Brian McBride came back to haunt his old club again as Fulham registered their first win of the season by beating Everton at Craven Cottage.
The American striker, who also scored in the corresponding fixture last term, guided home the only goal of the game from a fine Moritz Volz cross just before the hour mark. Everton had completely dominated the contest until that point and their frustrating afternoon ended with Phil Neville being given his marching orders in the final minute for two bookable offences. The visitors best chance came in the closing stages when Duncan Ferguson saw a trademark header well saved by Tony Warner.
David Moyes was left wondering just how his side had lost afterwards. Some of the blame would have to go to his misfiring forwards, with Marcus Bent and Tim Cahill setting the tone early on, when they both failed to force home Kevin Kilbane’s inch-perfect cross. Fulham nearly took the lead against the run of play when David Weir diverted Papa Bouba Diop’s powerful header from a corner onto his own crossbar.
Warner made a sprawling save at the end of the first half to prevent Cahill from putting Everton ahead from close range and the visitors felt they should have had a penalty after the interval when the Australian midfielder went to ground under a challenge from Luis Boa Morte.
But it was Fulham who took the lead very much against the run of play. Volz, who had cleared bravely from Simon Davies moments earlier, was well found by Steed Malbranque on the right flank and produced a low cross that McBride turned effortlessly beyond Nigel Martyn to put the hosts ahead. The American forward was then only denied a quickfire double by the quick reactions of Joseph Yobo, whose sliding challenge was timed to perfection.
Moyes sent on Ferguson in search of an equaliser and the Scot almost delivered with his close-range header repelled brilliantly by Warner. Phil Neville’s second booking for felling former Everton forward Tomasz Radzinski rather summer up their forgettable afternoon.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Warner; Volz, N. Jensen, Knight, Bocanegra; Diop, C. Jensen, Malbranque, Boa Morte; McBride, Radzinski. Subs (not used): Batista, Rehman, Elrich, Helguson, John.
GOAL: McBride (57).
EVERTON (4-5-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Yobo, P. Neville; Davies (Vaughan 77), Arteta, Cahill, Kilbane (Ferguson 75), Osman, Bent (McFadden 77). Subs (not used): Wright, Ferrari.
BOOKED: Weir, P. Neville.
SENT OFF: P. Neville.
REFEREE: Mike Riley (West Yorkshire).