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Steed Malbranque, Luis Boa Morte and Brian McBride were all on target as Fulham concluded their pre-season programme with a comfortable win over Greek side Panionios.

Injuries to both Mark Crossley and Jaroslav Drobny meant young Portuguese goalkeeper, Ricardo Batista, was giving his first taste of life between the sticks at Craven Cottage – although he was largely untested during the encounter.

With the new season fast approaching, the squad’s punishing physical regime has tapered off somewhat and Fulham’s fresh legs certainly helped give them the upper hand in plenty of exchanges throughout the match.

The Whites came close to opening the scoring on 9 minutes when Tomasz Radzinski was put through on goal but saw his powerful shot well saved by Vaniak. The rebound fell to Brain McBride who lashed his effort wide.

However, Vaniak was picking the ball out of the net just four minutes later. Luis Boa Morte made space for himself inside the area and squared the ball to Malbranque who touched home from short range at the near post.

Fulham doubled their advantage on 19 minutes after a spell of persistent pressure resulted in the Whites winning a dangerous free kick to the right of the Panionios penalty area. Claus Jensen’s drifted kick evaded Zat Knight but was only cleared as far as Boa Morte who had time to adjust his feet and poke the ball past Vaniak.

Sitting on a two-goal cushion, Fulham were able to play with a large degree of freedom and the subsequent passages of play saw the Whites dominate possession whilst playing attractive, penetrating football. On 38 minutes a wonderful piece of pass and move play that involved most of the Fulham side almost resulted in the third goal of the match – only a last ditch clearance prevented Moritz Volz’s slotted cross finding his man.

With the first half drawing to a close, the Whites were still in search of that elusive third goal and Radzinski almost provided it in spectacular fashion on 43 minutes. The Canadian international expertly chested a long ball away from his marker before bending a powerful shot goalwards, only a brilliant full-stretch save from Vaniak prevented the goal.

Brain McBride wasted little time getting in on the goalscoring act just three minutes into the second half. Tomasz Radzinski provided the perfect cross from the right and the US international applied a trademark header.

The visitors pulled a goal back on the hour mark through Mario Breska. The Fulham defence failed to keep a strong line and Breska was able to take advantage, run through on goal and clip the ball over the advancing Batista.

On 63 minutes Dimitriis Nalitzis took objection to a firm challenge on a team mate from Boa Morte and squared up to the Portuguese winger after the Fulham player had sportingly knocked the ball out of play. A mass confrontation ensued which stopped play for several minutes.

The pace of the game slowed following a spate of substitutions as the Whites played out the remaining minutes.

Fulham Batista, Volz (71,Rosenior), N. Jensen, Goma, Knight(c), Legwinski (65,Rehman), Malbranque (75,Elrich), C. Jansen (75,Pratley), McBride (65,John), Radzinski (65,Helguson), Boa Morte (71,Timlin)
Subs Unused: Davidson.

Goals: Malbranque 12, Boa Morte 19, McBride 46.

Panionios Vaniak, Kontodimos, Galanopolos (55,Lazaridis), Nalitzis, Oravec (45,Gundoulakis), Kiassos (45, Navas), Makos, Fernandez, Exouzidis, Bresca, Gianopoulos
Subs Unused: Jahic, Sheppard

Goals: Breska 60