Author Topic: Jack and Loz Away from the Cottage - Blog 71  (Read 1412 times)

Offline Friendsoffulham

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Jack and Loz Away from the Cottage - Blog 71
« on: January 28, 2018, 05:22:24 PM »
Jack and Loz Away from the Cottage - Blog 71
Date: 27th January 2018

Opposition: Barnsley

Location: Oakwell

Score: 1-3

Weather: northern grey

Atmosphere: piano, crescendo, fortissimo!

Opposition mascot: the mascot did a great job with the children but we weren't sure if it was it a dog or a bear. A badger is so much more recognisable.

Opposition fans: huge respect to the Barnsley fans for the beautifully observed minute's silence and the thoughtful and moving tribute in the 66th minute to their recently deceased former owner Patrick Cryne

MOTM (football): inspiring, organising, battling and leading from the front Kevin McDonald made sure we barely missed our errant captain on Saturday, at least from a leadership point of view. At one point in the second half he was so dominant and industrious that we morphed into KMac FC. Whilst his long range shots were wasted he really deserved to score the frantically scrambled winner

MOTM (non-football): we were impressed with Matt Targett from our first sighting of him as he emerged from the tunnel and turned and applauded the away fans. We were even more impressed to see the ease with which he has slotted into the team and the speed with which he has built up a rapport with Sess when he entered the action after half time

Pub: we had lunch at the Hide Out in the Metrodome centre, a pirate themed burger bar. Spookily, one of the pirate models looked a lot like a swarthily bearded head coach we know...

In 2002 architect Will Alsop proposed redesigning Barnsley as the Tuscany of the north, modelling it on the walled town of Lucca. Unfortunately (or otherwise) these plans were shelved some years later and there is little or no trace of Italy in the Yorkshire town. Barnsley, however, is a pleasant, if functional place which should win the Friendliest Town in England every year.

Oakwell is a traditional stadium where away fans aren't shoved in an inhospitable corner but are given an excellent view of the pitch from the north stand. The stewards are, you guessed it, exceptionally friendly and the catering is perfectly adequate. If the home fans were somewhat quiet we can attribute that to the sadness of the day for them - the half mast flag and large Patrick Cryne banner contributed to the solemnity of the occasion.

Fulham fans travelled in numbers to Oakwell, excited by the prospect of extending our unbeaten run and blasting into the play off spots. But even as the Championship tide seems to be turning in our favour things never go all our own way: in a typically Fulhamish off-field development Tom Cairney did not travel with the squad either because of his dodgy knee or because he is angling for a move to West Ham, or possibly a bit of both.

It is fair to say Fulham missed Tom in the first half. We were slow, placid, lacking in confidence and in disarray. Oliver Norwood kept passing to the invisible man. This wasn't as bad as Ryan Fredericks who kept passing to Barnsley players. Unlike our recent performances this was neither gritty nor pretty Fulham. Barnsley started the game quickly and aggressively and instead of toughening up and meeting them half way we met them at the edge of the 18 yard box with some nervous last ditch defending. Their goal was coming for a long time. Whilst is was a dubious one due the double obstruction of Marcus no one in the away end was surprised by it. Even worse was the fact that whilst going 1-0 down was something of a wake up call we were in serious danger of failing to regroup and doubling the deficit before half time.

But there is something about this season. There is something about the way luck is on our side. The penalty against Millwall, Birmingham's penalty miss, the last second penalty at Middlesbrough, the Ipswich red card. Why did Cavare shove Stefan Johanssen to the ground right under the referee's nose when he was already on a yellow card? That unnecessary act condemned Barnsley to almost certain defeat and was just the slice of luck Fulham needed to turn the game around.

Of course, because we are Fulham, we didn't make it easy for ourselves. Although the the inevitable Slav tongue lashing at half time coupled with the introduction of Matt Targett meant a much brighter start to the second half we only actually looked good in the period around Sess's first goal. As ever, we must sing Ryan's praises for being in the right place at the right time for approximately the 100th time this season but credit is also due to Ryan Fredericks for creating the goal by forging and nutmegging his way through the Barnsley defence.

After an interminable period of time wasting with some ABH thrown in from Barnsley, Slav, who had forgotten all of his black and while scarf collection and looked chilly on the touch line, changed things up by bringing on first Kebano and then AK. Barnsley, like many other teams before them, were about to learn that time wasting against Fulham will almost always come back to bite you and that this season's Fulham never give up. Led and inspired by Kevin McDonald, playing the combined and unfamiliar roles of creative midfielder and striker, the team went into overdrive as we entered 5 minutes of extra time.

The second goal was the epitome of chaos as Fulham bundled, tumbled and fumbled the ball over the line. The Barnsley goal keeper tried some sleight of hand thinking perhaps that as long as he was holding on to the ball the referee would be fooled into thinking it hasn't crossed the line. But the ref got it right, the goal was awarded and we waited to see who was at the bottom of the big pile of Fulham players to learn who scored it. We weren't surprised when it was King KMac.

The third goal was the cliche on the cake of a fantastic away day. Kebano carried on working and running and dodging and driving and our fox in the box popped up to slide the ball home.

Fantastic yes, but convincing no. The score line flatters to deceive and whilst we were sure we would have beaten 11 Ipswich players at the Cottage there was no foregone conclusion here. We are now in the top 6. If we are going to stay there, never mind climb higher, improvements are needed and they are needed fast.

Random musings:-

- Matt Targett must have more Ts in his name than any player in the league.

- there was a certain irony in calling Cavare a "dirty northern bastard" for his assault on Stefan Johanssen who comes from the most northern place in Europe

- Tomas Kalas and Abou Kamara took their shirts off at the end of the game. We'll just leave that thought there.

Random Tom Cairney musings:-

- why would you want to leave a Championship club with genuine promotion prospects, a club where you are captain, to go to a Premier League club with genuine relegation prospects to do little more than sit on the bench for the rest of the season?

-if he leaves, all the money he spent of his lovely bespoke FFC pool table would be wasted

- his knee injury is clearly a big issue, it has been all season and will probably continue to be so. Are his best footballing years already behind him?

- West Ham had a player sent off for spitting. No one from Fulham ever gets sent off for spitting

We have reached the end of our matches in January with a full house of points and goals galore. But we haven't reached the end of the transfer window yet. We are the team with the best form in England. Unlike last season when we sneaked into 6th place at almost the last possible moment, this year we have announced our intentions early and we have the time to climb the table further. Do we have the players though? Who will come and who will go in the next few days? How long will our luck last?

Finally, we really enjoyed our trip to Barnsley and hope they stay up this season - based on what we saw on Saturday we think they will.

Offline res

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Re: Jack and Loz Away from the Cottage - Blog 71
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2018, 05:50:48 PM »
 Always interesting to hear the thoughts of those travelling for away games...do this again. Incidentally we have had a player sent off for spitting...Boa Morte against Bolton in one of his wilder, and unforgivable, moments. The TC saga is very odd...why would anyone want to pay £15m for someone with a dodgy knee?..Istill think nothing is going to happen in this transfer window

Offline Kentish Gent

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Re: Jack and Loz Away from the Cottage - Blog 71
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2018, 06:06:23 PM »
Great report, wittily written. Many thanks.


Offline filham

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Re: Jack and Loz Away from the Cottage - Blog 71
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2018, 06:19:04 PM »
Such a lovely and well written report, yes lady luck seems to be smiling on us just now, long may it continue.

Yes,  the big mystery of this window is why is a premiership club with an injury list and facing a tough relegation battle considering laying out some £15m on a player who is living with a dodgy knee has only managed to play about 50% of the available playing time in Championship matches in the first half of the season.

Can't be true, has to be speculative journalism, but then what media man would dare to come up with such a far fetched story.

Offline Burt

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Re: Jack and Loz Away from the Cottage - Blog 71
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2018, 08:24:30 PM »
A good blog - well written, just the right mix of balance and bias, and plenty of humour to go with it. Thanks :)

Offline cmg

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Re: Jack and Loz Away from the Cottage - Blog 71
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2018, 08:46:09 PM »
Thanks.
Informative and entertaining. A pleasure to read.


Offline Dixie

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Re: Jack and Loz Away from the Cottage - Blog 71
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2018, 09:08:54 PM »
Really enjoyable summary of the match day experience - Bravo!

Offline Snibbo

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Re: Jack and Loz Away from the Cottage - Blog 71
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2018, 02:30:23 AM »
Always a good read

Offline toshes mate

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Re: Jack and Loz Away from the Cottage - Blog 71
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2018, 09:23:51 AM »
Always a good read
+1
A so carefully manicured and cultivated piece of writing and fair comment right down to the last sentence which I heartily endorse.