Fulham continued their unbeaten start to the season with a straightforward victory over Crewe Alexandra at Craven Cottage this afternoon. Strikes Geoff Horsfield and Barry Hayles put Paul Bracewell’s side two goals to the good before Kit Symons added a third nine minutes before half-time.

The home side came racing out of the traps with Hayles hammering the woodwork with a fierce shot inside the first minute. It was little surprise that a limited Crewe outfit only lasted nine minutes without conceding in the face of Fulham’s early bombardment. Hayles and Horsfield linked up superbly on the edge of the area. The former Bristol Rovers forward produced a lovely lay-off for Horsfield, who fired into the bottom corner to give the Whites the lead.

Hayles doubled the lead seven minutes later raising majestically at the back post to direct a header over the stranded Jason Kearton in the Crewe goal following a fine cross from Lee Clark. Bracewell’s boys were so comfortable that ball-playing centre back Chris Coleman spent much of the time orchestrating attacks from central midfield. The popular skipper might have added his name to the scoresheet after going close three times in the space of ten minutes, whilst his compatriot Andy Melville was thwarted by a superb reaction save from Kearton.

Fulham’s third arrived from a set play when Symons headed home a perfect corner from Steve Hayward and, with the three points secure, the hosts rather took their foot off the gas in the second half. Substitute Gus Uhlenbeek nearly made it four with a venomous drive from twenty yards that only just cleared the crossbar after a flowing move, whilst Stan Collymore sauntered past past three Crewe defenders only to shoot tamely at Kearton.

This was the perfect way for Fulham to round off a superb September, with Bracewell seemingly a shoe-in for manager of the month having presided over five wins from five fixtures with the Whites scoring twelve goals and conceding none. After a difficult start following promotion from the Second Division, the new manager appears to have found his feet.

FULHAM (5-3-2): Taylor; Finnan (Uhlenbeek 54), Brevett, Coleman, Symons, Melville; Hayward (Davis 86), Trollope, Clark; Horsfield, Hayles (Collymore 65). Subs (not used): Hahnemann, Morgan.

BOOKED: Brevett.

GOALS: Horsfield (9), Hayles (16), Symons (36).

CREWE ALEXANDRA (4-4-2): Kearton; S. Smith, Foran, Lightfoot, Wright; Lunt (Critchley 81), Sorvel, Charnock (P. Smith 68), Rivers; Cramb (Collins 68), Little. Subs (not used): Welsby, Unsworth.

REFEREE: Bill Jordan (Tring).