Green Shoots…


Att: 711


FULHAM XI – 3    [Timlin 11. Ehui 31.70.]

With the visit of a Fulham XI our only home friendly this summer, the crew set aside nagging doubts about whether we’d have a good enough team for the big kick off in 3 weeks and went down the pub to try and kill the braincells that hosted those doubts.

Ignorance is, after all, bliss.

The turnout for a game of this magnitude is impressive. Mr & Mrs Chalmers, Bob, myself, Dave, Greek, Windy, Belly, Oscar. That’s more than we mustered for the cup final last season! Still, whatever’s happened to the U’s over the summer, it’s good to get back in the Hood for a pre-match pint.

With Mr Al Fayed’s main bunch of expensive imports trotting up to Scotland (very exotic!) this week, we get to be entertained by what they left at Craven Cottage and aren’t already busy doing something less boring than giving us a good going over.

So that’ll be their Under 9’s side then?

Still, it’s pleasing to see a few people in GGL when we arrive. Especially as the Scummers are supposed to be entertaining Reading’s first team down the road. Should be a nice little boost to the coffers!

Earlier as my train had pulled into West Sutton, I thought I’d spotted the tall figure of Joff Vansittart ambling through our car-park towards the club. It seems my assumption is correct as the large striker is named in our starting line up after apparently signing from Crawley for a ‘4 figure fee’. £10.50 perhaps?

He’s joined in the line up by another Ex-Crawley man, Nigel Brake (Although we don’t discover this until nearly half-time, preferring to call him by the name ‘Number 3’). He takes the spot seemingly vacated by Lee Fieldwick who appeared at Horsham. Also missing from the line up is Hubert Noah. But we’re not exactly shocked by this. Another pleasing sight though is Scott Corbett warming up before the game, hopefully having finally shaken off that back injury.

The opening exchanges aren’t much to write home about, but the young visiting side look lively. After 11 minutes, our worries about crap defending resurface though when a deep cross from out on the right finds Timlin stood in so much space in the box, he’d probably have been closer to another human being had he chosen to stand in the middle of the Gobi desert.

Either that, or he’s got really bad breath.

Understandably, with so much time on his hands, he guides his header past a rather helpless Wilson and into the far corner.

Er, guys? See him? He’s what is commonly called an ‘opponent’. You’re supposed to stand as near to them as possible to prevent them from doing just what that bloke just did. It’s called ‘marking’. And…

Oh never mind.

The first real flash of attacking intent we show comes after around 30 odd minutes when Richardson switches the play out to the left for Brake, but his cross is cut out at the near post. Fulham respond pretty quickly, the U’s defence backing off & allowing an attacker to cut in from the left and fire a shot on goal. Wilson gets down well to push the effort away.

Things get worse on 31 minutes and again the problem comes from the left. Some rather half hearted challenges allows the Fulham man to ride not 1, not 2, not even 3, but FOUR challenges before cutting the ball back from the byeline for Ehui to powerfully sidefoot past Wilson at his near post from around a couple of yards out.

The only other chance of the half falls to the visitors when a lightning attack ends with Wilson slow off his line and beaten by the shot, but Neilsen is there to clear up and clears off the line.

The second half is a mild improvement from the U’s. Watkins, introduced at the break, belies his tender years by again looking by far the most useful of the pre-season new arrivals. Just before the hour, he challenges the ‘keeper for a through ball, gets luck with the rebound and is only denied a goal by a last ditch clearance on the line by a defender.

Despite the improved performance, the Fulham kids extend their lead with 20 minutes remaining. Neilsen & Wilson get a bit mixed up and Ehui has the pitifully easy job of rolling the ball into the empty net from about 20 odd yards out.

The U’s response is a Matt Gray header looped into the side netting from a free-kick and Andy Martin swinging a free-kick at the near post which forces a very good save from the Fulham ‘keeper.

Defeated, we return to the Hood and soon the beer is helping us once more confine our defensive woes to the back burner. Die brain cells, die!

We’re still fucked though…

TEAM : Carl Emberson, Matt Gray, Lee Fieldwick, Jesper Neilsen, Martin Dunne, Hubert Noah, Lee Richardson, Paul Honey, Andrew Martin, Eddie Akuamouah, Glenn Boosey

SUBS : Phil Wilson (GK), Aaron Cole-Bolt, Ronnie Green, Lewes Gonsalves, Craig Watkins

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