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Sunday Fulham Stuff (13/08/17)...

Started by WhiteJC, August 13, 2017, 07:16:13 AM

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0 - 2 Wolves
4 - 1 Burton
1 - 2 Ispwich
3 - 4 Nottn Forest
3 - 0 Aston Villa
2 - 1 Bristol City
0 - 0 Preston NE
1 - 1 Bolton
1 - 1 Fulham
Sheff Wed
1 - 1 QPR
1 - 0 Sheff Utd


Late Piazon equaliser denies Royals

10-man Fulham earn late point following Kelly opener

Lucas Piazon's late equaliser denied Royals all three points as Fulham and Reading played out a 1-1 draw at Madejski Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

    Tomas Kalas sent off for Fulham in the first minute of the game
    Liam Kelly scores his third goal in two games
    Lucas Piazon equalises against the run of play eight minutes from time

The game sprung into life immediately, with Mo Barrow spinning away from Tomas Kalas on the edge of the area, with the defender pulling Barrow down when he was clear on goal, receiving his marching orders after just 35 seconds!

An immediate defensive re-shuffle and tactical substitution from Slaviša Jokanoviç forced the visitors into a different shape with the man disadvantage, but still made life difficult for the Royals in the opening exchanges.

Royals began to force the initiative, though, as Chris Gunter turned away from his man on the right hand side. He lifted a left-footed cross onto the head of the rising Jo Mendes, tipped around the post by a sprawling David Button.

Jaap Stam's side, playing in front of a Madejski crowd for the first time in the league this season, pressed high and dominated possession throughout the first half but came up against a resolute defensive line and found it tough to find openings.

A mix-up at a goal kick around the half-hour mark let double midweek goalscorer Liam Kelly steal the ball on the 18-yard line and surge at goal. Button did well to narrow the angle, with Kelly's outside of the boot shot blocked wide in the best chance of the half.

A flash of pace from Barrow saw him thread the ball through to Tyler Blackett in the area, who squared to John Swift but he was shepherded away from goal and his cross was too deep for a Reading head.

The visitors had a late surge of pressure as the half drew to a conclusion, former Royal Oliver Norwood lashed a first-time shot from 25 yards out, forcing an acrobatic tip over the bar in Vito Mannose's first real test of the game.

Half-time: Reading 0-0 Fulham

The Royals burst out in the second half with renewed vigour as they searched for the crucial opener, Tiago Ilori's 30-yard drive was well held by Button.

The Fulham stopper proved to be the busiest man on the pitch, diving superbly to push Swift's top corner-bound curling effort around the post.

The 10-man visitors were still pushing forward, though, with captain Sone Aluko finding space from 20 yards but his dipping effort did not trouble Mannone.

The deadlock was finally broken on the hour mark, with Barrow crossing for Mendes at the far post, laying off first time to Kelly who arrowed a powerful drive into the bottom corner.

Royals will feel that the lead should have been doubled immediately after the opener, Blackett crossing in with goalkeeper Button off his line, but Mendes could not quite guide his header on target under pressure.

Swift could have also doubled Reading's lead soon after, forcing space at the left hand post but his effort was deflected off target.

Those missed chances proved to be costly for the Royals, with an unexpected equaliser late on.

Substitute Lucas Piazon broke clean through and one-on-one with Mannone, coolly slotting into the bottom corner to square proceedings against the run of play.

A frantic end to the game ensued, with chances at both ends and cries for handball for the visitors as Liam Moore blocked while going to ground, with nothing given by the referee.

Substitute Pelle Clement got the ball at the other end, chipping for Mendes in the six-yard area but his audacious overhead kick sailed over the bar.

Full-time: Reading 1-1 Fulham

Reading: Mannone, Gunter, Blackett, Moore, McShane (c), Ilori (Clement 73), Evans (Van den Berg 58), Kelly, Swift, Barrow (Popa 83), Mendes.
Unused subs: Jaakkola, Quinn, Rinomhota, Smith.
Goal: Kelly (61).
Yellow: Moore, Ilori, Swift.

Fulham: Button, Fredericks, Sessegnon, Kalas, Ream, McDonald, Norwood, Johansen (Kamara 76), Ayite (Piazon 50), Kebano (Odoi 5), Aluko (c).
Unused subs: Djalo, Edun, Rodak, Cisse.
Goal: Piazon (82).
Yellow: Kamara.
Red: Kalas.


READING FC: Lucas Piazon comes back to bite Royals as 10-man Fulham snatch a point at Madejski Stadium

Piazon, pictured in a Reading shirt above, scored the equaliser for Fulham

LUCAS Piazon came off the bench to haunt his former club after a 10-man Fulham snatched a 1-1 draw against Reading FC at Madejski Stadium.

The game got off to a flyer when Fulham's Tomas Kalas received his marching orders for a clumsy foul on Modou Barrow after just 30 seconds.

Royals piled on the pressure but struggled to break the deadlock despite numerous opportunities.

But their dominance finally told when Joseph Mendes found Kelly on the edge the box after 61 minutes. Kelly made no mistake from 18-yards, drilling home his third goal of the campaign.

Reading looked certain to take all three points but a lapse of concentration at the back saw Joey van den Berg gift former Royals' loanee Piazon a one-on-one, and the midfielder made no mistake from inside the box.

Stam welcomed captain Paul McShane into the starting line-up while Modou Barrow replaced Pelle Clement and Joseph Mendes came in for Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, who picked up an injury at Loftus Road.

Fulham's Sone Aluko was expected to be the centre of plenty of attention following his link with a switch to Berkshire during the summer transfer window and Cottagers' boss Slavisa Jokanovic named the Nigerian forward as his captain.

The match got off to a dramatic start when Tomas Kalas was dismissed after just 30 seconds on the clock.

Joseph Mendes had dispossessed the defender before playing Modou Barrow through on goal, but Kalas left a leg out and bought down the former Swansea City forward.

Referee Simon Hooper made no hesitation and reached straight for his back pocket, sending Kalas for an early bath.

Royals immediately gained control with some slick passing moves and had a shout for a penalty turned down in the eighth minute.

A deep cross from Evans was cut out by Cottagers' defence, sparking appeals from the crowd for a spot-kick.

Joseph Mendes almost opened the scoring after Tiago Ilori's defence-splitting pass found Chris Gunter on the right. The Welshman cut inside before delivering a floated cross to the far post, Frenchman Mendes got his head on the ball and forced a stellar save from David Button.

Some neat skill on the left saw John Swift drift past his man before squaring the ball perfectly to the on-rushing Blackett.

The former Manchester United defender's first touch was too heavy however and Royals squandered a chance to break the deadlock.

Reading continued to pile on the pressure and the visitors were pegged back deep inside their own half but Royals lacked a killer pass in the final third.

Despite scoring twice in midweek, it was Liam Kelly who missed the most gilt-edged chance of the first-half after an awful mistake at the back by Fulham. Button's pass was picked up by the onrushing midfielder who only had the goalkeeper to beat, but Kelly's effort was tame and Button cleared the ball for a corner.

Reading continued to probe and Modou Barrow found Blackett inside the box with a delicate pass after 34 minutes. Blackett took a touch and found Swift, who tried to make space for a shot, but he was boxed out of the area.

Oliver Norwood nearly returned to Madejski in style with a stunning effort from 25-yards out. The midfielder hit the ball first-time and forced a stunning fingertip save out of Vito Mannone.

A mix-up at the back then gifted Floyd Ayite with a chance to put the Cottagers ahead but skipper McShane was on hand to deal with the danger.

McShane then had his heart in his mouth when he saw his defensive header narrowly drift past Mannone's near post on the brink of half-time.

Reading almost broke the deadlock within moments of the restart when Swift produced a magnificent save by Button.

Supporters were already cheering when Swift's curling effort from the edge of the area looked destined for the top-corner, but Button produced a finger-tip stop to deny him.

Liam Kelly then charged towards the Cottagers' defence before finding Barrow on the right. Barrow's neat cross was aimed towards Mendes but Fulham managed to clear for a corner.

The visitors looked sharp on the counter-attack but Royals' defence managed to hold firm. Aluko was allowed to cut inside on his favoured left-foot but the shot was well wide of Mannone's post.

Sessegnon continued to threaten Royals' right-hand-side with his blistering pace. The youngster delivered a dangerous cross with 58 minutes played but captain McShane was on hand to cut it out.

But Royals eventually took the lead through Kelly, he scored his third goal in the space of five days.

Some neat work down the left saw Barrow play the ball to Mendes, the Frenchman laid the ball off to Kelly who crashed his shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

And Mendes should have doubled Reading's lead within seconds when Blackett's delivery fell perfectly onto his head. However, the striker's connection was poor and the ball looped out harmlessly for a goal-kick.

Kelly meanwhile was brimming with confidence and could have doubled his tally with 65 minutes played. He picked up the ball on the edge of the area and sent a curling shot towards goal but Button was able to smother.

Fellow midfielder Swift could have doubled Royals' lead when he picked up the ball unmarked at the far-post. The 21-year-old opted to turn his man instead of hitting the ball first time and allowed Fulham to clear the ball for a corner.

Royals looked certain to hold on to their first three points of the season a lapse in concentration at the back gifted Fulham the equaliser through former Royal Lucas Piazon.

The Brazilian midfielder was allowed to pounce on van den Berg's mistake and run clean through on goal before slotting the ball past Mannone.

The visiting fans were left outraged when Moore looked to have tripped Aboubakar Kamara. Referee Hooper blew his whistle for a foul but Moore escaped without punishment.

The pressure was then on Reading to restore their lead with just minutes remaining on the clock. Swift had an effort from 25-yards but the ball sailed well high of Button's goal.

Fulham supporters were incensed when Moore appeared to handle the ball inside the six-yard box. Referee Hooper deemed the former Leicester City player used his chest however and awarded the Cottagers a corner.

Pelle Clement teed up Mendes inside the box and the Frenchman went for glory with an optimistic overhead kick but snatched at the ball with seconds remaining.

Fulham seemed all too happy to sit back and defend for the seconds of the match and the game finished 1-1.

Reading: Mannone, Gunter, Blackett, McShane (c), Ilori (Clement, 72), Moore, Evans (van den Berg, 57), Kelly, Swift, Barrow (Popa, 83), Mendes.

Subs not used: Jaakkola, Quinn, Rinomhota, Smith.

Fulham: Button, Fredericks, Sessegnon, McDonald, Kebano (Odoi), Johansen, Ayite (Piazon, 48), Ream, Norwood, Aluko, Kalas.

Subs not used: Rodak, Edun, Djalo, Cisse, Karmara.

Bookings: Kalas (Red, 1) Moore (Yellow, 70), Ilori (Yellow, 71), Swift (Yellow, 73), Kamara (Yellow,90)

Referee: Simon Hooper

Attendance: 17,398 (2,091 away)


Ten-man Fulham dig deep to take a point at Reading

Reading laboured to a 1-1 Championship draw with a battling Fulham side that had to play almost the entire match with only 10 men.

Fulham lost centre-back Tomas Kalas to a red card with only 30 seconds gone after he had committed a last-man foul on Reading winger Mo Barrow.

Reading struggled to capitalise but made the breakthrough just past the hour, when midfielder Liam Kelly lashed in his third goal in two matches.

Fulham levelled seven minutes from time, when substitute Lucas Piazon took advantage of poor home defending.

The sides met in the play-offs semi-finals last season, with Reading going through 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage and 1-0 win at Madejski Stadium.

Reading opened their campaign this time around with a 2-0 defeat at QPR while Fulham drew 1-1 at home with Norwich.

Both teams progressed to the Carabao Cup second round in midweek, with respective 2-0 victories over Gillingham and Wycombe.

The match got off to a stunning start, when Kalas was sent off with only 30 seconds on the clock.

Barrow wriggled free just outside the Fulham area and, with a clear run on goal, was brought down by Kalas' poor challenge.

Referee Simon Hooper issued a straight red to the Czech, with Fulham head coach Slavisa Jokanovic having to react quickly by replacing midfielder Neeskens Kebano with defender Denis Odoi.

Reading made their numerical advantage count when Chris Gunter crossed from the right, with Fulham goalkeeper David Button having to make a fine save from Joseph Mendes' powerful downward header.

Fulham were forced to contain, rarely venturing into the home half, but did a solid job preventing Reading from creating too many chances.

However, from a poor backpass from former Reading player Oliver Norwood, Button had to move smartly to deny the onrushing Kelly.

Norwood almost atoned for his error with a superb 25-yard strike that was tipped over the bar by Reading keeper Vito Mannone.

Reading continued to dominate in the second half, with Button saving comfortably from Tiago Ilori's ambitious 20-yard attempt.

Button then had to hurl himself to his left to palm away Swift's curling goalbound effort from a similar distance.

Fulham replied through captain Sone Aluko but his long-range attempt fell well wide.

In the 61st minute, Fulham's resistance finally broke. Mendes laid the ball back and Kelly, who scored both goals in the cup win over Gillingham on Tuesday, drove home low and hard past Button.

But Fulham rallied bravely and, following a mistake by Joey van den Berg, former Reading loanee Piazon ran through to beat Mannone for the late equaliser and an unexpected point.


Head Coach Reaction

Slaviša Jokanović hailed what could be "a priceless point" as Fulham's battling qualities earned a 1-1 draw with Reading.

Fans were still taking their seats at the Madejski Stadium when Tomas Kalas was shown a red card for a professional foul, giving the Whites an uphill battle from the outset.

Liam Kelly's strike looked for a while as though it would be the difference between the sides, but substitute Lucas Piazon netted a fine equaliser in front of the away supporters to earn a deserved point.

"For us it's a great result in a very complicated situation," Jokanović stated. "It's not so easy for us to play with one player less in the game after half a minute.

"The team was very tactful, they defended very well, we all stuck together. 11 against 11 they are a team who has a lot of possession of the ball. They dominated us which is normal but they didn't create so many opportunities.

"We were organised, and by the end we had played 99 minutes with 10 men. It's not easy to fix all the problems. They scored a goal but we caught one of their mistakes to equalise the game. It's a priceless point for us."

Having a man sent off that early meant Jokanović had to shuffle his pack, with Neeskens Kebano promptly replaced by Denis Odoi – who went on to put in an imperious display at centre-back.

"I had to change many things," he explained. "We knew it was a long time in front of us to play with 10 men. We tried to organise ourselves a little bit differently, we tried to not give them so much space, we stuck all together.

"It wasn't easy, but we didn't plan it. We adapted very well, we showed a great attitude and great character, and after this kind of situation we must be satisfied with one point.

"We didn't have an opportunity to show our identity, our style, but we showed a different face and I can be satisfied with this face. It wasn't easy for Lucas Piazon but he finished it very well to bring us this priceless point."

Tom Cairney was named amongst the substitutes before being withdrawn from contention ahead of kick-off, but his Head Coach hopes to have him available at Elland Road.

"We are going to assess him," Jokanović said. "He was close to being part of the squad. I was thinking about using him for a short time during the game.

"It wasn't the plan to start with him, but he will be at a better level for the game we're going to play on Tuesday night against Leeds."


Reading 1-1 Fulham

Tomas Kalas' involvement against Reading lasted only 39 seconds before he was sent off for Fulham

Lucas Piazon scored against his former club to snatch 10-man Fulham a share of the points in a draw against Reading.

The Brazilian midfielder pounced on a loose Joey van den Berg backpass for the equaliser seven minutes from time.

Liam Kelly had netted his third goal in two games to give Reading the lead from the edge of the box on the hour mark.

Fulham earlier had a nightmare start when centre-back Tomas Kalas was sent off for a foul on Reading striker Mo Barrow, only 39 seconds into the game.

In a repeat of last season's Championship play-off semi-final, Kalas' bad luck at the Madejski Stadium continued.

The 24-year-old's handball in the second leg of that tie in May gave away a penalty and Reading eventually won 2-1 on aggregate.

But Slavisa Jokanovic's side here denied Reading a first league win of the season despite playing the majority of the game a man down.

The Royals were unable to add to Kelly's strike, which followed a midweek brace against Gillingham in the EFL Cup first round, as David Button made a string of fine saves.

Fulham have drawn their opening two league games 1-1 while Reading, who finished third last season, have lost one and drawn one.

Reading manager Jaap Stam:
"Disappointed? You can say that again.

"We needed to be patient and wait for that moment. Even when the opponents have only 10, it's not a guarantee that you will create loads of opportunities.

"We got the goal in the second-half and went for a second. But it didn't happen and then we gave away the equaliser."

Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic:
"It's a great result in a very complicated situation, it was not easy for us to play without one player after half a minute.

"The team showed tactical ability, they defended very well, we stuck together and were organised.

"They scored the first goal but we caught them making one mistake. That was a priceless point for us."


Reading FC 1 Fulham 1: Kelly scores again but Royals denied first league win after late equaliser

Here's our take on Saturday's game at Madejski Stadium

Reading FC had to settle for a point following a pulsating 1-1 draw with 10-man Fulham at Madejski Stadium.

Jaap Stam's side had a one-man advantage for virtually the whole game after Tomas Kalas' dismissal after 30 seconds.

Despite the numerical superiority, Royals struggled to break down a resolute Fulham team throughout the game.

Liam Kelly's strike - his third goal in four days after a brace against Gillingham in midweek - appeared to have given Reading their first Championship win of the season.

But it was a former Royal - Lucas Piazon - who struck a late equaliser to give the West London side a point from the game. The Brazilian stole in after substitute Joey van den Berg just outside the penalty area.

Piazon finished off with aplomb to deny Royals their first Championship win of the season.

The game sprang to life in the opening seconds when Kalas upended Mo Barrow and left the visitors a man down after referee Simon Hooper deemed him to be the last man.

Royals ended up dominating the opening 45 minutes, but were unable to break the deadlock.

Joseph Mendes went closest with a header which was tipped around the post by David Button, while Liam Kelly also had a decent effort when he nipped in ahead of former Royal Oliver Norwood but he was unable to beat Button.

The visitors almost took the lead late in the half when Norwood curled an outswinging effort from the edge of the area towards goal, but his effort was matched by Vito Mannone who tipped the ball over the bar.

John Swift almost broke the deadlock early in the second period when his curling shot - which was bound for the top right corner - was expertly tipped over by Button.

Recap our live text commentary of the game in the live blog here

Reading are back in action at the Mad Stad on Tuesday night, with Aston Villa the visitors to Madejski Stadium.

Reading : Mannone, Gunter, Blackett, McShane, Ilori (Clement 71), Moore, Evans (van den Berg 57), Kelly, Swift, Barrow (Popa 81), Mendes.

Subs : Quinn, Jaakkola, Rinomhota, Smith.

Fulham : Button, Fredericks, Ream, Kalas, Sessegnon, Norwood, McDonald, Johansen (Kamara 76) , Aluko, Kebano (Odoi 4), Ayite (Piazon 49).

Subs : Rodak, Edun, Djalo, Cisse.

Referee : S Hooper

Attendance: 17,398


Fulham snatch point after Kalas' early sending-off

Reading 1 Fulham 1

Substitute Lucas Piazon grabbed a late equaliser for 10-man Fulham to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

The Whites – who lost Tom Cairney to injury in the pre-match warm-up – suffered a further blow when they had defender Tomas Kalas sent off after just 35 seconds.

But the visitors battled hard and, although they fell behind to Liam Kelly's strike, Piazon earned them a deserved point with a cool finish eight minutes from time.

The game was barely under way when Kalas brought Mo Barrow down just outside the penalty area and referee Simon Hooper reached for the red card.

Sacrificing Neeskens Kebano in order to reconstruct their back four, the Whites dug in tenaciously and restricted their hosts to just a single scoring opportunity in the first 45 minutes.

That chance fell to Joseph Mendes, who rose to head Chris Gunter's cross goalwards, but David Button flung himself low to his right to turn the ball behind.

In fact, Fulham might have snatched the lead seven minutes before the break when Denis Odoi won possession to tee up Oliver Norwood, whose curling drive forced a tip-over save from Vito Mannone.

Reading began to exploit the extra space more efficiently after the restart and Odoi and Tim Ream both rescued their side with crucial challenges, while the stretching Button denied John Swift.

But the Whites' defence was exposed again just after the hour when Mendes laid off Barrow's cross with ease and Kelly drilled beyond Button from the edge of the box.

Swift might have killed Fulham off with a second goal – but instead the lively Piazon levelled matters when he pounced on Gunter's slip and scampered clear before tucking his shot past Mannone.

The visitors might even have secured victory in the closing stages as Piazon set up Kevin McDonald, but his effort struck Liam Moore and spun behind.

Fulham: Button; Fredericks, Kalas, Ream, Sessegnon; Norwood, McDonald, Johansen (Kamara 75), Kebano (Odoi 4); Ayite (Piazon 50), Aluko.


READING FC: Stam bemoans careless Royals as Fulham snatch a point at Madejski Stadium

READING FC boss Jaap Stam revealed his disappointment after a defensive mix-up allowd 10-man Fulham to snatch a late point at Madejski Stadium this afternoon.

Royals looked certain to bag all three points after Cottagers' Tomas Kalas was dismissed with less than a minute played following a clumsy challenge on Modou Barrow.

Following some intense Royals' pressure Liam Kelly put the home side in the lead shortly after an hour on the clock.

But a lacklustre pass from Dutchman van den Berg allowed former Royal Lucas Piazon to intercept the ball and charge one-on-one towards Vito Mannone.

And the Brazilian made no mistake from inside the box, calmly slotting the ball past stopper Mannone.

Dutchman Stam said he was pleased with his team's overall performance but slammed his players for gifting Fulham the equaliser.

"We knew we had to be careful because of the quality that Fulham have," asserted Stam.

"They are a good team and they have good players.

"We gave a goal away because the pass and the first touch was not good enough. They intercepted the ball and with the quality they have if you give away a one-on-one then they can finish it.

"The players need to learn from these kind of mistakes.

"It was very disappointing.

"I have no complaints about the way we played or about the intensity that the players bought to the game.

"But of course it's very frustrating that we didn't get all three points."

Royals controlled the game throughout and in truth will be disappointed not to have bagged all three points.

Stam continued: "It's a game that we controlled from the start, it helps they had a man sent off.

"We wanted to be aggressive going forward and that's how Modou Barrow ended up getting tripped.

"We created chances and we could have had a couple of shots from inside the box in the first-half but we waited too long and they were able to close us down.

"But when you are playing against teams that are set up like that you need to be patient and wait for the right moment.

"We got the goal that we wanted."

Reading now turn their attention to their third home match in a row when they welcome Aston Villa on Tuesday night.


Fulham boss knows just how big result at Reading is after fantastic battling display

It was a "priceless point" for Fulham at Reading today

Fulham boss believes the point picked up against Reading this afternoon will go a long way this season.

The Cottagers found themselves reduced to then men after just 45 seconds at the Madejski Stadium, after Tomas Kalas was sent off.

Fulham managed to compose themselves and limit the hosts in the first period, but their strong barrier was broken in the second half by Reading's Liam Kelly.

However, Lucas Piazon came on against his former side he spent time on loan at and grabbed a late equaliser to salvage a well-deserved point.

Lucas Piazon salvaged a point at Reading (Image: Lewis Darling)

Speaking after the game, Jokanovic said: "For us it's a great result in a very complicated situation.

"It's not so easy for us to play with one player less in the game after half a minute.

"The team was very tactful, they defended very well, we all stuck together. They dominated us which is normal but they didn't create so many opportunities.

"We were organised, and by the end we had played 99 minutes with ten men.

"hey scored a goal but we caught one of their mistakes to equalise the game.

"We didn't have an opportunity to show our identity, our style, but we showed a different face.

"It wasn't easy for Lucas Piazon but he finished it very well to bring us this priceless point."


Fulham set to discover extent of Tom Cairney injury picked up at Reading ahead of Leeds United trip

Tom Cairney picked up an injury in the warm-up at Reading today

Slavisa Jokanovic is hopeful that midfield star Tom Cairney will be able to travel for Tuesday night's test at Leeds United.

The Scottish ace injured himself in the warm-up at Reading this afternoon and was replaced on the substiutes' bench.

Fulham will now monitor Cairney during the next 48 hours before the journey north

"We are going to assess him," Jokanović said, post-match.

"He was close to being part of the squad. I was thinking about using him for a short time during the game.

"It wasn't the plan to start with him, but he will be at a better level for the game we're going to play on Tuesday night against Leeds."


Piazon pilfers a point for plucky Fulham
by Dan on August 12, 2017

If there was ever a man motivated to make his point at the Madjeski Stadium, then it was Lucas Piazon. Senselessly booed by the Reading fans for the crime of completing a loan spell with the Royals during last season's play-off semi-final and here this afternoon, the Brazilian midfielder seized his opportunity to both ram those taunts down the throats of the East Stand and remind Slavisa Jokanovic of his first-team credentials with a cameo that delivered a precious point for ten-man Fulham.

The visitors found themselves in strife in Berkshire once again after May's heartbreak. It happened a lot quicker this time but the cause was another controversial refereeing decision. For last season's Yann Kermogant handball, see Simon Hooper's interpretation of a clumsy challenge by Tomas Kalas on Mo Barrow. The Czech centre back dallied on the ball and was duly robbed before bringing down the Reading forward on the edge of the box. Barrow was going away from goal and had Ryan Fredericks and the excellent Tim Ream to contend with if he was to work his opening into a genuine goalscoring opportunity but Hooper, many yards behind the play, was so quick to pull out his red card after 31 seconds that he failed to flourish it properly. The official then neglected to punish several overzealous Reading challenges with a card in the remainder of the first half, leading one wag to quip that he'd left his yellow in the dressing room.

It took a while for Jaap Stam's side to make the most of their numerical advantage. Ream repelled almost every cross and Denis Odoi, employed as a centre half following Kalas' dismissal, was resoulute alongside him whilst Reading's short passing looked laboured rather than precise and fashioned few clear cut chances. A combination of David Button and Oliver Norwood redeemed themselves to block Liam Kelly's shot after a short goalkick went awry, whilst Joseph Mendes failed to profit from two free headers in the home side's brightest moments of the first half.

Fulham were largely focused on smothering Reading's attacking intentions but produced a fine flowing move shortly before half time then saw Ryan Sessegnon and Stefan Johansen energetically move the ball into a position for Oliver Norwood to strike – and the Northern Ireland international nearly marked his return to the Madjeski with a spectacular dipping effort from 25 yards but Vito Mannone tipped it over the bar.

Reading attacked with renewed vigour after the interval, but Fulham – perhaps buoyed by some stirring Jokanovic words – also showed more ambition. Both Sessegnon and stand-in skipper Sone Aluko burst past the Reading back line but couldn't extend Mannone, whilst at the other end Button fielded an ambitious effort from Tiago Illori and then made a magnificent diving stop to claw away John Swift's curler from the edge of the box.

The game was becoming much more open than a rather staid first period and that spelled danger for the ten man. Reading did duly puncture Fulham's brave resistance on the hour when Mendes expertly laid off a deep Mo Barrow cross for Royals' academy graduate Liam Kelly to drive home his third goal in two games into the bottom corner. Stam's side should have doubled their advantage immediately but, with Button stranded, Mendes headed wide an inviting Tyler Blackett cross when it seemed simpler to score.

After Swift also sent a good chance wide, Fulham began to gamble – prompted by their head coach sending on Aboubakar Kamara in search of a greater threat up front. Piazon, already on for the limping Floyd Ayite, immediately offered himself as an energetic runner down the left and Reading failed to heed the warnings offered first by a Norwood volley that was well gathered by Mannone and a slalom run from Sessegnon through the centre of the field.

Fulham's goal arrived in the blink of eye but owed much to Piazon's presence of mind and composure. Substitute Joey van der Berg slipped after being played into trouble by Tyler Blackett and the Chelsea loanee the midfielder, outfoxed Paul McShane before resisting the temptation to power a shot and picked his spot inside Mannone's far post. Piazon's ear-cupped celebration enraged the Reading supporters but his delight at offering Fulham a reward for an afternoon of determined defending was more than understandable.

There was still a frenzied final ten minutes to get through. Both sides looked likely to nick a winner – with Norwood, who never stopped running, bravely blocking a Kelly piledriver at source and referee Hooper somehow missing the fact that Liam Moore repelled Kevin McDonald's goalbound strike with his arm in the Reading box. In five heartstopping minutes of added time, the game surged from one of the field to another but Mendes' optimistic overheaded kick sailed high over Button's bar and the travelling Fulham fans were able to acclaim an excellent point in adversity.

READING (3-4-1-2): Mannone; Illori (Clement 73), McShane, Moore; Gunter, Blackett, L. Kelly, Evans (van der Berg 58); Swift; Barrow (Popa 83), Mendes. Subs (not used): Jaakola, Quinn, Rinomhota, Smith.

BOOKED: Illori, Moore, Swift.

GOAL: L. Kelly (61).

FULHAM (4-3-3): Button; Fredericks, R. Sessegnon, Kalas, Madl; McDonald, Norwood, Johansen (Kamara 76); Kebano (Odoi 5), Aluko, Ayite (Piazon 50). Subs (not used): Rodak, Djalo, Edun, Cisse.

BOOKED: Kamara.

SENT OFF: Kalas (1).

GOAL: Piazon (82).

REFEREE: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire).



Jokanovic: That was 'a priceless point'
by Dan on August 12, 2017

Slavisa Jokanovic saluted Fulham's battling qualities after his side shrugged off being reduced to ten men after 31 seconds to claim 'a priceless point' at Reading this afternoon.

The Serbian head coach had to reshape his strategy after Tomas Kalas was harshly dismissed for a challenge on Joseph Mendes in the first minute at the Madjeski Stadium but Fulham toiled manfully, even after Liam Kelly had put the Royals ahead, and got their reward through a fine Lucas Piazon strike with eight minutes remaining. Jokanovic was full of praise for his side's spirit afterwards.

    'For us it's a great result in a very complicated situation. It's not so easy for us to play with one player less in the game after half a minute. The referee was very close to the situation, he has taken the decision, that is it. I'm not going to blame the referee, it's not the first time some strange decisions happened in this stadium.

    The team was very tactful, they defended very well, we all stuck together. 11 against 11 they are a team who has a lot of possession of the ball. They dominated us which is normal but they didn't create so many opportunities. We were organised, and by the end we had played 99 minutes with 10 men. It's not easy to fix all the problems. They scored a goal but we caught one of their mistakes to equalise the game. It's a priceless point for us.

Jokanovic was pleased with his side's adaptability after the shock of Kalas receiving his marching orders so early on.

    I had to change many things. We knew it was a long time in front of us to play with 10 men. We tried to organise ourselves a little bit differently, we tried to not give them so much space, we stuck all together. It wasn't easy, but we didn't plan it. We adapted very well, we showed a great attitude and great character, and after this kind of situation we must be satisfied with one point.

    We didn't have an opportunity to show our identity, our style, but we showed a different face and I can be satisfied with this face. It wasn't easy for Lucas Piazon but he finished it very well to bring us this priceless point.


Reading FC 1-1 Fulham: Match Report
Olly gives his take on what proved to be a disappointing afternoon at the Madejski Stadium.

Photo by Harry Hubbard/Getty Images

When I got up this morning, I wasn't exactly feeling great about the afternoon's game against Fulham. Sure, it would be great to get back to the Mad Stad in the sunshine after three months, but I was a little worried that we could be in for a bit of a thrashing. The Cottagers looked good in their season opener against highly-rated Norwich and are big favourites to earn promotion in 2017/18. Reading on the other hand fell to a 2-0 defeat to not so highly-rated QPR and are in the midst of somewhat of an injury crisis. If you'd offered me a 1-1 draw I would have taken it all day long.

First Half
Yet by 3:01pm, sitting in the Madejski Stadium, my fear of a thrashing had been replaced by expectancy of a win after midfield maestro Tom Cairney was ruled out of Fulham's squad altogether and the Cottagers had been reduced to 10 men following Tomas Kalas' red card in just the 39th second. Was it a little harsh? Probably, yes. But what is for sure is that it was incredibly reckless from the defender who hacked down Mo Barrow with absolutely no intention of getting the ball whatsoever.

Fulham then did what most teams who lose a player do and sit deep and try to just defend what they have. The difference in this unique scenario was that they sat deep for 90 minutes defending a point they had earned after 39 seconds. In fairness, they did it rather well. Reading created very few chances at all in the first half as they were simply unable to make progress up the pitch due to their opponents having everyone in the Royals' final third. In contrast, the hosts had every one of their outfield players over the half way line for 90% of the first half as they tried to force their way through the barricade.

In truth, their inability to do so was also down to a lack of urgency on their part. Now, we've all become accustomed to Jaap Stam's possession-based system over the last year, but it was taken to another level today - and not in a good way. It almost seemed like we were trying to score 'the perfect goal', a sort of Jack Wilshere vs Norwich goal that won the Match of the Day goal of the season in 2013/14. But whilst Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud combined in that spectacular move, Reading were trying to replicate it with John Swift, George Evans and Joseph Mendes.

Even when a string of passes were completed, still no one put their foot through the ball. It's very telling that the Royals' best chance of the half came through a Fulham mistake as Oliver Norwood's poor back pass sent Liam Kelly through, only for the academy graduate to be denied by David Button.

Second Half
The second half began in similar fashion, as the Biscuitmen continued to seem happy to just pass the ball around in the hope that someone in black might make an error. It was slow, it was frustrating and the midfield was just crying out for Danny Williams, who made his Premier League bow with Huddersfield this afternoon, to make a driving run forward with haste. To their credit, Kelly and Barrow tried to do so but couldn't quite pull it off.

Finally, with 61 minutes on the clock, a goal arrived. Barrow's cross from the left hand side found Mendes by the penalty spot, who showed good composure to lay the ball off to an unmarked Kelly who smashed the ball into the bottom corner. A third goal in two games for the 21-year-old, all in front of the Eamonn Dolan stand too. How very fitting.

Going behind did very little to bring Fulham out of their shells initially, something that I'm sure Reading were perfectly happily with. But the Cottagers did begin to go in search of an equaliser around the 70 minute mark, which appeared to catch out Reading slightly, shown by three yellow cards in the space of four minutes. They were still very comfortable though and all the signs pointed towards the hosts seeing the game out with relative ease.

That was until substitute Joey van den Berg decided to pass the ball back to Chris Gunter with about as much power as a small child. His mistake allowed Lucas Piazon to run through on goal, with Gunter joining in on the comedy of errors by inexplicably sliding in and failing miserably, making the opportunity for the Brazilian even greater. Needless to say, Piazon took the chance.

The final ten minutes or so saw Fulham sit back again, more than happy with a point, whilst Reading appeared to just have the stuffing knocked out of them. The full-time whistle blew, and the sense around the ground was that this was a big opportunity missed for Reading.

Concluding Thoughts
At the end of the day, a point against a team likely to be right up there at the end of the campaign isn't bad and it was important to get off the mark in the league following last weekend's loss. But really it was a game that we should have won against a 10-man Fulham team that were also without their best player. The apparent inability to shoot was incredibly frustrating, as was our failure to just see the game out or get a second goal and kill the match off.

With a couple of new players set to come in (Leandro Bacuna was pictured outside the ground pre-match), and a host of names soon returning from the injury room, I don't want to make judgements on this season just yet. There's still 44 games to go and the squad and manager are still learning. Sure, today was disappointing but we've got Aston Villa on Tuesday and they lost 3-0 today...


Schoolboy Saka debuts as Arsenal U18s are thrashed by Fulham

U18 Premier League

Fulham 4 Arsenal 1 (Balogun)

Arsenal U18s commenced the new season in frustrating fashion as they were beaten 4-1 away by Fulham at Motspur Park today.

The young Gunners finished in second place in the U18 Premier League last season but on this evidence it is difficult to envisage Kwame Ampadu's side having a successful campaign this time around.

After a goalless first half Arsenal took the lead through striker Folarin Balogun but Fulham assumed control thereafter and ran out comfortable winners even though they squandered an opportunity to add to their lead from the penalty spot.

Ampadu named a starting line-up that consisted of nine second-years and one first-year, with new scholar Harry Clarke being given his debut at this level at right-back.

On the bench there were call-ups for some of the other members of the new intake in addition to schoolboy defender Bukayo Saka, who came on for his first appearance for the U18s.

Arsenal were without the services of several of their major talents, with Trae Coyle, Xavier Amaechi, Tyreece John-Jules and Jordan McEneff amongst those missing.

In addition, Alex Crean, Jay Beckford, Daniel Barden, Mark McGuinness, Bayli Spencer-Adams and Zak Swanson weren't involved, while it shouldn't be forgotten that Reiss Nelson, who is on the cusp of the first-team squad, is still eligible to play for the U18s.




Thompson-Burton-Smith Rowe


Subs: Saka (for Thompson, 46), Olayinka (for Ballard, 57), Smith (for Benson, 76). Not used: Okonkwo, Dayley-Campbell.

Fulham caused some difficulties for Arsenal in the early exchanges, but Ampadu's team managed to create some openings, with Balogun and Emile Smith Rowe both having chances to score.

The hosts started to dominate as the first half wore on and Arsenal had to be grateful to goalkeeper Joao Virginia for making some impressive stops to keep Fulham at bay.

It was Arsenal, though, who took the lead shortly after the interval, with Balogun heading in following impressive work from Smith Rowe.

The lead didn't last very long at all, however, with Fulham levelling just a minute later courtesy of Sonny Hilton, who was found by Nicolas Santos-Clase.

After coming close to making it 2-1, Fulham eventually lead for the first time in the game when Cameron Thompson sent the ball beyond the reach of Virginia and into the net.

From then on Fulham were utterly dominant, with Thompson proceeding to score a hat-trick.

One of the Fulham striker's goals was a penalty, while he also missed another spot-kick but it mattered little, with the scoreline emphatic enough already.

This was a difficult encounter for Arsenal but it is hoped that matters will improve in an attacking sense once the likes of Coyle, Amaechi and John-Jules are back in the side. Defensively, however, you could certainly be forgiven for having concerns.


Simon Hooper's display demeaned refereeing
by Dan on August 13, 2017

As someone who refereed football for far longer than I care to remember, I know how difficult the job is and I'm loathe to criticise the man in the middle. The two things that were imprinted on me as a young official were to be consistent in your decision-making and to be aware that your first judgement will set the tone for the contest. Players and supporters look for a barometer of what will punished and a barometer of what offences will carry the threat of a card – especially in such a combative and gloriously unpredictable division as the Championship. That's why Simon Hooper's first call at the Madjeski Stadium yesterday afternoon was such a crucial one.

The Wiltshire official shouldn't have needed reminding of how the last contest between Reading and Fulham ended. He would have been well briefed as to the importance of keeping things under control, especially after a rowdy pitch invasion and a questionable penalty decision that decided the play-off semi-final. To dismiss Tomas Kalas after just 31 seconds, Hooper had to absolute certain that the Czech centre halve was either denying a goalscoring opportunity or had committed a professional foul. Having gone to ground under a challenge from Joseph Mendes, Kalas does catch Mo Barrow but this seems clumsy rather than malicious.

Barrow is bursting through down the left wing channel and it isn't even clear that he is going to reach his own touch. He would have to outsprinted Ryan Fredericks and beat the covering Tim Ream to fashion a goalscoring chance as well as changing his stride pattern to go clean through on David Button. How Hooper could have made the judgement to dismiss Kalas from twenty yards behind the play in seconds is still beyond me. The fact that he was so keen to brandish his red card that he nearly dropped it showed that the referee hadn't given his decision the 'thinking time' we were always told to deploy before making a game-changing decision.

Fulham might decide to ask for the red to be rescinded but whether that decision was correct or not was not actually my main bone of contention with Hooper's patchy display. Having dismissed Kalas so early on in the contest, the referee – who has a history of controversy since becoming a Select Group official – declined to clamp down on a series of niggly fouls from the home side. He awarded Fulham ten free kicks in the first half but despite a succession of heavy challenges from Liam Moore, Tiago Illori and George Evans no caution was forthcoming. Even when Evans kicked out in retribution at Stefan Johansen after being awarded a free-kick, there was no yellow card. Such a liberal attitude to foul play was firmly at odds with Hooper's earlier decision to give Kalas his marching orders.

Hooper waited until the 70th minute to produce a yellow card and then there were a flurry, almost as if he was making up for the previous leniency. Hooper showed no desire to punish any of the Reading centre backs for their repeated infractions. Jaap Stam was allowed to withdraw Tiago Illori who, having been carded made three robust challenges on Fulham forwards, and would have been very grateful that Liam Moore wasn't shown a second yellow after taking out Aboubakar Kamara when it looked like the French forward's pace might have taken him clear. Stand-in skipper Sone Aluko did very well to take his team-mates away from the official so he could speak to Hooper himself but, at times like this, you are left wondering whether Fulham's family club feel actually works against them.

We all know that referees are the subject of hysterical and often unfair comment from players, supporters and the media. It is one of the toughest jobs going and there's little gratitude within the game for the fact that fixtures couldn't be fulfilled without somebody in the middle. But every young referee will find it a bit tougher out on the amateur pitches this week if Hooper's uneven performance is shown to the players they take charge of. I hope the select group assessor will have some frank words with the referee about a display that did him no credit.


U18: Fulham 4-1 Arsenal

Fulham beat Arsenal 4-1 in their opening match of the season. Cameron Thompson scored a hat trick in the London derby, whilst Sonny Hilton scored the first goal for the Young Whites to bring them level after going behind.

The first shot came in the fifth minute, and it was the with the Young Whites pressing. Joe Felix flicked a clever ball and spun past his defender on the right, before shooting at goal. His effort was matched with a good save.

Arsenal had their first chance a minute later. Fol Balogun went through Fulham's defence for a one on one with Luca Ashby-Hammond, the keeper rushed off his line quickly and made a crucial block.

The first quarter of an hour was tidy football from Fulham, attempting to poke holes in the Gunners' defence with Abraham and Cameron Thompson running the channels.

Emile Smith-Rowe had Arsenal's second chance of the match in the 18th minute, receiving the ball at the edge of the box, he curled an effort over the bar.

Thompson was next with an attempt, having run from midfield he shot from outside the area, but didn't trouble Joao Virginia, in-between the sticks for Arsenal.

Arsenal's defence was resilient for the first half, and the Gunners got more of a grip on the game, even though they did not have possession they were pressing high. When they did attack, Felix and Djed Spence made important blocks.

Jaydn Mundle-Smith and Zico Asare were doing well to marshal the men the were marking, not giving them any space.

The final ten minutes of the opening half saw both teams have attempts, Nicolas Santos-Clase went by himself and came close to an opener as he hooked a shot just wide of the left upright.

In the 44th minute it looked like the Whites had made the breakthrough, only to be denied by some superb goalkeeping.

Jayden Harris cleverly intercepted in midfield and linked well with Thompson. Having run the whole pitch, he slotted a ball back to Harris, and the keeper was forced into a diving save to keep the ball out of the net.

That wasn't the end of the half, as Hilton found the ball at his feet within a metre of the line. He shot point blank, but Virginia made another important save.

Hilton had a second bite at the cherry with the rebound, but a blue shirt of in the way and blocked his shot.

The second half started more hectically than the last finished. Within 90 seconds the deadlock was broken by Arsenal. Balogun found a free header inside the box, and steered it past Ashby-Hammond into the corner to take the lead.

The Whites responded instantaneously, Santos-Clase broke down the left, pulled a ball into the box for Hilton, this time he slammed his effort past the keeper to level the game within a minute of going behind.

From the restart Fulham were within a whisker of going ahead. They regained possession quickly and Kelly direct, beating his defender and shot inches wide with Viriginia rooted to the spot.

60 minutes in and Ashby-Hammond was called into action twice, saving both shots from substitute Bakayo Sako. The first was easy enough, but the second needed him to dive fully stretch to knock it past the post.

Two minutes later the Whites took the lead for the first time. Thompson collected the ball inside the area after Hilton's effort was blocked. He took his time to slot it past Virginia for the lead.

From there the Young Whites didn't look back. Two minutes after the goal, Chris Kelly sprinted into the area and was tackled from behind, the referee took no hesitation to award a penalty.

From the 12-yard spot Thompson stepped up and slammed it into the bottom left corner with the keeper guessing correctly, but couldn't reach his precise shot, creating a gap for Fulham.

Fulham were awarded another penalty as Harris was tripped up, muscling his way inside the box to give Thompson the chance to seal his hat trick.

Thompson changed direction and shot right, but at shoulder high the keeper guessed correctly to deny him.

Fulham managed the game well, Reece York had a chance to finish it the match completely, shooting from within the 6-yard line but straight at the keeper. The game was decided once and for all moments later, as Thompson collected the ball inside the box in stoppage time and tucked it inside the net to claim his hat trick.

A great display from the Young Whites saw them win in style in their first match of the season.

Fulham Line up: L.Ashby-Hammond, Felix, Spence, Francois (70' De Havilland), Asare, Mundle-Smith, Hilton, Harris, Abraham (33' Kelly), Thompson, Santos-Clase (80' York)


EFL: Tomas Kalas' 39-second red card among five things you may have missed

Tomas Kalas (laying down) lasted just 39 seconds of Fulham's visit to Reading before his sending off

The second Saturday of the EFL season produced plenty of talking points after the big scorelines and memorable moments of the opening weekend.

There was a very early sending off and a quick-fire hat-trick, plus another tough day for former Premier League champions adjusting to a new division.

BBC Sport rounds up the stories you might have missed from Saturday's action.

A very early bath for Kalas
Fulham centre-back Tomas Kalas and Reading's Madejski Stadium clearly don't get on.

The Chelsea loanee found himself at fault when the two sides met in May's Championship play-off semi-final second leg when his handball conceded what proved to be the decisive penalty for the Royals.

Less than three months later, the Czech Republic international was back in Berkshire looking to make amends and inspire his side to a first win of the campaign.

But, within 39 seconds of kick-off, he was sent off.

A foul on Reading striker Mo Barrow when the 24-year-old was the last man was enough evidence for referee Simon Hooper to show him a straight red.

But Kalac's team-mates battled back despite playing most of the game with 10 men as former Reading loanee Lucas Piazon popped up with a late equaliser in the 1-1 draw.