Portsmouth 4 Fulham 3

Last updated : 30 August 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Portsmouth recorded their first win of the season in a pulsating match of seven goals and enough incidents to have filled an entire season.

The home side roared into a three-goal lead during a ten-minute spell midway through the first half, but Fulham made a spirited response and were the stronger side at the finish as they went in search of an equaliser.

Pompey were ahead in the 19th minute when Eyal Berkovic smashed in a right-foot shot from the edge of the area at the start of a hectic spell of goalscoring.

In the 21st minute Ricardo Fuller, making his debut for Pompey, was tripped in the box by Luis Boa Morte and Yakubu Ayegbeni stepped up to score with the spot-kick.

Portsmouth looked to have put the match out of reach in the 28th minute when Yakubu beat Edwin Van der Sar with a left-foot shot, following Fuller's flick-on.

But Fulham had already posed problems for the Portsmouth defence and Shaka Hislop had already made two important saves from Tomasz Radzinski, when the Cottagers pulled a goal back in the 39th minute.

Andy Cole scored his third goal of the season with a firm header across the keeper after Boa Morte had found him with a left-wing cross.

Fulham scored a second two minutes later when Boa Morte ran on to a pass from Cole to score with a low shot and to set up a great second half.

Hislop kept Portsmouth ahead in the game with an important stop with his legs from Sylvain Legwinski, but the turning point came in the 70th minute.

Cole looked set to score with a close-range header but the keeper somehow pushed his effort over the bar one-handed.

Fulham were still cursing their luck when, a minute later, Yakubu found himself unmarked to turn in a pass from Berkovic after Fulham had failed to clear.

Still the Cottagers were not beaten and in the 75th minute Carlos Bocanegra headed in at the far post to give Fulham real hope of snatching a draw.

But it was Portsmouth who went nearest to scoring again with Van der Sar making an important save with his legs from Yakubu as Pompey broke with pace and purpose.

Both teams got an ovation at the end of a superb match and Fulham were left to regret that crazy spell in the first half when everything went wrong.

In the second half Fulham defender Moritz Volz fell into the crowd after a Fuller tackle and there were reports of a scuffle between the full-back and a Pompey fan as he attempted to regain his feet.

Volz was able to resume later after treatment although stewards were called to restore peace.