Author Topic: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 27/10/19...  (Read 619 times)

Offline whitejc

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Sunday Fulham Stuff - 27/10/19...
« on: October 26, 2019, 03:33:24 PM »
Results

Saturday
Sheff Wed
0-0
Leeds
Birmingham
2-1
Luton
Huddersfield
2-1
Barnsley
Hull
2-0
Derby
Middlesborough
0-0
Fulham
Millwall
2-0
Stoke
Nottm Forest
R-R
Reading
Preston NE
3-2
Blackburn
West Brom
2-2
Charlton
« Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 05:05:19 PM by whitejc »

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 27/10/19...
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2019, 07:02:43 PM »
Middlesborough 0-0 Fulham


Marek Rodak was dismissed for handling Jonny Howson's shot outside the area

Middlesbrough sank into the bottom three in the Championship after being held to a goalless draw at home by 10-man Fulham.

Boro, who had found the net only three times in their previous six games, drew another blank despite the dismissal of Whites goalkeeper Marek Rodak after just 17 minutes.

The Slovakian youngster was shown a red card for handling Jonny Howson's shot outside the area but, although Lewis Wing's second-half effort struck the post, the hosts failed to take advantage.

Aleksandar Mitrovic squandered Fulham's best opportunity to snatch the win, heading Joe Bryan's cross wide from close range.

There were half-chances for both sides in the opening stages, with Boro's Ashley Fletcher firing over the bar and Fulham unable to take advantage after Aynsley Pears spilled Bobby Decordova-Reid's cross.

But an error by Pears' opposite number left the visitors a man short as Rodak raced out of his box to deal with Wing's through ball and referee Peter Bankes ruled that the keeper had blocked Howson's attempted chip with his hand.

Josh Onomah was sacrificed as Marcus Bettinelli took over the gloves, but there was little for the replacement keeper to do as Britt Assombalonga headed Boro's best chance over the bar.

Fulham looked the better side after the break and Bryan set up an inviting chance for Mitrovic, but the Championship's top scorer misdirected his header.

Wing's 73rd-minute free-kick, which rattled the base of a post, was the nearest Boro came to registering an effort on target until injury time, when Bettinelli was finally called into action to foil Paddy McNair.

Boro, who are now winless in seven league games, slip a place to 22nd and into the relegation zone following Huddersfield's win over Barnsley.

Middlesbrough head coach Jonathan Woodgate told BBC Tees:

"When they went down to 10 men it killed the game, because they sat right back. When they had 11 on the pitch we were on top, creating chances, but when they sat the rest behind the ball we didn't really have the creativity to unlock their defence.

"We didn't pass it with any finesse, we weren't clinically strong with the passes. It was quite annoying on the sidelines because I told them at half-time 'you've got to move the ball quick and get balls in the box'.

"If you look at the last few games, we've created chances but we need to put them in the back of the net. Everyone knows that and we've got to stay with it, practise hard on the training pitch and hopefully a bit of luck falls for you.

"You can't just blame them [the strikers] - there's other people missing opportunities as well. As a group, we need to start putting them in the back of the net whether it be a centre-half, right-back or centre-forward."

Fulham head coach Scott Parker told BBC Tees:

"I feel like, even with 10 men, we had the better of it, with the better opportunities. The first shot on target for them comes in the 93rd minute.

"I think we nullified them and we looked a threat, certainly second half at times. [It was] a good point in the circumstances.

"We top a lot of stats in this league but what numbers can't measure is what the team showed today - a mentality, a desire, a real passion to try and win even in the adversity of going down to 10 men."



https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/50105996

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 27/10/19...
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2019, 07:03:44 PM »
Head Coach press conference

Scott Parker was delighted by the resilience shown by his Fulham side on Saturday afternoon at the Riverside Stadium.

After going down to ten men with over three quarters of the game left to play, Fulham dug deep and stood firm to secure a valuable point away from home.

The Head Coach was full of praise of the grit and determination shown by his side to see out the match with only ten men.

“Firstly this is the proudest I have been of this team,” Parker said. “I said that to them after in the changing room.

“I have been in this role now for 6 months and when you look at this division we top many of the stats charts.

“Whether that is possession, whether it is that we produce the most shots on target. We concede the fewest shots on our goal.

“But what the players showed me today you can’t measure. They showed desire, passion, effort and a real mentality about us.

“What we showed today is going to define us. This is a massive moment for us and a certainly a massive moment for me.

“Part of me is a little disappointed because we were in control. And even with ten men we had some good chances.

“I am absolutely delighted and I feel like this is a bit of a moment and I want my players to understand that.

“What we showed today is going to define whether we are successful or not.”


The obvious turning point in the match was the red card incident in the 17th minute when Marek Rodák was shown a straight red for handling the ball outside the area.

An obvious blow at a moment when we were starting to work our way into the match against a Boro side low on confidence.

“We started the game so well,” he said. “We were very good with 11 men.

“We showed a real quality about us and were getting in the right areas.

“We were controlling the game and we looked every bit like a side that was going to go on and win the match.

“The sending off came and we had to change it. We had to dig in and show another side to our game.

“We need to show more of that other side to our game. And today for large parts of the game we showed exactly that.

“We were still a threat with ten men. On the counter we looked like we could cause them problems.” 



http://www.fulhamfc.com/news/2019/october/26/parker-boro-press conference


Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 27/10/19...
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2019, 07:41:59 AM »
Parker proud after 10-man Fulham secure point

Middlesbrough 0 Fulham 0

Fulham picked up a point on Teesside despite goalkeeper Marek Rodak being sent off – and Scott Parker said it was his proudest moment as boss.

The Whites were reduced to 10 men when Rodak was red-carded after 18 minutes for handling the ball outside his area.

It led to summer signing Josh Onomah, who was making his first league start for the Whites, making way for substitute keeper Marcus Bettinelli.

Bettinelli was well protected by his defence, although Boro went close to breaking the deadlock when Lewis Wing’s free-kick hit the post.

Fulham’s best chance fell to Aleksander Mitrovic, who missed the target with a header from Joe Bryan’s cross.

“It’s probably the proudest I have been of my team since sitting in this position,” Parker declared.

“The players need to know how big of a moment this is. We had to show a different side to us.”

Fulham: Rodak; Odoi, Mawson, Ream, Bryan; Onomah (Bettinelli 19), Reed, Cairney; Decordova-Reid (Knockaertat 81), Mitrovic, Cavaleiro (Le Marchandat 84).




https://www.westlondonsport.com/fulham/fulham-secure-point-parker-proud-261019

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 27/10/19...
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2019, 07:46:27 AM »
Middlesbrough 0-0 Fulham: Blunt Boro slip into drop zone after failing to beat Fulham

Even with a man extra Boro failed to find a goal and had to settle for a second successive goalless draw, writes Anthony Vickers


Marek Rodak of Fulham is sent off for deliberate handball

Blunt Boro dropped into the Championship relegation zone after  frustration against Fulham.

Even with a man extra they failed to find a goal and had to settle for a second successive goalless draw.

And with Huddersfield beating Barnsley 2-1 to climb clear it left Boro third bottom.

Blunt Boro have now gone three games without a goal and seven without a win and alarm bells should be ringing.

It was a deeply frustrating day at the Riverside as Boro failed to make their numerical advantage count.

It was a golden opportunity to claw away from danger spurned.

The Cottagers had keeper Marek Rodak sent off after just 17 minutes as he came changing out of his box to prevent Jonny Howson bearing down on goal.

Boro had looked sharp against 11 men and had the better of the early chances but as Fulham dropped deeper and closed the space, the home side found it very hard to prise them open.

The team have lacked teeth all season and the lack of bite showed again as some good chances went begging.

Boro lacked finesse, urgency, creativity and confidence in the final third and for all their possession and labour rarely looked to carry much threat.

Here's the story of the match:

A selection surprise

With Ryan Shotton out injured Jonathan Woodgate opted for the surprise move of switching Paddy McNair to replace him in central defence.

McNair is no stranger to the role. He played at the back several times under Tony Pulis in the run-in last season and has even done the job in the Champions League for Manchester United.

That curve-ball selection meant Woodgate could stick by the solid defensive wing-backs shape that has evolved in recent games but it was a risk in sacrificing his most influential and consistent midfielder.

Elsewhere, fit again Hayden Coulson returned from in the left wing-back role after a 20 minute cameo from the bench in the goalless draw at Huddersfield in midweek so Marvin Johnson dropped to the bench

Youngster Coulson impressed in the first two league outings but then suffered a tendon injury.

Jonny Howson moved from midfield to the right wing-back berth with Marcus Tavernier dropping back into central midfield after playing a more advanced role in recent weeks.

Further upfield Britt Assombalonga, a sub in midweek, returned to the starting line-up to play up front with Ashley Fletcher operating off him in a bid to find the elusive goal touch that Boro have lacked.

An evenly balanced start

The two sides probed cautiously in the tentative opening spell as they tested each other out.

Boro launched the first meaningful attack in the sixth minute as Lewis Wing pinged a delightful 60 yard crossfield ball from wide on the left to pick out a run by Jonny Howson down the right.

He took a touch then fizzed a low cross into the box towards the run of George Saville but the flag went up.

Two minutes later Boro went closer as a Fulham corner was cleared quickly to send Marcus Tavernier bursting forward.

He weaved to the edge of the box with a posse of Fulham men in hot pursuit then slotted it to his right where Ashley Fletcher had arrived to collect, turn and drill over from 16 yards under pressure.

Fulham responded with a couple of raids of their own and on 11 minutes there was a hearts-in-mouths moment for Boro.

Aynsley Pears - making his home league debut - climbed to collect a routine Reid cross then feared he may step over the line on landing so dropped the ball before diving in to smother it before Mitrovic could pounce.

And soon after Fulham threatened again as Cavaliero carved into the box after playing a one-two with Reid only for Dael Fry to arrive with a blocking tackle as he fired in a low angled effort at the near post.

A pivotal moment

The dynamics of the game swung Boro’s way on 17 minutes as Fulham’s keeper Marek Rodak was sent off.

A sublime crossfield ball by Wing picked out Howson unmarked on the right with a clear run towards the goal.

Rodak came charging 10 yards out of his box and as he came sliding in to tackle Howson neatly flicked it past him  and the keeper instinctively stuck out a man to block it and was punished with a red.

That gave Boro an extra man and some momentum and in the spell that followed the red shirts swarmed forward.

Soon after a Fletcher shot caught the replacement keeper Bettinelli in the under-carriage and there was a scramble but as Assombalonga tried to latch onto the loose ball the offside flag went up and the Fulham man needed treatment.

Fulham dropped deeper and it became harder for Boro to find space.

Boro try to make the extra man count

But they kept plugging away. Howson motored down the right and drilled a low ball towards the run of Fletcher at the near post but defender Mawson stretched to stab it clear just before the striker could connect.

Busy Coulson then put in a teasing cross from the left and Fletcher again failed to connect under pressure.

And then Assombalonga headed just over at the far post after an inviting Wing ball.

But Fulham showed they still carried a threat. On 33 minutes they swarmed forward and as Boro failed to clear their lines it was pushed wide for Cairney to send a shot sizzling over.

Then soon after Reid pt in a superb cross but Pears just got a finger-tip to it to divert it away from Mitrovic who had ghosted in unmarked.

In a feisty finish to the half Tavernier was booked for a hefty tackle on Cairney then Coulson collected a yellow for  rattling Odoi.

Things get frustrating

With Huddersfield wining at Barnsley Boro had slipped into the bottom three so the need for a goal was pressing.

They dominated the early possession after the break but found it hard to prise an opening.

An overload saw Tavernier then Coulson drill balls across the face of goal but they were scrambled away.

Then on 53 minutes Howson got down the right and chipped towards the far post where both Assombalonga and Fletcher had made unchallenged runs into the six yard box but neither could profit.

But as disciplined Fulham squeezed space and the tempo dropped, frustrations started to show in the stands and on the pitches as Boro passing got scrappy and possession was squandered.

The 10 men made occasional forays forward. Cairney sent Bryan free but he dragged his shot well wide, then after a stumble on the ball by Wing, Reid stole in an tried an audacious 45 yard lob that Pears collected calmly.

And Fulham missed a glorious chance on 66 minutes as Bryan got down the left and picked out the run of Mitrovic but the dangerman put his point blank header just over the bar.

A final flurry comes to nothing

With time running out Woodgate tried to find a spark putting Marvin Johnson and Marcus Browne on for Coulson and Saville.

And Boro did perk up. They pushed more bodies forward and tried to get the ball forward with more urgency.

McNair almost engineered a break through on 72 minutes with a surging 40 yard run that ended as Reed chopped him down just outside the box on the right to earn a yellow.

And from the resulting free-kick Boro whacked the woodwork, Wing’s blistering low drive cannoning back off the near post.

Soon after Browne did well to tidy up in the box after a Fulham attack broke down and then launch and quick raid but it broke down as Wing’s ball to Assombalonga was intercepted.

Boro threatened on 83 minutes as McNair picked up a loose ball just outside the box but his rifled drive clipped a body in the box and deflected wide.

As the clock ran down Boro looked increasingly desperate as they laboured away with little finesse.


 Daniel Ayala challenges Aleksandar Mitrovic of Fulham

They could have snatched it in stoppage time as Browne buzzed down the right and put a good ball into the box for McNair to drill through the legs of a defender from 10 yards out but the keeper saved it.

BORO: (3-5-2) Pears; Ayala, McNair, Fry; Howson, Wing, Saville (Browne, 64) Tavernier, Coulson (Johnson 67); Fletcher, Assombalonga.

Subs: Mejias, Dijksteel, Bola, Clayton, Liddle

 FULHAM (4-3-3): Rodak; Bryan, Ream, Mawson, Odoi; Cairney, Reed (Knockaert, 80), Onomah (Bettinelli,18); Decordova-Reid, Mitrovic, Cavaleiro (Le Marchand, 84).

Subs:  McDonald, Johansen, Sessegnon, Kamara.

Attendance: 19, 101



https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/middlesbrough-0-0-fulham-blunt-17152803

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 27/10/19...
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2019, 07:47:57 AM »
Fulham hold on for Riverside point despite losing goalkeeper Rodak to early red


Middlesbrough’s goalscoring problems continued as 10-man Fulham left the Riverside Stadium with a point and a goalless draw.

Boro, booed after the whistle by their fans, dropped into the relegation zone after being unable to find a solution to their lack of goals and poor form despite the Cottagers having goalkeeper Marek Rodak sent off in the 17th minute.

The Slovakian shot-stopper was penalised by referee Peter Bankes for deliberate handball after he misjudged his charge out of his box and Jonny Howson tried to flick the ball over his head.

Despite complaints from Rodak and the rest of the Fulham team, there was no changing Bankes’ decision and midfielder Josh Onomah was immediately replaced by back-up keeper Marcus Bettinelli.

Before that Fulham, looking to climb into the play-off zone, had looked the better side, even though Middlesbrough’s young goalkeeper Aynsley Pears was not asked many questions.

Pears, making his second league appearance since replacing the injured Darren Randolph in midweek, did well to gather when it looked like he might have made a mess of Tom Cairney’s cross that was dropping towards the net.

Apart from another Cairney effort that flew over the bar from distance after Rodak’s dismissal, Middlesbrough created a couple of better chances but lacked confidence in and around the penalty box.

Striker Ashley Fletcher, without a goal since August, wasted the best chance when he fired over after Marcus Tavernier had managed to play him in behind the Fulham defence early on.

Howson probably would have scored had Rodak not intervened when the wing-back was sent clear by the influential Lewis Wing’s diagonal pass.

And Britt Assombalonga, whose only goal since August against Preston was credited to him by the EFL’s dubious goals committee, wasted a free header at the back post when Wing picked him out.

Fulham still looked more dangerous when they got into the final third. Only Wigan have scored fewer goals than Middlesbrough – who have won just twice this season – in the Championship this term and it showed because they lacked conviction in the final third.

The closest they came in the opening exchanges of the second half was when neither Assombalonga nor Fletcher could turn in Howson’s delivery to the back post.

That led to frustrations growing among the Middlesbrough fans, who got annoyed by a patient build-up play before a wayward Fletcher header from Hayden Coulson’s cross on the hour.

But Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, fresh from his hat-trick against Luton in midweek, had the best chance when he headed over from eight yards after climbing to meet Joe Bryan’s cross.

Wing did strike the foot of the post with a free-kick from 25 yards but the mood was clearly one of frustration as time and again occasional attacks broke down.

There was also a goalbound Paddy McNair effort that deflected just wide off Alfie Mawson and another from the Northern Ireland international in stoppage time that was straight at Bettinelli as 10-man Fulham survived.



Read more at https://www.fourfourtwo.com/news/fulham-hold-riverside-point-despite-losing-goalkeeper-rodak-early-red#gFsgU6IdXtMfT7Cj.99


Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 27/10/19...
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2019, 07:49:34 AM »
Result: Ten-man Fulham hold on for Middlesbrough stalemate

Middlesbrough's goalscoring problems continued as 10-man Fulham left the Riverside Stadium with a point and a goalless draw.

Boro, booed after the whistle by their fans, dropped into the relegation zone after being unable to find a solution to their lack of goals and poor form despite the Cottagers having goalkeeper Marek Rodak sent off in the 17th minute.

The Slovakian shot-stopper was penalised by referee Peter Bankes for deliberate handball after he misjudged his charge out of his box and Jonny Howson tried to flick the ball over his head.

Despite complaints from Rodak and the rest of the Fulham team, there was no changing Bankes' decision and midfielder Josh Onomah was immediately replaced by back-up keeper Marcus Bettinelli.

Before that Fulham, looking to climb into the play-off zone, had looked the better side, even though Middlesbrough's young goalkeeper Aynsley Pears was not asked many questions.

Pears, making his second league appearance since replacing the injured Darren Randolph in midweek, did well to gather when it looked like he might have made a mess of Tom Cairney's cross that was dropping towards the net.

Apart from another Cairney effort that flew over the bar from distance after Rodak's dismissal, Middlesbrough created a couple of better chances but lacked confidence in and around the penalty box.

Striker Ashley Fletcher, without a goal since August, wasted the best chance when he fired over after Marcus Tavernier had managed to play him in behind the Fulham defence early on.

Howson probably would have scored had Rodak not intervened when the wing-back was sent clear by the influential Lewis Wing's diagonal pass.

And Britt Assombalonga, whose only goal since August against Preston was credited to him by the EFL's dubious goals committee, wasted a free header at the back post when Wing picked him out.

Fulham still looked more dangerous when they got into the final third. Only Wigan have scored fewer goals than Middlesbrough – who have won just twice this season – in the Championship this term and it showed because they lacked conviction in the final third.

The closest they came in the opening exchanges of the second half was when neither Assombalonga nor Fletcher could turn in Howson's delivery to the back post.

That led to frustrations growing among the Middlesbrough fans, who got annoyed by a patient build-up play before a wayward Fletcher header from Hayden Coulson's cross on the hour.

But Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, fresh from his hat-trick against Luton in midweek, had the best chance when he headed over from eight yards after climbing to meet Joe Bryan's cross.

Wing did strike the foot of the post with a free-kick from 25 yards but the mood was clearly one of frustration as time and again occasional attacks broke down.

There was also a goalbound Paddy McNair effort that deflected just wide off Alfie Mawson and another from the Northern Ireland international in stoppage time that was straight at Bettinelli as 10-man Fulham survived.



https://www.sportsmole.co.uk/football/fulham/result/result-ten-man-fulham-hold-on-for-middlesbrough-stalemate_376390.html

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 27/10/19...
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2019, 07:51:46 AM »
 Middlesbrough 0-0 Fulham: Boro drop into bottom three with stalemate
Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash at the Riverside Stadium

Middlesbrough's goalscoring problems continued as 10-man Fulham left the Riverside Stadium with a point and a goalless draw.

Boro, booed after the whistle by their fans, dropped into the relegation zone after being unable to find a solution to their lack of goals and poor form despite the Cottagers having goalkeeper Marek Rodak sent off in the 17th minute.

The Slovakian shot-stopper was penalised by referee Peter Bankes for deliberate handball after he misjudged his charge out of his box and Jonny Howson tried to flick the ball over his head.

Despite complaints from Rodak and the rest of the Fulham team, there was no changing Bankes' decision and midfielder Josh Onomah was immediately replaced by back-up keeper Marcus Bettinelli.

Before that Fulham, looking to climb into the play-off zone, had looked the better side, even though Middlesbrough's 21-year-old goalkeeper Aynsley Pears was not asked many questions.

Pears, making his second league appearance since replacing the injured Darren Randolph in midweek, did well to gather when it looked like he might have made a mess of Tom Cairney's cross that was dropping towards the net.

Apart from another Cairney effort that flew over the bar from distance after Rodak's dismissal, Middlesbrough created a couple of better chances but lacked confidence in and around the penalty box.

Striker Ashley Fletcher, without a goal since August, wasted the best chance when he fired over after Marcus Tavernier had managed to play him in behind the Fulham defence early on.

Howson probably would have scored had Rodak not intervened when he was sent clear by the influential Lewis Wing's diagonal pass.

Britt Assombalonga, whose only goal since August against Preston was credited to him by the EFL's dubious goals committee, wasted a free header at the back post when Wing picked him out.

Fulham still looked more dangerous when they got into the final third. Only Wigan have scored fewer goals than Middlesbrough - who have won just twice this season - in the Championship this term and it showed because they lacked conviction in the final third.

The closest they came in the opening exchanges of the second half was when neither Assombalonga nor Fletcher could turn in Howson's delivery to the back post.

That led to frustrations growing among the Middlesbrough fans, who got annoyed by a patient build-up play before a wayward Fletcher header from Hayden Coulson's cross on the hour.

But Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, fresh from his hat-trick against Luton in midweek, had the best chance when he headed over from eight yards after climbing to meet Joe Bryan's cross.

Wing did strike the foot of the post with a free-kick from 25 yards but the mood was clearly one of frustration as time and again occasional attacks broke down.

There was also a goalbound Paddy McNair effort that deflected just wide off Alfie Mawson and another from the Northern Ireland international in stoppage time that was straight at Bettinelli as 10-man Fulham survived.

What the managers said...

Boro boss Jonathan Woodgate:
"We had the game plan set out for how we wanted to play and I thought we executed that well and we had chances before he was sent off and once he was sent off, especially after half-time, we sat back and didn't have the creativity in the team to break it down, it's as simple as that.

"I wanted them to move the ball quickly through the pitch and they were taking time with their passing, they weren't moving it the way I wanted them, from side-to-side quickly and getting balls into the box, that didn't happen."

Fulham boss Scott Parker: "It's probably the proudest I have been of my team since sitting in this position.

"I have been in this job for six months and when you look at this division we top most of the stats, but what a number can't measure about the players is the desire, passion and effort and a mentality about them which is going to define us."



https://www.skysports.com/football/mboro-vs-fulham/report/409508

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 27/10/19...
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2019, 07:54:56 AM »

Cottage Talk Full Time With Former Fulham Player Rob Wilson : Our Initial Reaction’s To Fulham’s Draw

Take a listen to a podcast that focuses on Fulham Football Club.

This show is our initial reactions to Fulham’s draw against Middlesbrough. Russ Goldman and Emilio Di Nello were joined by former Fulham player Rob Wilson, who was at the Riverside Stadium for the match. Rob shared his view on the draw, and what it means to Fulham. Later on he gave an update on his prediction for automatic promotion that he made over the summer.


Lastly, you can listen to the show by following this link...
https://cottagersconfidential.sbnation.com/2019/10/26/20933769/cottage-talk-full-time-with-former-fulham-player-rob-wilson-our-initial-reactions-to-fulhams-draw


Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 27/10/19...
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2019, 07:55:29 AM »
Parker proud as ten-man Fulham battle for point

No wonder Scott Parker said this fighting draw at the Riverside Stadium was the proudest he’d been of his Fulham players. The Whites battled hard to claim a point in the north east – playing more than seventy minutes with ten men after goalkeeper Marek Rodak was sent off for handling the ball outside his penalty area.

Such was Fulham’s resolution that Rodak’s replacement in goal, the recently dropped Marcus Bettinelli, was only forced into one serious save – when he gathered Paddy McNair’s drive in the final minute of stoppage time – and the visitors might feel aggrieved at leaving Teesside with just a point having created the clearer chances despite their numerical disadvantage. Aleksandar Mitrovic missed a good opportunity from a couple of yards out in the first half and should have done better than head over Joe Bryan’s inviting cross after the break, while Tom Cairney fired just wide.

This was a second successive goalless draw for Jonathan Woodgate’s Middlesbrough, who looked toothless in attack as they dropped into the Championship relegation zone. Their profligacy in front of goal was on show before Rodak’s early departure as Ashley Fletcher steered wastefully wide after Marcus Tavernier had led a lightning quick counter-attack following a Fulham corner.

Fulham showed their own intent with captain Cairney extending Aynsley Pears with a swerving strike from distance and Dael Fry bravely blocked a drive from Mitrovic, who was looking to pick up from where he had left off against Luton in midweek. But the Londoners’ fortunes took a turn for the worse after Rodak’s ill-advised dash from his box saw him beaten to Lewis Wing’s through ball by Jonny Howson and the Slovakian was red carded as he blocked the former Norwich midfielder’s finish with his hands.

That forced Parker into a quick reorganisation with Josh Onomah’s first start for Fulham seeing him replaced by Bettinelli, but the visitors were still looking threatening on the break. Nine minutes before the break, Ivan Cavaleiro and Bobby Decordova-Reid combined well down the right and Mitrovic somehow failed to supply the finishing touch to a low cross with the ball deflecting away to safety.

Boro saw plenty of the ball but struggled to fashion clear-cut openings with the closest the hosts came to a goal before the break seeing Britt Assombalonga head harmslessly wide after drifting inside Denis Odoi to reach a dangerous cross from Wing. The second half followed a similar pattern, with Fulham happy to try and blunt Boro’s ambition, but Parker’s side were by no means content to simply sit down behind the ball.

They carved out the first chance of the second period when some clever interplay between Cairney and Bryan released the Fulham full back behind the Boro defence but Bryan lacked the belief to go for goal himself and his low cross flashed through the six-yard box and away to safety. Bryan provided an even better opening a quarter of an hour later when he floated into a lovely cross for Mitrovic, but the Serbian striker headed over from four years out. A man of his quality should have done better.

By now, the Riverside natives were getting restless. The home fans were less than impressed with their side’s lack of ruthlessness as twice good crosses from Howson and Hayden Coulson were not vigorously attacked by men in red. Boro’s best opportunity came from a dead ball when Wing was unlucky to see his low strike cannon back off the outside off the post after Harrison Reed had crudely halted a threatening run from McNair.

The former Manchester United utility man provided Boro’s only shot on target in the final minute of added time but his deflected strike was easily held by Bettinelli. The draw felt like a missed opportunity for Middlesbrough to shake off their recent malaise and extended their scoreless run to more than four and a half hours.

Fulham would have been targeting a rare away victory prior to kick off, but Parker was delighted both by his side’s character after the sending off and a first clean sheet in six games. ‘This is the proudest I have been of this team,’ he said afterwards. ‘I have been in this role for 6 months and we top many of the division’s stats charts. Whether that is possession, whether it is that we produce the most shots on target. We concede the fewest shots on our goal. But what the players showed me today you can’t measure. They showed desire, passion, effort and a real mentality about us. What we showed today is going to define us. This is a massive moment for us and a certainly a massive moment for me.’

MIDDLESBROUGH (3-5-2): Pears; McNair, Fry, Ayala; Howson, Coulson (Johnson 67), Wing, Saville (Brown 64), Tavernier; Fletcher, Assombalonga. Subs (not used): Mejias, Dijksteel, Clayton, Bola, Liddle.

BOOKED: Tavernier, Coulson.

FULHAM (4-3-3): Rodak; Odoi, Bryan, Mawson, Ream; Reed, Onomah (Bettinelli 19), Cairney; Cavaleiro (Le Marchand 84), Decordova-Reid (Knockaert 81), Mitrovic. Subs (not used): S. Sessegnon, McDonald, Johansen, Kamara.

BOOKED: Odoi, Reed.

SENT OFF: Rodak (17).

REFEREE: Peter Bankes (Merseyside).

ATTENDANCE: 19,101.



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