Discussion in 'TSL: Club Pages' started by hokie79, Mar 13, 2012.
New Manager hopes to bring Fulham a trophy and promotion
After a disappointing end to his first season - missing out on the Serie C trophy on the final match - Manager Hokie79 decided to leave Italy for a move to London to try take Fulham to the top league. It was a tough decision leaving a very talented club in Fiorentina - a club he will have to face twice in Serie B, but he felt it was the right move at the time stating....
"I left the team in better shape when I came in. I got them promoted to Serie B...I wish I had a trophy to show for it as well but that is football. Now I bring with me my
ambitions to Craven Cottage and wish La Viola the best as well". It will be a tough road ahead for an aging lineup, but Hokie79 believes he can find the same magic he had back in Italy and instill some defensive discipline. The question left to be answered is will he be able to find enough offense to win enough points for promotion or better yet the trophy he's seeking.
Disappointing start of the season leads to strategic changes in Craven Cottage
Taking just 5 points out of 18 to start the season, Manager Hokie79 has gone back to the drawing board to shake things up. Revisiting his Starting XI and formation, he intends to go back to more attacking football in hopes to rediscover good form and apply pressure to their opponents. The hope is to score more and play with the lead - in the current season Fulham has rarely held a lead and often score only when falling behind. This sees the London club in the battle for relegation and far from the battle for promotion.
"I am seeing an improvement in our performance from Day 1, however the results are not improving. We need 3 points going forward, not 1...Draws are not good enough for me."
Only a matter of time will tell if this will be good enough for Fulham to recover from a disasterous start of the young season.
In the latest TSO Power Rankings - Fulham was nowhere to be seen as they have started to lose the respect of their opponents. A change of philosophy and style may start to change that - if not, it will be back to Serie C for Fulham FC.
Matchday 2: FULHAM vs EVERTONCraven Cottage
Facts1 Goals 1
8 Shots 9
5 SOT 3
48 Possession 52
24 Tackles 11
3 Fouls 2
1 Offsides 0
2 Corners 2
62 Shot% 33
71 Pass % 78 Cahill (57') Unassisted Dembele (90') UnasssitedFulham fights for 1-1 draw in late stages in LondonFulham struggled in their home opener as they fought back to claim 1 point in 1-1 draw against Everton. Fulham was tamed for the first 85 minutes as Everton controlled the midfield and the match. It was a slow game overall, with both offenses unable to unlock the defense or string together passes in the attacking third. Some early chances were also wasted by the visitors which could have opened up the game a bit. As it turned, it was the visitors who opened the account to the new season when Cahill found a rebound just outside the box and turning in a well-placed shot in the far low post beating Schwarzer with ease. It looked to be enough as Fulham couldnt muster an attack until injury time - when A.Johnson was able to pick up a loose ball and put in a cross in the box. A flurry and save by Howard saw Dembele with an open header and net off the rebound in the frantic closing seconds to salvage an undeserved point.
Man of the Match -T. Howard [9.6 Rating]
Braga vs Fulham3 Goals 2
10 Shots 9
7 SOT 4
51% Possession 49%
13 Tackles 18
1 Fouls 0
1 Offsides 1
0 Corners 4
70 Shot% 44
77 Pass % 77Events Mossoro 23' Alan Mossoro 30' Barbosa Johnson 65' Dembele Viana 68' Alan Johnson 89'
Dinamo Moscow Vs. Fulham1 Goals 17 Shots 65 SOT 347 Poss 5314 Tackles 331 Fouls 20 00 00 Offsides 11 Corners 1Match Events: 56' Voronin 70' DembeleSchwarzer-GK-Fulham
Montpellier 2 Fulham 1
9 shots 5
8 shots on target 4
46 poss 54
12 tackles 11
2 fouls 4
3 corners 2
88 shot acc 80
78 pass acc 81
S. Camara in the 61st from Utaka
Dembele in the 65th from Johnson
Game winner from Giroud in the 81 from Marveaux corner kick
Man of the match was Marveux 8.50
Joudren had 5 saves, Schwarzer had 7
Matchday 5: CELTIC vs FULHAM
Facts1 Goals 28 Shots 113 SOT 344 Possession 5614 Tackles 300 Fouls 00 Offsides 10 Corners 32 00 037 Shot% 2768 Pass % 76 A. Johnson (25') Etuhu Hangeland (49') Riise Stokes(65') HooperFulham gets first win of the season with 2-1 victory over CelticFulham earns first victory under new manager Hokie79 with a hard earned 2-1 victory in Ireland. The game started hectically - with both teams trying to dominate the middle - but it was the visitors who started maintaining possession after the flurry in the first few minutes. Johnson opened the game up with a well placed strike on the top corner for the 1-0 lead, which Fulham kept thru halftime. Shortly after the break, the visitors doubled up the lead when Hangeland nodded in from a corner - the big man getting his first goal. The home fans urged Celtic - and the tide started to changed as they pushed for a goal that they will eventually get from good pressure - and their duo combined well together on a 1-2 for an easy open net goal. IT was game on from then, both sides wasting good chances - with Celtic almost finding the equalizer twice. On the other end, the visitors couldnt take advantage on the counter.It was a much needed 3 points as Fulham could not afford losing 3 of their first 4 matches this season. Manager Hokie79 can feel good of improvement from their play - 4 points in 4 games isn't good but the performance of the team is improving.
Man of the Match - Hangeland [9.7 Rating]
Matchday 4: QPR - Fulham2 Goals 013 Shots 86 SOT 349% Poss 51%20 Tackles 63 Fouls 20 00 00 Offsides 04 Corners 1Match Events Onuoha Cisse Zamora BartonM. Schwarzer ( Fulham goalkeeper with 9.60 rating)
Coppa Match 1 - Group B: Stades Renne 1-1 Fulham5 (3) Shots (SOT) 4 (1)45% Possession 55%20 Tackles 311 Fouls 20 00 01 Offsides 00 Corners 0Match Events: J Kembo Ekoko (56') Y. Hadji C. Dempsey (65') J. RiiseMOTM: Sidwell
Group B - Match 2
VfL Wolfsburg vs. FulhamEvents2 [Goals] 28 [Shots] 113 [Shots on Target] 542% [Possession] 58%20 [Tackles] 150 [Fouls] 237% [Shot Accuracy] 45%69% [Pass Accuracy] 78%0 [Offsides] 12 [Corners] 10 00 0Facts[Goals] G. Sio (11') C. Dempsey (48') A. Johnson (72')M. Mandzukic (73')[Assists]VieirinhaA. JohnsonB. RuizT. Hitzisperger[Man of the Match]M. Schafer8.70 Match Rating
Matchday 8: FULHAM vs GALATASARAYCraven Cottage
Facts3 Goals 1
8 Shots 7
5 SOT 2
49 Possession 51
22 Tackles 16
0 Fouls 3
1 Offsides 0
2 Corners 0
62 Shot% 33
67 Pass % 73 Elmander (2') Baytar Duff (10') A. Johnson Dempsey (33') Unassisted Hangeland (45') DuffMOTM: Schwarzer 9.8 Rating - 8 savesFulham earns second win in 3-1 battle at the CottageA bad start to the season got even worse as an early goal by the Turkish visitors rattled the home side even before their fans settled in. After 2 minutes, Elmander opened things up in what would be an exciting opening half. Fulham got back into it when Duff slotted home at the 10 minute mark. It would get better for the home side as their luck started to turn. Their American hero Clint Dempsey had his shot blocked - but he was first to react as the ball popped in the air - cleaning up from a tight angle to take the 2-1 lead. Then luck showed again - this time on the other end, as Schwarzer made a fine save but the ball was slowly bouncing along the goal line before it was cleared off the line by Riise. Right before the break - another lucky bounce found its way to Hangeland in a corner situation - the big man scoring his second goal of the season for a flattering 3-1 lead. The visitors deserving more than that at half.The second half turned somewhat sloppy and unspectacular after a scintillating first half - as both teams turned the ball over in mid-field - however it was the Turkish side who had a couple chances but couldn't find the target. Fulham played for the counter but was careful not to concede - and the match finished 3-1. An important 3 points for the Londoners as they try to climb out after a disastrous first 6 games as Manager Hokie79 looks to turn their season around."The performance wasnt complete - we had moments but lady luck was also on our side today. This is football - after two minutes I thought the worst, But my team battled back and found themselves in the right spot at the right time. We needed this - may
Matchday 10: FULHAM vs DINAMO MOSCOWCraven Cottage
Facts4 Goals 110 Shots 126 SOT 1054 Possession 4631 Tackles 114 Fouls 20 Offsides 01 Corners 00 00 060 Shot% 8374 Pass % 80Dembele (14') A. Johnson Dembele (16') A. Johnson A. Johnson(37') Dembele Veronin(43' Pen)Hangeland (66') Duff MOTM: Schwarzer 9.7 Rating Fulham puts 4 past Dinamo to pick up another victory in London
Dembele and Johnson teamed up early and often as the duo combined for 3 early goals to help Fulham cruise to another 3 points. A. Johnson was provider for back to back goals as he found Dembele in the box for headers. Dembele turned provided for the third - this time Johnson heading in the goal. The visitors pulled one back through a clumsy challenge inside the box that Veronin easily converted for a 3-1 halftime deficit.
Fulham put the game out of reach as Hangeland collects yet another goal from a corner - his third goal of the season for the final 4-1 scoreline. The visitors had their chances to turn the game around - but couldnt get shots past MOTM Schwarzer. The result continued a good run of form for the London club - who are trying to recover from a bad start to the season.
GROUP B MATCH 3: FULHAM vs EVERTONCraven Cottage
Facts0 Goals 012 Shots 36 SOT 156 Possession 4423 Tackles 131 Fouls 10 Offsides 04 Corners 10 00 050 Shot% 3383 Pass % 78 MOTM: Etuhu 9.4 RatingFulham and Everton struggle to a scoreless draw in London With both teams looking for a valuable 3 points that could propel them up in Group B, neither could convert nor score in yet another intense game between the two English clubs. It was Fulham however that will be left wondering how they didnt come away with at least a goal. The game was relatively even in the first half, with neither teams taking any risks conceding first. As the game progressed, it was the Londoners who started to control possession and create chances. After the break, the home side took full control of the game, dominating possession and applying pressure to Tim Howards goal, however the GK was up to the challenge and Fulham couldnt get a clean shot in goal. Frustration grew on both sides as both managers knew a 1 point can prove fatal in their chances of advancing. The result leaves Fulham with 3 points from 3 draws, and Everton was knocked out of the competition with 2 points. This also ensures that Wolfsburg will advance to the knockout stages - with a game pending against Rennes. Fulham needs Rennes to lose to assure the 2nd spot in the group - a draw leaves Rennes with 3 points as well and tie-breakers will decide. "It was a disappointing result. I thought the lad gave maximum effort - couldnt ask for anything more - well maybe a goal, but it just wasnt meant to be. We had our chances and we could have decided our fate - but now we wait and see. We wait and see" - Hokie79
Matchday 9: SANTOS vs FULHAM
Facts1 Goals 3XX Shots XXXX SOT XX48 Possession 52XX Tackles XX0 Fouls 00 Offsides 01 Corners 10 00 0 Dempsey (15') Dembele Dembele (57') A. Johnson Dembele (79') A. Johnson Borges (90') GansoMOTM: Dembele 9.5 RatingFulham continues unbeaten streak with 3-1 victory of BraziliansIn a match that features a lengthy delay due to technical issues, it was the Londoners who came away with 3 points from Brazil. The away side opened things up early when Dembele slid in Dempsey for an easy opener within the first 15 minutes of the game. The visitors dominated possession and should have doubled up a few times - hitting the woodwork twice in the first frame - which ended 1-0. The home side started the second half brightly but stadium lights went out and the match had to be stopped. When play resumed, it felt like a different game - with Dembele subbed in to be the front man - a decision that proved smartly when he turned in a brace to put the game out of reach. A. Johnson was the provider for both for the 3-0 lead. The home side had a surge in the last 10 minutes - finally scoring in the 90th minute. However, they continued and should have scored another one shortly after the restart as Fulham was looking for the final whistle. Santos spurned the chances inside the box and Fulham goes home as winners.
MATCHDAY 7: FULHAM vs PALERMOCraven Cottage
Facts1 Goals 012 Shots 66 SOT 356 Possession 4426 Tackles 182 Fouls 40 Offsides 03 Corners 10 00 050 Shot% 5082 Pass % 72 Dempsey (59') Dembele MOTM: Riise 9.8 Rating Dempsey provides touch of class in 1-0 win over Palermo Fulham continued its unbeaten streak to 7 games with another win and a clean sheet against Palermo. It was a defensive battle throughout, with much of the battle happening in midfield. There were a few half chances here and there but the opening half came to a 0-0 scoreline. Clint Dempsey provided the opener and only goal in this match with a little bit of class. Picking up an innocent ball from Dembele, he turned one defender and created enough space to place the ball in the upper right post leaving the keeper with no chance. The Londoners should have put more distance between them and their visitors but couldn't get the second goal - but their improving defense wrapped up the clean sheet.The 3 points brings Fulham up to the top half of the table - an improvement but not enough to satisfy the manager. "We have been in good form and picking up the points when the opportunity is there. We started out badly and now we must fight to get back in the race. We will need help, but hopefully our form continues in the second half of the season."
Season 5 - Mid-Season Report
Games Played: 9
League Form: LWWWW
A disaster start of the season saw Fulham pick up only 2 points from their first 5 matches. With new manager Hokie79 taking the helm, the team took time to adapt to his new formation and tactics. But in recent weeks, the Londoners performances has improved, especially on the defensive side. A change in lineups, formation and tactics after 5 games did the trick - with the manager opting to go with skill and speed. Fulham has now won 4 straight matches and has an unbeaten streak of 7 matches in all competitions.
Second Half Prediction
Where Fulham lands by season's end will depend on how they fare against the upper half of the league. They can ill afford to pick up a mere 4 points against the top teams again, or surely it will mean a mid-table finish. The title seems well out of reach with Montpellier showing once again their offensive strength, but the battle of promotion is up for grabs if they can score some wins against the likes of Everton, Braga, QPR and Celtic. They need to continue to improve their defense and play as they have in the past 4 matches - allowing a stingy 3 goals - while scoring 11 goals.
The Londoners need to be careful though as another patch of bad form can see them back in the relegation zone. There's still plenty of the season left and the matches still have to be played.
With that said, Fulham will most likely finish mid-table. A couple of unexpected wins against the top teams may have them dreaming of a promotion to Serie A - but the competition is tough and they dug themselves into a deep hole with their horrid start - a hole they many not be able to climb out of this sesason.
Goals: Dembele (7) Dempsey (5)
Assists: Johnson (9)
Clean Sheets: Schwarzer - 2
Matchday 12: BRAGA vs FULHAM
Facts0 Goals 15 Shots 71 SOT 343 Possession 5716 Tackles 213 Fouls 13 Offsides 10Corners 11 00 0 Dempsey (75') Dembele Viana (62') MOTM: Hughes 8.5 RatingClean Sheet: Schwarzer Fulham edges Braga 1-0 to continue unbeaten streak Fulham visited Braga for the return leg of this matchup. With the first matchup a one sided affair, the Londoners came to make sure they competed better. The opening minutes didn't start well as the hosts started brightly. The Londoners slowly started to gain possession, and the first real chance came their way when Johnson's shot was brilliantly saved, however Dembele tried to chip in the rebound which was easily handled. The host brielfy responded with a couple half chances as the half drew to a 0-0 draw. The visitors came out the second half again dominating possession and frustrating the hosts - however it was an even affair throughout. The winner came when Dembele slid in Dempsey with a slicing throughball - and the American did the rest. He got away from his defender - and with an onrushing GK, he was able to dribble around him and put away the goal in an empty net. It would prove to be a crucial winner and a vital 3 points for Fulham who looks to continue their climb up the table. Braga probably deserved a draw - as the second half didn't see much action aside from the goal. But Manager Hokie79 will take the points and the momentum as the 2nd half of the season begins. "It was an even match - we had most of the possession, but you can tell that the first goal would prove crucial. Luckily we got it, and our defense continues to improve. There's still plenty of matches left, and we look to the next."
MATCHDAY 13: FULHAM vs QPRCraven Cottage
Facts0 Goals 05 Shots 111 SOT 656 Possession 4424 Tackles 182 Fouls 10 Offsides 03 Corners 30 00 0 MOTM: Schwarzer 9.0 Rating Fulham and QPR struggle to a scoreless draw QPR took the short trip to Craven Cottage looking to dominate Fulham as they did in the first leg of this matchup. Within the first 10 minutes, it looked as if QPR would do exactly that, flexing their muscles and getting off a few quick chances, the best one from Zamora who easily disposed of Hangeland to have an easy look at goal that he missed. Hangeland and Hughes were struggling to contain the big man, but the Cottagers slowly started to get back in the game with some possession - but lacked the cutting edge in the final third to even create a chance - they recorded 1 total shot in the first half compared to QPRs 8 - a half they clearly dominated. The second frame started brightly for Fulham, as they were able to apply pressure in the opening stages, a few good chances they couldnt put on target. Then it was there the game was on neutral for the most part - with both teams really struggling to find any rhythm nor chances. The last few minutes provided some drama as Fulham had a couple corners, and the last shot being just a yard wide from hitting the bottom corner. The draw didnt help both managers as they fight to get on top of the league. Fulham's goals have quickly dried up over the last few games, scoring only 1 in 3 matches compared to 11 the last 4 games prior. Manager Hokie79 may need to rethink his in game strategies again to spark the Cottagers thru this rough patch of their schedule - with Celtic and Montpellier up next.
"Credit to QPR, they showed in the first game and first quarter of today they can dominate us - we had to adjust to their game and that limited what we could do. We had lots of possession, but that is nothing when there's no creativity anywhere near their goal. We need goals and someone needs to provide them soon."
MATCHDAY 14: FULHAM vs CELTICCraven Cottage
Facts2 Goals 29 Shots 115 SOT 852 Possession 4822 Tackles 121 Fouls 20 Offsides 03 Corners 20 10 0 S. Brown S. KI (45'+1) Stokes Dempsey (58') Sidwell Stokes (61') Commons Hughes (90' +2) Riise MOTM: Forster 9.6 Rating Fulham fights for a point in thrilling 2-2 draw against Celtic Celtic and Fulham played to a disappointing draw that surely will hurt both clubs fight for promotion. It was a match that both teams could afford to lose, and the opening stages played out like that with a few nervous moments, especially from the home side. Celtic missed a couple of one on one situations and Schwarzer was equal to Stokes shots. It was the Irish however who struck first scoring from an unlikely situation in injury time - Fulham clearning a harmless corner, but the ball was played back to the box, catching the Cottagers off guard and Stokes played it back to early sub Ki for a well placed shot from 18 yards out to beat the GK. The second stanza would bring out more action, as the Londoners had to push for a goal, and it was their American hero once again scoring the critical goal - this one from outside the box to the far low corner. It was game on, until some sloppy passing in the defensive half from the home side allowed Commons to easily find Stokes all alone to once again beat Schwarzer. Fulham pushed for an equalizer, leaving themselves exposed to some easy counters that Celtic missed. The Irish would rue missing their easy chances of open goals as Fulham wasnt finished yet. On the last attack, Hughes attacked a swerving corner from Riise and headed downwards towards - beating Forster and finding the last defender, who was unable to keep the ball from dribbling over the goal line for the final scoreline of 2-2. The successive draws and 5 points from 12 has Fulham falling from the battle for promotion. The offense picked up, but the defense was a vast disappointed for Manager Hokie79.
MATCHDAY 15: FULHAM vs MONTPELLIERCraven Cottage
Facts4 Goals 49 Shots 76 SOT 548 Possession 5222 Tackles 90 Fouls 52 Offsides 13 Corners 20 10 0 M'Biwa Estrada (66') Utaka Utaka (69') Denis Utaka(74') Camara Giroud (75') Bocaly Hilton (OG 76') Dempsey (82') Pogrebnyak Pogrebynak (87') Dempsey Dempsey (88') A. JohnsonMOTM: Dempsey/Denis 9.4 Craziness in the Cottage in 4-4 drawIn what could be the match of the season, Fulham and table toppers Montpellier played to a thrilling 4-4 draw with all eight goals scored in the last 35 minutes. The battle between these two teams had historically been a close and tight - with the French side usually netting a late winner. This round started out the same. The first half was played with some caution and defense was the name of the game - however it was the Cottagers who created more chances in swift counter attacks - the first a double save by the french goalie and Dembele not taking advantage of a free kick just outside the box. The half played to a 0-0 draw, and the Londoners were feeling comfortable holding the high octane offense to 2 shots total - one of which Giroud would like back as he failed to beat Schwarzer one on one. The French side applied the pressure early in the second stanza, and the pace was too much for the Londoners, and soon enough, they opened up the account as Estrada received an easy cross with some nifty work by Utaka. The floodgates would open from there on, as this time, Utaka again found an open net from a cutback by Denis. Down 2-0, Fulham put on all their forwards, but it didnt stop the French juggernaut, as they put 2 more goals on the board and the Cottagers looked in shock - letting in 4 goals in 9 minutes. As they tried to play out the game, lady luck came to the rescue. First, it was an OG from a vicious yet harmless cross, as there was nobody in the box. The next came when Dempsey was left alone just outside the box, and let loose a canon for 4-2 with a little over 7 minutes left - but it kept the crowd in it. A few minutes later, Craven Cottage went crazy as Fulham just beat an offsides draw, leaving Dempsey and Pogs versus the keeper for the third goal. Surely the nerves started to kick in - after kick off, Fulham scored again in their next attack, this time Dempsey in the right place at the right time, as the defender unable to clear a cross and the American took advantage poking it in the near post. At 4-4, amazingly, it was the Cottagers who had one last attack on the counter - with one pass to make for a potential winner, this time the visitors were able to poke the ball away and kill the 3 on 1 break. And that was that - 8 goals in 35 minutes, 4-0 advantage wasted by Montpellier , and the home side stealing a point - yet another draw on their campaign. Manager Hokie79 could not complain, especially seeing his squad give up 4 straight goals - the most he's seen ever in a game in his short tenure. "That first goal i thought took our spirit out of the game -and with the second coming so quickly the squad was in a state of shock for awhile - and well that led to 2 more goals. But we were able to stop the bleeding, and sometimes, it only takes a little to rally the troops - and for us, that OG was it. A little of belief and with the crowd sticking around, well it made for a special evening. It reminded me of when Newcastle did it to my club Arsenal not so long ago."
Matchday 16: PALERMO vs FULHAM
Facts0 Goals 35 Shots 110 SOT 452 Possession 4816 Tackles 212 Fouls 01 Offsides 20 Corners 10 00 0 A. Johnson PEN (28') Davies(45') Dempsey Dempsey (90') Kelly MOTM: Kelly 9.5 RatingClean Sheet: Schwarzer Fulham ends draw streak with 3-0 win over Palermo
Fulham was able to finally pick up all 3 points, ending a streak of three draws with a 3-0 win in Italy. The early going started evenly, but it was the Cottagers who was able to open the account when a weak foul was called at the edge of the box that resulted in a penalty that Johnson was able to put away cleanly. Then, a swift counter in injury time was finished off by Davies for the 2-0 halftime lead. Palermo wasnt able to pick up any momentum in the second half and the Londoners put a third during injury time as Dempsey was highest to the ball and put into the low corner for the final 3-0 scoreline.
Matchday 17: GALATASARAY vs FULHAM
Facts0 Goals 213 Shots 146 SOT 649 Possession 5120 Tackles 212 Fouls 00 Offsides 03 Corners 30 00 0 Ruiz (30') Dembele(60') DempseyMOTM: Kelly 10.0 Rating with 9 savesClean Sheet: Schwarzer Fulham edges closer to possible promotion playoff with 2-0 win in Turkey Fulham picks up a vital 3 points in Turkey in their chase for a playoff spot for promotion. The Cottagers went on the offensive early, missing a few half chances, but it was Ruiz the lucky benefactor with an open goal off a rebound from a powerful Dempsey shot. The first half continues to go the visitors way, but they couldnt double their lead. The second half started much the same, and within a quarter hour, Dembele and Dempsey combined in a one-two for the 2-0 cushion. However, the Turkish side provide a late push, putting ample pressure in the last hour that Schwarzer managed to handle. With a few wonderful saves, he was able to pull off the much needed clean sheet. Fulham is 3 points away from the coveted 3rd spot - however 1 point will still see them play for a spot in the top league. Santos plays in Craven Cottage, and that will decide the final spots in Serie B.
MATCHDAY 18: FULHAM vs SANTOSCraven Cottage
Facts1 Goals 36 Shots 95 SOT 347 Possession 5324 Tackles 142 Fouls 30 Offsides 11 Corners 10 1 0 0 Durval Dembele (9') Johnson Dembele (12') Ruiz Dempsey(39') Dembele Elano (45') LeoMOTM: Dembele 9.6 Cottagers clinch 3rd place with 3-1 win over Brazilian side Santos An early brace from Dembele set the tone in Fulham's final home game securing third place and setting up a date with rivals Everton for the right to move up to the top league. Knowing what was required for the taste of possible promotion, the Londoners set cautiously at first knowing the speed and pace of Santos can haunt them. It was the visitors who would threaten first, taking a couple shots within the opening minutes - one which was a free shot just inside 18 yards - but going wide. Then somewhat against the run of play, Fulham managed to get the opener when Johnson got away from his marker and sent in a dangerous cross that Dembele met inside 6 yards. Within a few more minutes, Dembele doubled the lead with yet another header inside the box, this time Ruiz with the cross. The game evened up for a bit, until Dembele was able to break into a swift counter, finding Dempsey in the cut back, who cooly slotted in for the 3-0 cushion. Things seemed to head that way towards the half, but Elano got one back with a clever run into the box, snatching the ball and rolling it in one motion for the 3-1 HT score. The second half saw massive defensive display from the Cottagers, who was more than willing to just hold on to their lead - but the pace of Santos made it difficult. In the end, Fulham was able to cling on and claim all 3 points and secure third place.
"The early goals helped calm the nerves, and with the lead, we were content to rely on our defense the rest of the way. We had a couple chances and it was nervy til the end - but we got the job done. Now we face a familiar foe - one that we match up evenly with and know very well. If we put the same effort - hopefully it will be enough to send us up. But it is always tough against Everton, and dont expect alot of goals..."
Season 5 - End of Season ReportGames Played: 18Points: 32Position: 3rdLeague Form: DDWWWSeason SummaryThe Cottagers earned themselves a playoff spot for the rights to go up to Serie A against rivals Everton. The season started off with a whimper, as new manager Hokie79 had to implement his style and tactics with his new team. The London club lost 3 of their first 6 games, ultimately dooming them from the Serie B Title race from the start. However, it was then that the Cottagers started to pick up steam. They went on a 7 game unbeater streak to enter the race for promotion by the mid-season mark. They continued their good form throughout the second half of the season, picking up 11 of 15 points to end their campaign to ultimately land the coveted 3rd spot - just a point off 2nd place Everton - enough to earn the London Club a promotion to Serie A. That is now 2 promotions in just two seasons for Manager Hokie79.Manager Hokie79 was quite disappointed he wasnt able to mount a challenge for a trophy this season, but he is quite satisfied with the campaign taking in the bigger picture - especially the disastrous start. A promotion to Serie A capped a remarkable comeback for the resilient team.StatisticsGoals: Dembele (10) Dempsey (9)Assists: Johnson (7)Clean Sheets: Schwarzer - 5
Game of the Year: Easily the game against Serie B champions Montpellier. Going down 4-0 with just 12 minutes left, the Cottagers seemed content to just run out the clock. But an own goal and two successive goals within 7 minutes energized the crowd and the team. They got the equalizer in the 89th minute and almost pulled the improbable win in injury time wasting a 3 on 1 break that was broken up by a last effort tackle. The game ended in a 4-4 draw but that point proved vital in their late season run for promotion.
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