Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Monday, 1 January 2007, 17:01 GMT
Fulham 0-0 Watford
By Dan Warren

Michael Brown [left] and Tommy Smith challenge for the ball
Michael Brown [left] and Tommy Smith challenge for the ball
Watford battled hard to earn a point in a match marred by a serious-looking injury to Fulham keeper Antti Niemi.

Niemi landed on his head after racing from his area to clear the ball after 53 minutes, and was stretchered off.

Heidar Helguson had a first-half strike incorrectly ruled out for offside as Fulham dominated the opening period.

After the break, Alhassan Bangura and Darius Henderson hit the post for Watford, who had Tamas Priskin sent off late on for a second booking.

606 DEBATE: Give your thoughts on this match

Fulham looked like scoring a hatful in the opening period and despite the disappointment of seeing Helguson's early header correctly ruled out for offside, Fulham seemed certain to find a way through as they fashioned a host of chances.

Tomasz Radzinski had one of the best, lobbing wide with Hornets' keeper Ben Foster beaten.

But Helguson was the unluckiest of all on 34 minutes, when he latched on to a loose ball to fire home - only to be incorrectly denied for offside by the linesman's flag.

Tommy Smith squandered Watford's best opportunity by heading over the bar from close range after good work from the lively Anthony McNamee.

McNamee was involved in Watford's first meaningful attack after the interval, which almost yielded the visitors only their fifth away goal in the league this season.

The youngster's cross eluded the Fulham defence and Bangura's well-judged volley rebounded back off the post with Niemi beaten.

But the Finnish goalkeeper was stretchered off shortly afterwards after an horrendous incident in which he landed on his head after racing out of his area to nod the ball clear.

Play was held up for around eight minutes while Niemi received treatement.

The 34-year-old was taken to hospital and cleared of a serious injury but will have more tests during the week.

Upon the restart, Fulham regained the initiative and Helguson should have done better when a cross from the left landed at his feet in the six-yard box, but the Icelandic striker could not react quickly enough.

Both sides could have snatched victory in an eventful nine-minute injury-time period.

For Fulham, Collins John went around Ben Foster in the Watford goal, but the keeper just touched the ball wide and John could only send the ball into the side-netting.

Watford's Henderson then sent a brilliant shot crashing against the post before the visitors' Priskin was sent off for a second yellow card.

  • Fulham boss Chris Coleman:
    "Antti's got neck damage but can feel his arms and legs, so that's all right. It looks worse on the replay than it actually is.

    "He wasn't moving, he was on the ground for a long time and that's not like Antti - he's a brave lad. I was almost urging him to get up, not to play on, just so everyone knows he's OK."

  • Watford manager Adrian Boothroyd:
    "It was an appalling first half, probably the worst since I've been manager.

    "We didn't do that much better in the second half but at least we stayed in there and we hit the woodwork.

    "We went for the three points and could have won, but we could have lost. We deserved the point. There were things said that will remain private."

    Fulham: Niemi (Lastuvka 61), Rosenior, Bocanegra, Christanval, Queudrue, Routledge (Boa Morte 66), Brown, Volz, Radzinski, Helguson, McBride (John 78).
    Subs Not Used: Runstrom, Zakuani.

    Booked: Radzinski.

    Watford: Foster, Mariappa, Shittu (Mackay 34), DeMerit, Stewart, Smith (Henderson 46), Mahon, Bangura, McNamee (Francis 90), Young, Priskin.
    Subs Not Used: Lee, Doyley.

    Sent Off: Priskin (90).

    Booked: Young, Priskin.

    Att: 19,698

    Ref: S Bennett (Kent).

    Niemi cleared of serious injury
    01 Jan 07 |  Fulham
    New Year's Day football photos
    01 Jan 07 |  Football


    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

    Daily and weekly e-mails | Mobiles | Desktop Tools | News Feeds | Interactive Television | Downloads
    Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

    Help | Privacy & Cookies Policy | News sources | About the BBC | Contact us