Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Fulham 1 Spurs 0 (Reserves)

This game was most notable for showcasing the continuing rehabilitation of Moritz Volz for Fulham, and Ledley King for Spurs.

King was instantly recognisable by virtue of his physique, being one of several imposing Spurs players on show, compared to the comparatively small stature of the Fulham team: only Leijer carrying any kind of physical presence.

The quality of play was dubious in the opening minutes with a slew of unforced errors from both teams.

Wayne Routledge, on his return to the Cottage, was soon demonstrating his deft control and quick wits down the right wing, with left back Anderson the unfortunate victim on a number of occasions. He was moved to a central position by Spurs in the second half with slightly less influence.

Both sides gradually improved throughout the game, with the second half seeing some sustained phases of passing and movement from the visitors: pressure that required, at times, some frantic defending from the Whites. Fulham did create some openings of their own: a defensive error provided Lewis Smith with a fine chance on the edge of the box that was squandered by his taking an extra touch. Alnwick saved the ground shot well with his right foot.

Volz looked comfortable throughout his 60 minute spell, and his fitness appeared adequate for the reduced demands of a reserve game. He produced one trademark overlapping run in the second half, released by a fine ball from the impressive Bradley Hudson-Odoi. The Fulham defender charged into the area and squared the ball to the Ishmael Ehui, eager and willing all game, who put his shot wide.

A stalemate looked an unavoidable, and fitting, outcome when, with a few minutes remaining, Ehui tricked his way past a defender into left side of the box and shot across the keeper for the winning goal.

Fulham’s most notable performer was Leijer who, as captain, looked composed throughout, and always comfortable on the ball, his centre back partner Ashley Thompson also impressing. Rob Milsom was suggestive of Alexei Smertin in his play: covering good ground, showing composure and vision, and with good distribution. Hudson-Odoi looked confident and skilful on the right wing.

So, no epiphanies, no players smashing down the door to the first team, but a few who aren’t that far off, and a few showing some promise.

Warner, Volz (Ashton 60), Thompson, Leijer (captain), Anderson, Hudson-Odoi (Goncalves 75), Saunders, Milsom, Brown, Smith, Ehui

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