Author Topic: Jack and Loz at the Cottage - Blog 111  (Read 601 times)

Offline Friendsoffulham

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Jack and Loz at the Cottage - Blog 111
« on: September 29, 2019, 11:48:37 AM »
Jack and Loz at the Cottage - Blog 111

Date: 27th September 2019

Opposition: Wigan Athletic

Score: 2-0

Fulham knee sliders: Joe Bryan, Tom Cairney

Weather: autumnal

Atmosphere: there was some terrific singing, particularly in the second half

MOTM (football): we want to give this to Joe Bryan, the thinking fan's left back, for his Exocet missile of a goal, his part in the clean sheet and his all round excellence. But on Friday night Joe was a West Country Rafa Nadal, unlucky to coexist in the same era as a (faux) Scottish Novak Djokovic. Two seasons ago Tom Cairney was the best player the Championship. He's not quite back to that level yet but his control of the midfield, his coverage of the pitch, his skilful defensive work (!) and most of all his perfectly weighted, exquisitely aimed strike into the top corner of the goal shows he's not far away

MOTM (non-football): it was great to see Barry Hayles back at the Cottage

Pub: we went to the OSP where there was live music. The singer was good but the volume was too loud for people wanting to discuss inverting inverted wingers

It would be fair to say that Fulham fans haven't had the start to the season we were hoping for. It hasn't been dire or embarrassing or dangerous but is has been frustrating and annoying. We have said it before but, so far, the team hasn't fulfilled its potential, particularly in attack. In fact, things have been a lot like they were 2 years ago with a series of disappointing 1-1 draws and no Plan B when things aren't going our way. What makes it worse is that 2 years ago we had a front 3 of Fonte, Ayite and Kebano and a lot of our goals were scored or created by Ryan Sessegnon, then 17, playing at left back. This season we have a team purpose-built to storm the league but while there have been flickers of promise our season hasn't yet exploded into life.

We would like to say this all changed on Friday night but that wouldn't be entirely true. Wigan are a newly promoted side who play football in an unimaginative, one-dimensional way. The one dimension is tall and big but that didn't seem to help them much. When they had the ball they didn't really know what to do with it. When they didn't have the ball the method they used to win it back is described in the English courts as Common Assault. They are the worst footballers Fulham have played this year and yet we made hard work of beating them.

The first half was 45 minutes of stop-start football interspersed with some shots from Mitro and Knockaert, some wasted corners and some good work from the Wigan goalkeeper. The two very contrasting styles did not blend into attractive football and it was turgid rather than edge-of-the-seat stuff. Wigan fans would have been a lot happier to reach the break goalless than we were and we ventured out for our half time pie and Twix (more on that expedition later) expecting improvement but fearing it might not come.

Fortunately, the second half was a lot better. We didn't see Plan B but we didn't need to - Plan A just worked better. Whist it was by no means a perfect half of football Fulham eliminated all the usual mistakes: we moved the ball forward more quickly, sometime Marcus kicked it long (and it worked!), we had more chances, a lot more shots and a lot less pointless possession. Whilst there were glimmers of the Triangle of Doom, the defence looked a lot more solid and Tim Ream was impervious and imperious at its heart.

Scott got his player selection just right - this was a game made for the guile and graft of Stefjo who looked almost balletic at times as he flicked and forced the play forwards. Harrison Reed cemented his place in front of the back 4, Bobby-Bobby used his pace to open up gaps when he came on and this was a much better cameo from Onomah than his first. Finally, we would like to congratulate Harry Arter for being in the pitch for over 10 minutes without getting into trouble of any sort!

2-0 was really the minimum acceptable score in this game and we made it hard for ourselves. After Joe's fantastic early breakthrough we should have pressed harder and quicker to score again and the floodgates might have opened. As it was, we entered that familiar nightmarish period of being only 1 goal up and knowing that with every minute that passed the opposition was more and more likely to score. The best thing about Tom's beautiful arcing effort was not therefore its artistry but that fact it was the holiest of grails: the Second Fulham Goal.

This a result to learn from and to build on. It was satisfying but not wholly convincing. We are becoming hard to beat but frailties remain.

Random musings:-

- for the record, with thought Joe's knee slide was the best

- Scotty Parker blew a kiss to the Hammy End after the game. Specifically to H7. Possibly

- on a more serious note, whilst we are excited about the redevelopment of the Riverside Stand, the ongoing construction works are causing chaos in the circulation areas at half time. The area in the corner between the Hammy and the Riverside is lit only by the lights from the bar and George Cohen's statue and, worse than that, descending from the H7 steps to the walkway behind is like a journey into hell: there are too many people into too small a space all trying to go in different directions. Of course, as Fulham fans, politeness and civility prevail but it is only going to take one small incident or even just one extra person to cause disorder and potentially worse. We would respectfully suggest this is something the Club needs to look at

- the best part of our Dante-esque voyage to buy our half time snacks was the lady who served us who treated pie, chocolate, tea and us with the same care and attention as she would have done if we were dining at the Ritz

Friday night's match was the start of (on paper at least) an easier run of games for Fulham and it's good that we cleared the first hurdle cleanly, if not effortlessly. Now we must race on and not let up. The league is anyone's to claim. We must grab it by the scruff of the neck (or, as Scott Parker might prefer, the collar of the shirt) while we can.

Offline Southcoastffc

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Re: Jack and Loz at the Cottage - Blog 111
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2019, 01:36:19 PM »
Thanks for that. I really enjoy these blogs;  well-written, entertaining, witty and an all-round good read.

Offline Twig

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Re: Jack and Loz at the Cottage - Blog 111
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2019, 04:04:56 PM »
Yes, an enjoyable read.