Jimmy Fixes It For Fulham

Last updated : 26 August 2006 By @blades_mad1889

Bullard, a multi million pound capture from Wigan Athletic this summer was undoubtedly the best player on the pitch at Craven Cottage and stole the lime light on 40 minutes when he curled in his free-kick.

United battled throughout and put on a better performance than that last Tuesday night in the 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. Yet again Neil Warnock was forced to drag Christian Nade off the substitutes bench to add depth upfront.

The Blades made three changes to that of the defeat to Spurs; Phil Jagielka moved into a central defensive role with Mikele Leigertwood and Nick Montgomery handed there first start of the season in Midfield.

Montgomery started brightly and contributed by winning two corners from the right hand side though it was the home side that created the best early chance. Jimmy Bullard cut in from the touchline seven minutes in before striking and stinging the hands of Paddy Kenny.

Blades full-back Leigh Bromby launched in an all too familiar long throwing into the box to cause problems which almost found Hulse before Montgomery struck a half-volley over the top. Unsworth flew his free-kick over the bar after Diop fouled Rob Hulse.

On 17 minutes Bullard attempted another long range shot and Kenny did well to hold onto it with American Brian McBride ready to pounce on a loose ball.

Near the midway point of the first half the Fulham crowed were off their seats and could sense a goal; United captain Morgan missed his initial header and Collins John held off Jagielka before firing against the post with Bromby clearing away any post danger.

United attacked with another Bromby missile with Webber failing to connect after Morgan flicked on before the Cottages finally broke the deadlock. McBride was unheeded 25 yards away from goal. BULLARD unleashed a powerful shot which curled away from Kenny and screamed into the top corner.

The visitors were naturally disappointed to concede after producing a fine performance and so near half-time as well. Unsworth fired in another free-kick but to no prevail with Webber slipping the ball past Niemi only to be ruled off-side with the United faithful cheering.

Half-Time: Fulham 1-0 Sheffield United

Despite this set back of going 1-0 down the Blades continued in their plan to brake the Fulham net near the end of the first half and create the first of two opportunities early on in the second. Both chances fell to Hulse but couldn't score when his first shot scissor kicked wide after Morgan set him up after Bromby's throw and then after being allowed spaced fired wide from 20 yards.

During the game Midfielders Michael Tonge, Mikele Leigertwood and substitute Alan Quinn all received cautions from referee Graham Poll with most of the play confined to the centre of the park.

Bullard fired his third free-kick over whilst United went close on 76 minute mark; Fulham half cleared an effort by Alan Quinn, the ball fell to Leigertwood. His half volley from 30 yards was powerful and decisive but former Rangers keeper Niemi tipped over.

The home side then should have added to their lead but poor finishing cost the Cottages. Unsworth failed to trap the ball and made way for Thomaz Radzinski to make a run, he pulled back only for Bullard to smash to post and Kenny managed to recover to stop McBride from capitalising.

Fulham brought on Heidar Helguson to cause problems and almost did, Kenny attempted to outsmart the Icelandic outside the box, thankfully he won a free-kick before he was forced to save a McBride shot after he beat the offside trap.

With 9 shots throughout the match United tried their hardest to come back home with a point (at least) but were unable to settle the home defence; a better performance will be needed against Blackburn Rovers on 9 September if the Blades plan to stay up.

Full-Time: Fulham 1-0 Sheffield United