Bjarne Goldbaek’s first Fulham goal ended Portsmouth’s perfect start under new manager Tony Pulis as the Whites edged an entertaining encounter at Fratton Park this afternoon.
The Danish winger’s deflected free-kick eighteen minutes from full-time was enough to earn an important win for under-pressure Fulham boss Paul Bracewell. Goldbaek, who moved across SW6 from Chelsea for £625,000 last month, was the beneficiary of a bit of fortune when his 25-yarder hit the wall and left Russell Hoult helpless but the Cottagers deserved some luck having created the clearer openings in an open game on the south coast.
The joyous celebrations with the travelling Fulham fans behind the goal showed just how much hitting the net for his new club meant to the Danish international. The visitors had to survive a concerted spell of home pressure, during which Steve Claridge had a goal disallowed, before Lee Bradbury somehow failed to hit the target when the Pompey striker was left with just Maik Taylor to beat.
PORTSMOUTH (3-5-2): Hoult; Awford (Hiley 40), Moore, Whitbread; Panopoulos (Whittingham 77), Hughes (Igoe 55), Vernazza, Thogersen; Bradbury, Claridge. Subs (not used): Knight, Nightingale.
FULHAM (5-3-2): Taylor; Finnan, Phelan, Melville, Morgan (Symons 45), Coleman; Ball, Clark, Goldbaek; Horsfield, Hayles. Subs (not used): Hahnemann, Davis, W. Collins, Hayward.
GOAL: Goldbaek (72).
REFEREE: Ken Leach (Codsall).