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Tuesday, 11 February, 2003, 22:59 GMT
Malbranque hat-trick sinks Charlton
Steve Marlet skips over Luke Young's challenge
Steve Marlet skips over Luke Young's challenge
Fulham 3-0 Charlton

A second-half hat-trick from Steed Malbranque booked Fulham's place in the FA Cup fifth round at the expense of Charlton.

Charlton had just about had the better of the play until Malbranque put Fulham ahead in the 59th minute.

But after the Frenchman had doubled the lead from the spot seven minutes later, Fulham took charge.

Malbranque sealed his hat-trick and victory three minutes from time with another penalty, which saw Mark Fish red-carded after pulling down Facundo Sava in the box.

We're starting to get difficult to beat now

Fulham goalkeeper Maik Taylor

With both sides seemingly destined to end the season ensconced in the middle of the Premiership, the FA Cup represented the last chance of anything to play for.

And both came out up for the game with tackles flying.

But commitment does not equal quality and though the action was lively, there was little in the way of decent chances in the first half.

Fulham's Sean Davis is tackled by Jason Euell
Fulham's Sean Davis is tackled by Jason Euell

It was Charlton who looked to have the upper hand with their midfield, led by England hopeful Scott Parker, closing down Fulham's attempt to build attacks through clever flicks and touches.

Indeed, the Addicks had the two best chances of the half but both fell to defenders.

First, some good work from Parker on the left ended with him crossing well but an unmarked Luke Young could only head straight at Maik Taylor from six yards out.

Then Jason Euell sent in a curling cross from the right which had Taylor frantically back-pedalling to palm the ball out but only into the path of Richard Rufus.

And luckily for Fulham, the Charlton defender blasted his volley over from close range.

Then minutes after half-time, Radostin Kishishev's cross found its way through a crowded defence and reached Claus Jensen coming in on the far post.

But the midfielder seemed taken by surprise and was unable to control the ball, succeeding only in poking it lamely towards Taylor.

We had a couple of great chances to go one up so I'm disappointed

Charlton manager Alan Curbishley

The match turned in a seven-minute spell in the second half.

Boa Morte broke towards the Charlton penalty area and as the Addicks' defence tried to smother his attack, the striker swept the ball across to Malbranque on the right-hand side of the box.

Malbranque coolly beat the advancing Dean Kiely with a right-footed shot into the corner.

Then in the 66th minute, Boa Morte was bundled over when trying to slip past Young and the referee awarded a penalty, which Malbranque converted.

But Charlton could have got one back immediately when Shaun Bartlett's free header was brilliantly saved by Taylor.

Sylvain Legwinski should have added another for Fulham but hit the side-netting.

But as the final whistle approached, Malbranque made no mistake from the spot as Fish wrestled Sava to the ground in the penalty area.


Fulham: Taylor, Djetou (Knight 84), Melville, Goma, Harley, Boa Morte, Malbranque (Goldbaek 87), Legwinski, Davis, Marlet, Sava.
Subs Not Used: Herrera, Inamoto, Hammond.

Charlton: Kiely, Young (Fortune 72), Rufus, Fish, Konchesky, Kishishev, Parker (Svensson 77), Jensen (Bart-Williams 72), Euell, Bartlett, Johansson.
Subs Not Used: Rachubka, Powell.

Sent Off: Fish (86).

Booked: Jensen, Young, Konchesky.

Attendance: 12,203

Referee: P Durkin (Dorset).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Conor McNamara
"Alan Curbishley can have no arguments"
Charlton boss Alan Curbishley
"The scoreline flatters them a little bit"
Fulham manager Jean Tigana
"I'm am lucky to have two top class goalkeepers"

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