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What a terrific win away at Millwall, the second half was as good as it gets

Well, the ‘experts’ were bigging up Millwall, so was their boss, they know not to underestimate Slav’s Super Whites now. Oh blimey, we’re 22 games unbeaten too!

  1. billp TOOFIF
    Sunday, 13 May 2018

The first half was definitely tense for Fulham fans, Millwall were direct and physical and up for it, we were calm and measured and skillful to offset their lack of sophistication, despite more than a few scares and despite the TV ‘Pundits’ punditting for all their worth, we owned the half but could have gone in at the whistle behind.

I was going to write a glowing match review, instead I’ll just paste in my notes, errors, abbreviations and all, apologies


Millwall v FFC 20/04/18 images from FFC website


4th min, Millwall corner Bettinelli clearly obstructed and Odoi clearly held, Millwall hit bar, Mariner ignores, typically

7th min obvious hack on Mitro by Wallace

Millwall already looking like an away team

9th MW keeper bangs it out for an FFC throw in

10th min throw to MW taken at least 10 m too far up towards FFC goal, Mariner as usual looking into his glass bottom boat

11th min McDonald clearly fouled, Mariner ignores, loses Ball get’s a sneaky one in to even it up, naturally  Millwall get free kick, rubbish execution

14th min MW’s Wallace fouls, nothing given, the usual pattern emerging

Odoi is constantly in no man’s land, seems to be in the only places on the pitch he shouldn’t be, Millwall constantly exploiting this

14:20 Wallace again on target for Millwall , scores but whistle had clearly blown before it hits the net, disallowed to obvious FFC relief

15 minutes in and at last Mitro gets a free kick, constantly being fouled throughout

16 min Millwall win free kick it looked 50-50

Millwall so physical, dirty some might say

20 Targett cross , Mitroviç heads over

21 Marshall makes a cynical foul on Tom Cairney

22 Targett gains 10m throw, rubbing the slate clean from earlier back

23 Good FFC move Sessegnon and Mitro who has bad 1st touch, Piazon couldn’t reach from keeper clearance

Good domination compared to the first 10 minutes where we’d been under pressure

24 FFC earn throw in by MW corner

26 FFC win free kick

27 Targett all alone collects pass shoots lamely wide

28 Odoi steps up wrongly, no O/S, MW nearly score Ream acrobatic saving challenge, he’s immense as usual so too is Kevin McDonald

29 Really pushing up, Targett 25 yarder, easy save

31 Relentless FFC movement and pressure, Piazon and Targett put in by Johansen

32 Fredericks got through on left, ball goes out for goal kick

Millwall all long ball no creativity at all

34 First time MW in our 20 yard area to no avail, they are very ordinary without the physicality

35 FfC errors again, MW get behind the defence, Morrison is played a shite cross, he cannot reach it

36 Odoi yet again wandering and leaving gaps

37 Millwall cross on left, defensively headed right for corner

38 More filthy Millwall play, in on on Bettinelli, Ref’s awarded free kick to FFC

39 Good FFC  pressure in area, goes into free kick to Millwall

40 McD breaks out long ball to Targett over hits pass to Sessegnon, fades out

42 Johansen feeds Sess in area, ball bobbles about cleared

43 Really  awkward ball to Sess defender nicks it and kicks it out for FFC throw

43 Good Millwall cross Bets misses it but goal kick ensues

2 mins added

45+ Sess almost in ,Keeper clears to give throw in

46 FFC throw in half way into MW side, Cairney feeds  to Targett, he shoots a beauty, it cannons off the Millwall bar

Whistle ends

71% possession to Fulham but less shots and chances


MW kick off the second half

Ball goes straight to FFC, ball via Piazon to Mitro, he shoots but keeper palms the ball straight out straight to Sess, he shoots, it’s a goal! 0-1!!!!!!!!!!!

47 FFC break again, so dominant, Piaz to Johan, Stefan snatches what should have been our second, we’re in the grove

48 MW long ball after long ball what an ordinary side

50 Another decisive thrusting move from FFC, Piaz goes for a gap, produces a wayward shot for goal kick

50 Millwall’s number 12 follows through on Mitro, Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?

Nice possession ball to Cairney, his left foot shot floats harmlessly over the MW bar

53 Another nice FFC move Johan wastes it with a bad cross which cheaply gives away possession

53 Yet another flowing move, Sess’s through cross blocked by keeper at Mitro’s feet

It’s been all FFFC this half, making MW look like a boys’ team

55 MacD has a brilliant shot from a great build up, shoots from 25 yds scores our second. 0–2!!!!!!!!!

57 Morrison offside FfFC lucky to escape free kick prior to this build up, luckily now Mariner is myopic in both directions

58 All we’re getting now is more long ball from MW

usual bias from the woodentops on tv

59:46 We now try more long ball, pressure’s off let’s tire them out

Throughout this game McD and Ream imperious

61 Yet another hack at Mitro FREE kick

62 Another lovely FFC build up Targett to Mitro to Sess, his shot saved

66 Great move, Sess slips over to lose possession in MW area

67 MW shocking now

What idiots pay to watch a team like this?

Piazon having another game like his old beat

70 Lovely build up and pressure, Ream chases an unlikely ball, fouls defender who was favourite to get it

70 Mitro through, is clear but shoots a long looping shot, misses

72 Yet another foul on Cairney but unpunished, left hand touchline 30 yds out

73 Great move results in corner to FFC

75 15 passes bring out the Olés from the traveling Whites

76 Tim Cahill on for MW, McD gives away foul, he won the ball but took player too

Knob head commentators

78 Dreadful from MW, they apply pressure but Morrison wastes it

81 More filth from MW, Wallace on Johansen, dirty blighter gets booked

81 Piazon off for Kallas, consolidation now, it was another good performance from Lucas

82 MW waste by crossing out for goal kick

83 Great quick break Sess shoots narrowly wide

84 Fair weather MW fans start to leave

85 Cahill could have been sent off elbow on Fredericks who’s down, Mariner misses it

87 Cahill again, filthy, he rakes Cairney, yellow this time, he’s disgusting, hardly been on the pitch and already up to his old tricks

88 Another great move Mitro fires in a lovely long one 3-0

90 Filth from MW again, this time ma foul on Bettinelli, yellow card for Gregory

3 minutes added

Yeeeessss, we’ve done it!



Match Information

Competition: Sky Bet Championship

Date: Friday 20 April 2018

Kick-off: 7:45pm

Venue: The Den, London

Attendance: 17,614

Referee: Andre Marriner


Millwall

Line-up: Archer; Romeo (O'Brien 87'), Hutchinson, Cooper, Meredith (Cahill 77'); Wallace, Williams, Saville, Marshall (Elliott 65'); Gregory, Morison

Unused substitutes: Martin, Shackell, Onyedinma, Tunnicliffe

Manager: Neil Harris


Fulham

Line-up: Bettinelli; Fredericks (Christie 90'), Odoi, Ream, Targett; Cairney, McDonald, Johansen; Lucas Piazon (Kalas 83'), Mitrovic, Ryan Sessegnon

Unused substitutes: Button, Kebano, Norwood, Rui Fonte, Kamara

Manager: Slavisa Jokanovic


COYW!


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Another home 3 points, 20 consecutive unbeaten games and second place

Not a 100% Fulham performance
but 70 per cent against Reading was enough last night
  1. billp TOOFIF
    Sunday, 13 May 2018

Apologies for the lack of fuzzy TOOFIF images, I forgot the camera, the images are from the FFC and ES sites, the above graphic is from Hammy End.com!

Another game where the theory that good teams can be under par and still win was once again proved by a Fulham team that just exudes confidence even when it’s not pretty.

It’s become an almost expected statement but again, the team started with just one change over the starters against Wednesday, Floyd Ayité, having suffered an injury against the Owls, was replaced by Lucas Piazon.

The first half echoed those of a few of our recent encounters and passed rather quietly, Fulham being somewhat muted and lacking that killer touch without looking unduly threatened by a well organised and densely defensive Reading side, clad in hi-viz kit that was blinding in the Thames haze.

The 25th minute brought some welcome impetus from the Whites, with the team pushing forward, Matt Targett whipped in a ball from the left wing and Johansen seemed to be magnetically attracted to meet it with a stab beyond Mannone in the Reading goal to make it 1-0. Cue delirium and the “Whites are going up” chorus, that’s something I refuse to join in with until Cardiff lose their game in hand. At last a sleepy game looked to become more promising as Reading would surely need to come at us thereby creating openings.

Sadly, it didn’t work out quite that way but in a largely unforgettable first 45 minutes, Fulham looked the likeliest winner, Mitro having headed over just prior to the whistle.
The second half began with Fulham looking mush more like the team that has been on such a brilliant twenty game run, passing with verve and decent movement. Nineteen minutes in to the second half, Stefan narrowly missed making it two nil but once again the effort was unsuccessful, this time saved by the ‘keeper. By now Fulham were more like the cavalier attacking side that we’ve almost taken for granted, at least listening to some of the crowd, you’d think that we were under the cosh, that’s the price of success, unreal expectations!

Neeskens Kebano came on in the seventy ninth minute, after his energetic and positive display at Hillsborough, that seemed a good change, he replaced Lucas Piazon, who has been improving since coming back into te fray after a couple of tentative performances, he received a standing ovation which I felt was justified.

Neeskens made an immediate impact, weaving through a whole tangle of defenders into the area only to shoot narrowly wide. Five minutes later Mitro just missed following a square ball from Ryan Sessegnon, who’d had a surprisingly unproductive game.

Not much else of note happened from this point unless one takes into account the increasingly cynical subterfuge indulged in by Reading on so many occasions and that Johansen was subbed for Norwood.

Then, true to form, in the third of 4 minutes additional time, the Red mist descended, this time onto Bacuna who made an awful late lunge on Sessegnon which rightly earned him a card to compliment the mist. Fortunately, young Ryan to the obvious relief of all us Whites’ Fans.

By the time the Whistle finally confirmed another superb victory, 6 minutes had been added to the forty five of the second half, maybe I ought to do a summary of jut how much time Fulham have played this season as it seems that we always end up playing 96 minutes a game, oh well, that’s for another time.

Match Information

Competition: Sky Bet Championship

Date: Tuesday 10 April 2018

Kick-off: 7:45pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London

Attendance: 19,272

Referee: Lee Mason

Fulham

Line-up: Bettinelli; Fredericks, Odoi, Ream, Targett; Cairney, McDonald, Johansen (Norwood 89'); Lucas Piazon (Kebano 80'), Mitrovic, Ryan Sessegnon

Unused substitutes: Button, Christie, Kalas, Rui Fonte, Kamara

Manager: Slavisa Jokanovic

Reading

Line-up: Mannone; Gunter, Moore, Tiago Ilori, Richards (Chris Martin 75'); Liam Kelly, Bacuna; Sone Aluko, Edwards (Swift 58'), Barrow; Bödvarsson (Kermorgant 69')

Unused substitutes: Jaakkola, Holmes, van den Berg, Clement

Manager: Paul Clement


To see our history against Reading follow this link:

https://www.11v11.com/teams/fulham/tab/opposingTeams/opposition/Reading/


COYW!




Now it’s 18 unbeaten

A decent first half performance against Leeds with a little good fortune and a few scares but overall a fair result. Twelve home and 9 away wins, could be worse!

  1. billp TOOFIF

  2. 04 April 2018


Well last night saw another Fulhamish display, moments of class, passing, movement and a goal off the bum of a defender who didn’t know it had gone in. I’d say that was probably the sort of thing Fulham fans dream of.

It’s not too shabby to begin April with a win and let’s hope the team can take the confidence this will bring away to Hillsborough on Saturday, a repeat of the same fixture last season would be heartily appreciated, though let’s hope none of the Supporters’ buses breaks down on the way home this time!

The starting line up differed from our Good Friday team that started against Norwich, in that Ryan Sessegnon started in place of Lucas Piazon, who had a mixed game against the Canaries.

There were some excellent moments of Fulham dominance last night but Leeds certainly didn’t come down to help us celebrate, they were all over us in the first minutes like a hot rash, however they have been very inconsistent this season and lack a deadly sharp end at times so with Bettenelli on top form and the Ream inspired back line, mostly it was pretty safe near our goalmouth.

The best chances fell to the Whites, the 4th minute incursion down the left by Matt Targett from a ball fed in by Stefan Johansen  led to a a square ball to Mitro who looked like he’d grabbed another, it was a little behind him and his shot squirmed wide. Mitroviç looked sluggish, as he had against Norwich, it’s possible that his international journeys have affected him a little. Having daid that, he harassed and generally kept the Leeds defence on their game throughout.

In the tenth minute, Floyd Ayité smacked a post, leading to a corner from which Mitro headed goal-wards forcing the Leeds Keeper a youthful Bailey Peacock-Farrell proved he’s not a name from the Domesday Book but an accomplished young keeper.

Cue a Fulham dominated period which culminated in our opening goal, to say it was fortuitous is no exaggeration, a corner to the Whites attacking the Putney End saw the ball ricochet around from Mitroviç’s flick-flopped  stab, eventually smacking Kevin MacDonald on his rear end and finishing in the net, he looked suitably abashed but we celebrated it all the same. The half carried on much as before with an untroubled Fulham team, trooping off for their half time cuppa one nil up.

The second half bore similarities to our previous two games, we seemed to have become lethargic, against QPR and again at Norwich, I jokingly remarked at that game, that it seemed the opposition must have smuggled something into the interval Ovaltine, Russian Spies were mentioned.

Leeds had obviously been given a stern talking to as they pushed further up and their first half aggressive tackling and harassing tactics became more numerous, “ih oh” we said, they’ll kick Ryan and Tom and wind Fredericks and Johansen up and try to ruffle our lilywhite feathers. They did all of this but fortunately we re-imposed ourselves on them so that it seemed that we’d be on the scoresheet again before the final whistle.


Young Ryan S. came close in the 59th minute after a jinking run, his on-target shot was parried away by young B. P-F.

Leeds, undaunted kept up the pressure and did indeed peg Fuham back and enjoyed a fair bit of possession in the Putney half, however our more than capable team are custom made to take advantage of a high pressing opposition and so it proved.

Caleb Ekuban, who had looked a right handful without really living up to it all night, smacked a goal-bound effort which Bettenelli swallowed up and quickly fed the ball out, the ball moving forward as the Fulham attack headed towards the Hammersmith End, Cairney feed Mitro right on the precipice of the box and suddenly the ball blurred past the Leeds keeper into the onion bag.

From this stage on, Leeds huffed and puffed and we contained them, so even with five additional minutes at the end the evening ran out to another excellent home victory.

I’m looking forward to Hillsborough next!

Match Information

Competition: Sky Bet Championship

Date: Tuesday 3 April 2018

Kick-off: 7:45pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London

Attendance: 21,538

Referee: Peter Bankes

Fulham

Line-up: Bettinelli; Fredericks, Odoi, Ream, Targett; Johansen, McDonald (Kalas 88'), Cairney; Floyd Ayité (Norwood 67'), Mitrovic, Ryan Sessegnon

Unused substitutes: Button, Christie, Kebano, Lucas Piazon, Kamara

Manager: Slavisa Jokanovic

Leeds United

Line-up: Peacock-Farrell; Dallas, Jansson, Pennington, Berardi; O'Kane (Phillips 23'), Vieira; Alioski (Grot 72'), Samuel Sáiz, Pablo Hernández; Ekuban (Lasogga 72')

Unused substitutes: Lonergan, Pearce, Anita, Cibicki

Manager: Paul Heckingbottom

COYW



17 unbeaten and another three points on the road at Carrow Road

Not our best display but winning when not performing at our best has to be a positive sign and withVilla drawing it was a good weekend for us all round

  1. billp TOOFIF

  2. 31 March 2018

  3. A five hour journey (around two hours longer than normal) via a clockwise circuit of the M25 in rainy conditions wasn’t the best way to arrive to watch the Whites take on Norwich at Carrow Road for this Good Friday fixture but on the bright side it meant that when the supporters’ coaches parked up at 14:30, we didn’t have to worry about killing time before the three o’clock kick-off.
  4. What can one say about the game? Ayité started in place of Ryan Sessengon who was amongst  the subs, otherwise an unchanged line-up, Mitoviiç leading the line, Odoi in defence with Kalas on the bench so perhaps he’ll be ready to start on Tuesday.

  5. Fulham and Norwich both started confidently with Fulham having the upper hand, Norwich played the first 45 minutes like an away team, not pressing us, and obviously attempting to play on the break. Our football was slicker, more confident and somewhat better than a thoroughly ordinary Norwich showing. However the Fulham team were decidedly below par and it occurred to the faithful that the QPR second half performance had still not been erased form the psyche.

  6. Mitroviç was oddly stiff legged after his international adventures and although tried to make a nuisance of himself, opportunities for him largely weren’t happening, his 27th minute header missed the target, summing up the mood of the moment. Matt Targett has to get a mention, he was a constant thron when supporting attacks and solid and effective in the left of our defence, all round a great addition to the team.

  7. The first half drizzled out, honours even, with the away team having had the lion’s share of the ball and having played the more attractive football but with no penetration and hardly any clear chances. Thee were attempts at both ends, an early Ayité penalty claim. Denis Odoi stopped a goal bound shot right at the end of the half but the whistle blew to leave us pondering, whether we could wake up from such a muted first half performance
  8. Fulham looked much more like the team that had gone 16 unbeaten once the second half rolled on but Norwich had obviously had a half time an ear bashing and they came out looking more like a home team, pushing up and threatening the Fulham half. This had the effect of allowing our possession to take on a more menacing form.
  9. Mitro did head the ball in the net for a disallowed goal having climbed all over the defender and keeper, I’d have given that one but the ref (Keith Stroud) had already shown his mettle and was having none of it. That ref was as inconsistent as any we’ve suffered in recent seasons (and we’ve had enough of those!) so nobody in the away section seemed surprised.

  10. Floys Ayité was subbed after 54 minutes allowing Tottenham (or is it Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona or maybe PSG?) bound Ryan Sessengon, to make an appearance. This totally revived the Whites and immediately brought us to life, Mitro coming close with a diving header. There was no doubt that having the pacy wünderkind running at them and Mitro pushing up, gaps were now appearing in the Norwich defence.

  11. The pressure nearly paid off in the 64th minute when the Norwich ‘keeper Gunn was nearly beaten, parrying a shot out to young Ryan who lofted the ball from 30 yards for what looked like a certain goal, only for Zimmerman to get back to clear off the line. We took the lead on the 66th minute when Targett placed a lovely cross into the danger area, Mitro headed it fiercely at the goal causing the keeper to push it straight to Johansen who gleefully whacked it into the net.

  12. Two minutes later, MacDonald, who’d been the first to be yellow carded 13 minutes into the second half was substituted for Norwood. On the 70th minute Lucas Piazon put in a dangerous cross which was deflected to Tom Cairney who struck the ball decisively into the Norwich goal.
  13. AK came on for a leaden legged Mitro on the 76th minute, and those fresh leags of his helped keep the Norwich rearguard on their toes, Fulham were totally dominant now, however Norwich were losing it and tackles and niggles abounded, the useless ref penalising Fulham unfairly and letting one or two Canaries, who had slipped off their perch and didn’t like it, get away with some debatable gamesmanship. The 6 minutes added time only enabled the joyous Whites’ fans more time to celebrate in front of an ever emptying home support.
  14. All in all a great result, earned from a decent but not entirely convincing performance, I’ll settle for that in the remaining seven games.

  15. Match Information

Competition: Sky Bet Championship

Date: Saturday 5 August 2017

Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London

Attendance: 20,134

Referee: James Linington

Fulham

Line-up: Button; Fredericks, Kalas, Ream, Ryan Sessegnon (Odoi 69'); Cairney, Norwood (Cissé 63'), Johansen; Sone Aluko, Floyd Ayité (Kamara 63'), Kebano

Unused substitutes: Rodák, Madl, Lucas Piazon, Tayo Edun

Manager: Slavisa Jokanovic

Norwich City

Line-up: Gunn; Martin, Zimmermann, Franke; Wildschut (Josh Murphy 59'), Maddison, Reed (Hoolahan 80'), Vrancic, Husband; Watkins, Jerome (Nélson Oliveira 64')

Unused substitutes: McGovern, Ivo Pinto, Godfrey, Tettey

Manager: Daniel Farke

  1. COYW!



 

Whew, Fulhamish or what?
And it’s 23 unbeaten!

  1. billp TOOFIF
    Sunday, 13 May 2018

It turned out to be a characteristic end of season performance against Sunderland at our last home game of the current season last Friday night.

Luckily, I wasn’t too worried that we allowed the opposition to score as I had told my pre-match drinking compatriots that we’d go a goal down in the first half and end up 2-1 winners. It could have worked out very differently had a penalty been awarded to Sunderland for an obvious foul in our area by Kevin McDonald.

Fulham started fairly brightly and seemed to be set to play the easy on the eye style of football we have, rather selfishly, become used to witnessing. The team was unchanged from the Victors of the New Den, on the bench with Neeskens Kebano still unfortunately injured being replaced by Luca de la Torre.

The early exchanges were just about dominated by the home team but Sunderland certainly hadn’t come to the Cottage to lay down and each hesitation and minor error was quickly being probed. For all the possession, Sunderland’s goal came through the early stages unscathed and it was the visitor’s who had the first crack towards goal when on the 12th minute their very promising and lively forward, Asoro, had a pop which wasn’t struck cleanly and cruised wide of our goal at the Hammersmith End. Sunderland’s Fletcher was next to try his luck on the 17th minute, his effort miles too high.

Fulham were by now settling into a steady and attractive period of possession and passing, some great interplay beginning to develop but no outcome as yet. Denis Odoi featuring in defence very nicely and evening making ‘Cookie Colmanesque’ surges forward from defence deep into enemy territory. Denis fed a lovely ball through to Ryan Sessegnon which was gathered by the goalie before Sess’ could get to the ball.

Fredericks was enjoying some very watchable battles, the outcome of some hinting that things could get tasty later on, it was Fredericks forcing a desperate save from Steele, the Black Cats’ keeper, with a missile of a  shot from an oblique position on the right.

Fulham FC Online: Ryan Fredericks made his usual contribution to a fine result.

Inevitably, Fulham conceded the first goal before the first 30 minutes was reached, not exactly against the run of play but taking good advantage of a log ball, assisted by Fletcher to Asoro who easily by-passed Matt Targett (uncharacteristically by him).

His strike swept into the net decisively, in the event, I felt that our goalie could have done better. Unfortunately as a consequence of his missed challenge, in the 29th minute, Targett took a knock that required treatment and appeared to be affecting his movement slightly.

More potentially damage occurred when Cairney, stretched challenging for a loose ball, he appeared to turn his ankle before crashing a a heap with a Sunderland player who accidentally kneed him in the back and ribs before both hit the ground with a hefty impact.

Fulham FC Online: Matt Targett had a decent game until he was withdrawn..

The Sunderland goal had the desired affect on the Whites who instantly clicked into world domination mode and looked positively to keep mounting the pressure in the Sunderland half. A period of ‘huff and puff to no avail’ ensued where, despite having most of ball in the Putney End, saw Lucas Piazon receive the ball from the edge of the 18 yard line, his shot wobbling, cartoon like,  just wide.

On the 40th minute, the excellent Matt Targett, ground to a halt, he had been unable to run off the earlier injury and was substituted with Kamara coming on thereby pushing Ryan Sessegnon into his old left back position.

Personally, I like Kamara who I think is probably not a 90 minute player yet but has always shown willing when used as in impact sub. He’s not subtle and can be careless and hot headed but he gives 100% for every second he’s on the pitch. He is lightning fast, physically intimidating and he doesn’t give up, in short he terrorises defences when he charges forward.

Fulham FC Online: Asoro was excellent for the vistors, he deserved his goal.

AK’s introduction poured rocket fuel into the high revving Fulham motor and the White’s domination continued apace. Just as the half was winding to a close, this pressure proved decisive, AK, true to form, taking a pass from Stefan Johansen as the ball was won back deep in our half, played a fine pass to Ryan Fredericks. Ryan cut down the right to the corner flag and fired a hard cross towards the goalmouth. The ball was pushed by the keeper, the outcome of this seeing Lucas Piazon first to react and doing enough to put us level.

Fulham FC Online: Good to see Lucas Piazon rewarded with his goal.

O’Shea, using all those years of working under Fergie, moaned too much for the ref’d taste and went into the book.

He was pointing out that during the Sunderland incursion that led to Fulham moving the ball out on the counter attack that brought our equalizer, they’d lost possession because McDonald committed a foul in the area for which Sunderland should have beeb awarded a penalty.

We thought he was moaning for nothing, TV replays prove that we’d got away with that one, definite contact! Once the game restarted, we came close from another foray by AK who’s deep cross was met by Mitroviç’s head across goal towards Cairney. He was narrowly beaten to the ball by Sunderland’s Kone.  One all at half time, the usual stoppage time having been applied.

At the restart, Sunderland had made a change, taking off Billy Jones and replacing  him with Adam Matthews this didn’t change the script, Fulham were straight on the offensive, passing decisively and prettily around the 20 yard mark, the final ball to Johansen being wastefully curled miles over the bar.

Aboubakar Kamara carried on with his customary verve and aggression and his direct play was definitely unsettling the Sunderland defence and in the 51st minute he smacked in pacy shot from a not so easy angle, forcing Steele to make a save, shortly after he was tipped over around 25 yards out winning a set piece that Johansen curled over the wall on target for a comfortable save by Steele again.

Fulham FC Online: Another excellent contribution by Stefan Johansen.

Twelve minutes after the restart, another foray forward culminated in Mitro attempt, his speculative shot pushed away by the keeper. Soon Tom Cairney again went down and required treatment, he had been in some discomfort from the earlier collision and was rubbing is back constantly throughout the game from then.

it was mostly Fulham in possession but with the scores even, there was a slight unease amongst the home support every time Sunderland had the ball moving away from their goal.

A chance came the way of the Whites around 59 minutes, with Cairney benefitting from some fine interplay which had AK combining with Stefan Johansen, Tom’s curling attempt looked as if it was a certain goal but it whistled a whisker wide.

The play then switched to our end with Sunderland eager to gain the advantage, McNair having a go from way out allowing an easy catch by Marcus Bettinelli. Fredericks took the ball on a lightning sortie down the right wing and created havoc in the area and his smartly struck shot was blocked, eventually the ball found McDonald, his effort was rotten and sailed hopelessly high.

Cairney again came close in the 71st, the customary itchy bums in the seats jumping up and blocking my view of the final action, I’m taking a long sharp stick next time to give their hyperactive arses a prod.

Shortly after, Jokanović took off the ever improving Piazon, bringing on Rui Fonte (oh blimey, the jury is till out on him!). As the game reached the 76th minute Fulham won another free kick after the marvelous AK proved once again to be too hot to handle and was bundled over, Johansen crafted a lovely floater custom made to be head butted by Mitro, he duly obliged with a fine goal.

BBC Sport: Aleksandar Mitrovic scored his 12th goal in his past 13 games for Fulham


Cookie subbed Ovie Ehjana and used Calum McManaman as his successor, this didn’t change things as yet again Kamara frightened a foul out of the Black Cats, Johansen this time having a pop from the set piece only to see Steele launching to tip over. Cue Sunderland’s final change to their line up, Ethan Robson trooping off for Josh Maja.

Cairney, who had been in obvious discomfort since a collision in the first half, was finally allowed some release from his angst and went off, the long absent Tomas Kalas coming on in his stead.

The game fast reached the allotted 90 minutes but naturally we always seem to be made to play 96 minutes at a minimum so when the four minute board was held aloft the knowing amongst us smirked and hunkered down for the usual nail biting finally 10 minutes!

As it happened, we only played six added minutes and the only thing to report was a bit of bad tempered hand bag stuff from a couple of ridiculously unruly Sunderland players and a bit of pushing and shoving, Kamara seeming to be the innocent party. It’s never that simple, typically the ref had to make a name for himself, probably because the one I gave him is unprintable here, so obviously he booked one of theirs (should have been two!) and Kamara too.

Then the final whistle blew and the relieved  home fans ecstatically applauded the team who re-emerged to make an entry to applaud the fans, not a climatic and emotional lap of honour like the old days but a muted and weary acknowledgment from battle wearied Gladiators saluting Caesar.

Three points and our twenty third consecutive unbeaten game, it could be worse.

Match Information

Competition: Sky Bet Championship

Date: Friday 27 April 2018

Kick-off: 7:45pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London

Attendance: 21,849

Referee: Peter Bankes


Fulham

Line-up: Bettinelli; Fredericks, Odoi, Ream, Targett (Kamara 40'); Cairney (Kalas 90'), McDonald, Johansen; Lucas Piazon (Rui Fonte 74'), Mitrovic, Ryan Sessegnon

Unused substitutes: Button, Christie, Norwood, De La Torre

Manager: Slavisa Jokanovic


Sunderland

Line-up: Steele; Jones (Matthews 45'), Koné, O'Shea, Wilson; Paddy McNair, Ethan Robson (Maja 85'); Asoro, Ovie Ejaria (McManaman 77'), Honeyman; Fletcher

Unused substitutes: Camp, Clarke-Salter, Lua Lua, Mumba

Manager: Chris Coleman

______________________

A damp squib of a performance but still, we’re  unbeaten for 21 games

Another mixed bag of a showing against a well-organised Brentford side but not so bad an outcome against our local bogey team.

  1. 13 May 2018 at 11:57

At least it was a beautiful warm Spring day down by the Thames, a superb setting for a game of football.

If only the team could light up the Cottage in response. Maybe, just maybe we could put the Brentford hoodoo behind us and get our first home victory against the Bees in 28 years.

As usual before kick-off, the sprinklers were soaking the green, green grass of home, sometimes I wonder whether it’s a little too wet on occasion as it seems to affect the players sometimes, causing more than a bit of slipping and sliding.

Apparently, but the players like the zip of the ball when the surface is slick.

The game started rather quietly as in the last couple, Brentford pushed up against Fulham and maintained an ordered, well organised shape but frankly apart from some minor incursions towards our goal, there was nothing happening to ruffle the defence too much, Ream and McDonald looking to be on their games again.
Ryan Sessegnon woke up in the 29th minute and received the ball from a strong holding role by Mitro and struck a low-level shot goal wards which the keeper, Bentley, was able to stop.
The contest progressed about honours even, Fulham adopting what has been a customary leisurely approach, there was a fair amount of time with the ball but not always in an advanced area. Brentford came forward in the 39th minute forcing a superb Bettinelli save from a glancing Watkins’ header, the ensuing corner fizzled out.

This may have been a trigger as now  the Whites started to move the ball about and advance with more verve, then it in the 40th minute Ryan Sessegnon went down in the box, no penalty was given though as ref’ Swarbrick judged there to have been no foul, he blew the whistle to end the half with the scoreboard untouched.

Brentford subbed Andreas Bjelland, replacing him with John Egan before the teams kicked off the second 45. After nine minutes of much of the same stuff, Slav made a change, bringing Neeskens Kebano on in place of Lucas Piazon, who had had a fair game, he’s getting back to the useful team member he was before his recent omission through injury.

Again, Neeskens added an extra gear to our attack, his energy, strength and skill are a useful addition to the attack, he certainly livened things up, keeping the Brentford defence on their mettle.

On 68 minutes, Brentford took off Canos and brought on Maupay, ironically, within two minutes Fulham took the lead. Johansen, having another lively game contributed  by feeding  the ball to Mitroviç who curled a sublime effort Imoff Thepost (yup, that old Russian mailman joke!) from 20 yards.

Brentford’s skipper Yennaris was removed by manager Dean Smith, on the 78th minute, who sent Mokotjo in his place. Twor minutes later, Cairney came very close with a fine curling effort with his trusty left that seemed certain to wind up in the net, unfortunately whizzing past the post.

The game carried on with a one-nil looking to be the likely outcome and  Slav’ took off Kebano (why?) when the clock reached the 87th minute, replacing Neeskens with Cyrus Christie and in the last minute of the half Stefan Johansen trooped off in favour of Ollie Norwood.

All we had to do was keep possession in the opposition half, not waste the ball and play it out to keep that impossible dream of auto-promotion alive. Then Fredericks dozed off and made what can only be described as a Giant Haystacks tackle to thwart a counter attack, justly getting a yellow ‘For The Team!’.
Cue a mass sleepwalk, allowing Brentford to get into the danger area in the fifth minute of the four additional, obviously they equalised… back to reality!
Not to worry, we can throw the next three games away and concentrate on the play-offs if we want but hopefully, we’ll keep banging away and bounce back with three big scoring games to end the season on a high and boost the confidence, well I’m a glass half full sort of person, mine’s a large glass of ’68 Petrus please!


Match Information

Competition: Sky Bet Championship

Date: Saturday 14 April 2018

Kick-off: 5:30pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London

Attendance: 20,877

Referee: Neil Swarbrick

Fulham

Line-up: Bettinelli; Fredericks, Odoi, Ream, Targett; Johansen (Norwood 90'), McDonald, Cairney; Lucas Piazon (Kebano 54' (Christie 87')), Mitrovic, Ryan Sessegnon

Unused substitutes: Button, Kalas, Rui Fonte, Kamara

Manager: Slavisa Jokanovic

Brentford

Line-up: Bentley; Dalsgaard, Mepham, Bjelland (Egan 45'), Barbet; Jozefzoon, Nico Yennaris (Mokotjo 78'), Woods, Sawyers, Canos (Maupay 69'); Ollie Watkins

Unused substitutes: Daniels, MacLeod, McEachran, Clarke

Manager: Dean Smith

COYW!


Another 3 points on the road and now we’re unbeaten in 19!

A very fruitful awayday at Hillsborough, coupled with the other two wins in the previous 8 days and together with the Cardiff and Villa results, equals a Whites’ paradise!

  1. billp TOOFIF
    Sunday, 13 May 2018


On a dull but rain free, temperate afternoon in Sheffield, the Super Whites once again displayed .their brand of classy, patient play to earn another valuable three points on the road

Once again the team started with just one change over the starters against Leeds, Floyd Ayité sat on the bench while Sheyi Ojo started in his place.

The puzzling thing was that once again, the opposition failed to put us under any meaningful pressure in the opening exchanges and allowed Fulham to pass their way around as if the match was a curious warm-up.

The early stages were passive with neither team looking that dynamic but in keeping with many games this season, Fulham enjoyed greater possession and spent more time in the Wednesday half, however, although we huffed and puffed we just couldn’t make our dominance count.

We definitely showed our intent when after more moderate pressure in the Wednesday 18 yard area, Ojo poked the ball into the net on 11 minutes, sadly offside, though from the away supporters’ end, that wasn’t obvious.

This energised the Whites and although by no means firing on all cylinders we kept the pressure up and Ojo attacking the Wednesday left, beat the defence and hit a not terribly convincing ‘shot’ which the Sheffield keeper Wildsmith easily leapt on. People behind me were on Ojo’s back throughout and it did seem that he was suffering from a lack of first team action and as the first half progressed he seemed to lose more confidence, the rest of the team appeared reluctant to give him the ball, or maybe I was imagining that. Mentally, I was willing him to do a few mazy runs and score a spectacular solo goal, sadly to no avail.

Ryan Sessegnon was seeing a fair bit of action without setting the place alight but around 24 minutes he nearly finished a great team move, heading a cross from Mitroviç onto the bar. Not long after that, Kevin McDonald fancied scoring for the second game running but his stinging shot was palmed away by George Boyd, Fulham’s dominance was becoming ever clearer as the clocked ticked on.

The half jogged on in the same vein but still no goals, we came close in the 43rd minute following an incursion by Ryan Fredericks down the right whose cross was met by Mitro’s head forcing an tremendous save from Wildsmith, we were all jumping up and down convinced it would cross the line but no, 0-0 at the whistle for the end of the half.

Well, said we during the break, something needs to change to stir things up as despite being on top, the goals were not coming. Ojo was on everybody’s lips as he’d looked more tentative than the rest of the team so after fifteen minutes in the same vein as the first, off he went to be replaced by Ayité.

Floyd certainly announced an increase in Fulham’s impetus and looked up for the challenge but sadly he pulled up after a challenge and he too was doomed to play no further part in the game, Neeskens Kebano replaced him to become our second substitute.

This further increased the pressure that Fulham were applying and Kebano was relishing his chance to put in a performance, he was making a difference and Sessegnon and Mitroviç likewise became ever more influential up front. Those of us in the away end were treated to constant activity in the mouth of Wednesday’s goal.

The clock was running down and despite increasing dominance and more attempts on goal, the score was still zero, in the 73rd minute Johansen forded a good save from the keeper following a fine assist from the impressive Neeskens.

The goal we had all been lusting for finally arrived on the 78th minute when Ryan Sessegnon penetrated the Owl’s back line and laid a finely struck pass across to Mitro who wasted no breath smashing the ball home.

On the eightieth minute, Neeskens was nearly rewarded for his excellent contribution, nearly converting a chance created by a good through ball by McDonald only for the busy keeper Wildsmith to thwart his shot.

Throughout the game, there had been persistent fouling and niggly, devious nonsense from some of Wednesday’s players, their hulking number 17 was misbehaving all game to no avail, however the ref finally came to his senses to book number 36 Daniel Pudil, following up with a yellow for Butterfield in the 91st for another scything swipe at Mitro.

When the whistle went at  the end of 93 minutes, the afternoon ended perfectly for the travelers, only one goal, not a totally eye-catching showing but a satisfying, dominant and profession performance and only two points now separate the Whites and second placed Cardiff.

Whew, what a season this is turning out to be, it’s no exaggeration that Tuesday’s home game against Reading now becomes a ‘Must Win’ when the Villa against Cardiff game on the same evening is taken into consideration, I can’t wait!


Match Information

Competition: Sky Bet Championship

Date: Saturday 7 April 2018

Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Hillsborough, Sheffield

Attendance: 25,653

Referee: Steve Martin

Sheffield Wednesday

Line-up: Wildsmith; Frederico Venâncio, Lees, Pudil; Hunt, Pelupessy, Bannan (Butterfield 31'), Reach, Boyd (Marco Matias 86'); Nuhiu, Lucas João (Forestieri 76')

Unused substitutes: Dawson, Thorniley, Jones, Rhodes

Manager: Jos Luhukay

Fulham

Line-up: Bettinelli; Fredericks, Odoi, Ream, Targett; McDonald, Johansen; Sheyi Ojo (Floyd Ayité 62' (Kebano 72')), Cairney, Ryan Sessegnon; Mitrovic

Unused substitutes: Button, Christie, Kalas, Norwood, Kamara

Manager: Slavisa Jokanovic


COYW!




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