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  Sunday, 10 March, 2002, 20:25 GMT
Marlet breaks Baggies' hearts
Steve Marlet joined Fulham from Lyon for 11m last summer
Fulham last reached the FA Cup Final in 1975
West Brom 0-1 Fulham
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Fulham reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time in 27 years after successfully negotiating their way past a tricky tie against West Bromwich Albion.

Roared on by a passionate Hawthorns crowd, West Brom fiercely contested every ball and put together some incisive attacking moves, but were ultimately undone by a slick piece of finishing by Steve Marlet.


It's a great opportunity now to reach the final
Fulham captain John Collins

The Frenchman, who had had a goal disallowed in the first half, headed home a Steed Malbranque free-kick in the 47th minute.

West Brom tried valiantly to save the game, but will now have to turn their attentions to cementing their play-off place in the First Division.

Initially Gary Megson's side successfully disrupted Fulham's supply lines between midfield and their two strikers Marlet and Louis Saha.

That left Fulham reliant on set pieces and it was from one of those in the 18th minute that Marlet thumped the ball home, only to be ruled marginally offside.

  Marvellous Marlet:
18 mins: A Steve Marlet strike is disallowed for offside - television replays show he was onside
47 mins: Marlet sends Fulham into the FA Cup semi-finals with a powerful header

Within two minutes of the restart, however, Marlet had given Fulham the lead and this time there was no question mark over the validity of his goal.

The former Lyon striker was the first to reach Malbranque's precisely delivered free-kick and Marlet powered his header past Russell Hoult.

The West Brom keeper had a fine game and three times denied Saha with instinctive saves.

In particular Saha's first effort - a low powerful volley from a Luis Boa Morte cross that seemed destined for the net - until Hoult somehow managed to divert the ball away with his feet.

Luis Boa Morte challenges Adam Chambers
Boa Morte should have doubled Fulham's lead

Boa Morte should have doubled Fulham's advantage soon after Marlet's goal, but he inexplicably skied his shot over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

West Brom's primary point of attack was down the right with their Slovakian international Igor Balis proving a willing outlet.

Likewise Danny Dichio worked tirelessly and it was his pass that sent James Dobie clear early on.


If you can't defend set pieces you are going to give yourself problems
West Brom manager Gary Megson

But the striker spoiled his good work by scuffing his shot and the ball trickled harmlessly to Edwin van der Sar.

Like Fulham, West Brom also threatened from set-pieces, primarily from corners, which were swung in by the left foot of Neil Clement.

From one such delivery Clement picked out Dichio and his downward header beat Van der Sar but was headed to safety by John Collins on the line.


West Brom: Hoult, Sigurdsson, Moore, Gilchrist, Balis, Adam Chambers (Taylor 54), McInnes, Johnson, Clement, Dobie (Fox 82), Dichio. Subs Not Used: Adamson, Butler, Jordao.

Fulham: Van der Sar, Finnan, Melville, Goma, Brevett, Boa Morte (Ouaddou 72), Collins, Legwinski, Malbranque (Hayles 85), Marlet, Saha (Goldbaek 85). Subs Not Used: Taylor, Harley.

Attendance: 24,811.

Referee: N Barry (Scunthorpe).

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Dave Woods
"A full-blooded cup tie played out in a deafening atmosphere"
Fulham's Andy Melville
"We're going to enjoy the moment"
Links to more FA Cup stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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