Argentine forward Facundo Sava grabbed a late winner as Fulham came from behind to beat Bolton Wanderers at Loftus Road this afternoon. Chris Coleman’s side turned a tight game completely on its head by scoring two goals in the space of sixty seconds, with Sava stepping off the bench to slam home the winner shortly after Sean Davis had converted Barry Hayles’ pass to cancel out an opener from Kevin Davies.
Defeat was harsh on Bolton who had been clearly the better side for much of the contest. Classy French midfielder Youri Djokaeff run the show for the visitors, who were in confident mood after putting together a six-match unbeaten run. They almost made the perfect start after just 15 seconds when Simon Charlton’s forward ball was helped on by Davies only for Edwin van der Sar to push Kevin Nolan’s effort around the post. The remainder of the first period was largely devoid of clear cut chances but Bolton played the more progressive football.
Lee Clark wasted Fulham’s best chance to lashing well over from inside the area and Djorkaeff’s snapshot was well handled by van der Sar. Japanese midfielder Junichi Inamoto couldn’t hit the target with a header from six yards and then miscued a shot woefully wide of goal when played in by Louis Saha. The second half continued in much the same pattern, with Bolton on the front foot and Sam Allardyce’s side got the reward their ambition deserved when they took the lead within eight minutes of the restart.
A long throw from Jay-Jay Okocho was flicked on by Ivan Campo and Davies reacted quickest ahead of some statuesque home defending to volley home from close range. The ex-Southampton striker might have added a second just a minute later but header Riccardo Gardner’s cross back into the ground and the ball bounced up over the crossbar. A frustrated Coleman sent on Sava for the ineffectual Inamoto just before the hour mark and the Argentine almost made an immediate impact by hitting the post with a powerful header.
Fulham pushed forward and were gradually creating more chances but the speed of their turnaround was still something of a surprise. Hayles, introduced after Saha had jarred his hip in a clash with Campo, created the equaliser sending in a cross that Davis drove home from inside the box. Just a minute later, Sava grabbed his first goal of the season after Gardner had failed to clear a loose ball and ended up presenting the substitute with a glorious chance.
Bolton had the opportunity to level matters in stoppage time but substitute Mario Jardel could only hit the inside of the post with his header – much to Allardyce’s obvious frustration.
FULHAM (4-5-1): van der Sar; Volz, Bonnissel, Knight, Melville; Davis (Djetou 81), Legwinski, Clark, Inamoto (Sava 58), Malbranque; Saha (Hayles 51). Subs (not used): Crossley, Goma.
GOALS: Davis (75), Sava (76).
BOLTON WANDERERS (4-5-1): Jaaskelainen; Hunt, Gardner, N’Gotty, Charlton; Ivan Campo, Frandsen (Giannakopoulous 81), Okocha, Djorkaeff, Nolan (Jardel 85); Davies. Subs (not used): Poole, Thome.
BOOKED: Gardner, Frandsen.
REFEREE: Andy D’Urso (Essex).