulham as it was parried by Van der Sar and Earnshaw was only just unable to convert.

The Baggies dominance continued, and Van der Sar was again in action on 28 minutes, saving well from debutant Campbell after the former Everton man latched on to a long ball.

Yet West Brom's positive first half display was almost undone in the closing stages as Luis Boa Morte found himself clear and produced a powerful shot which was parried by Hoult.

Hoult then reacted well to deny Collins John as he broke forward and Fulham ended the half on the offensive.

But the Baggies began the second half as they did the first, and Zoltan Gera produced a fabulous cross from the right which caused all kinds of trouble in the Fulham box.

Still the chances came and Gera's perceptive through ball found Earnshaw who was unable to finish after Van der Sar forced him wide.

The away fans were beginning to wonder if Fulham would make West Brom pay for their wastefulness, and they were thankful that Boa Morte's shot on 61 minutes flew just over.

Play became scrappy as both sides looked to make sure they avoided defeat, and a bad challenge by Carlos Bocanegra on Gera - which earned the American a yellow card - summed up the lack of fluency.

Yet West Brom almost snatched a goal with four minutes remaining, Wallwork's powerful drive deflecting off the unaware Campbell and falling inches wide.

But there was still time for Diop to convert Mark Pembridge's corner and send Albion into despair.


Fulham: Van der Sar, Volz, Knight, Rehman, Bocanegra,Malbranque (Clark 22), Pembridge, Diop, Boa Morte, Radzinski,John (McBride 79).
Subs Not Used: Legwinski, Crossley, Rosenior.

Booked: Boa Morte, Bocanegra, Clark.

Goals: Diop 90.

West Brom: Hoult, Albrechtsen, Purse, Clement, Robinson,Greening, Johnson (Scimeca 70), Wallwork, Gera, Campbell,Earnshaw.Subs Not Used: Koumas, Horsfield, Kanu, Kuszczak.

Booked: Greening.

Att: 16,180.

Ref: P Walton (Northamptonshire).




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: West Bromwich Albion manager Bryan Robson


Interview: Fulham manager Chris Coleman


Interview: Fulham striker Luis Boa Morte




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