Monday, 9 March 2009

Fulham 0 - 4 Manchester United

Well this one was an extremely strange match for me. As a Man United fan, I had never seen my first team play at the Cottage. Last year I was in Manchester for the game (watching Man City v Wigan - the worst game I saw all season) but now I face the prospect of it happening twice in a fortnight.
I had tickets in the 'neutral' area of the Putney End, after all it wouldn't be right for me to sit in the Hammy End, but it was more or less an away end, with United fans everywhere. In truth it was carnage in the stands. Fans wandering willy nilly everywhere, having to be swept out of the aisles two or three times during the match and, in what is a throwback for me, standing for the whole game. A colleague of mine has seats in the Stretford End at Old Trafford and he says he hasn't sat down for a game in about three years. But it was liberating and definitely encouraged more people to sing. In fact I found myself singing both United and Fulham songs - people around me must have thought I was mental. It is a real shame that the authorities won't allow it these days.
As for the game itself, it kind of passed me by as a spectacle. To begin with it appeared to me that Fulham had the measure of United and there were equal number of chances at both ends. However the difference in the first half was that United took a number of their chances and the home team didn't. Things may have been slightly different if the referee had given a justified penalty to Bobby Zamora when John O'Shea tried to pick him up via his shirt, but in truth Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney were in irresistible form and it is likely the outcome would have been the same.
I have to admit that I adore watching Rooney. He's almost elemental as a player. Shame he's such a lunatic. And if his shot from just over the half way line had gone in, it would have instantly been etched in Craven Cottage folklore.
The second half kind of mirrored the first, only with far less effort. United's third on 50-odd minutes triggered a wave of substitutions, with both teams playing very important games on Wednesday.
It is the home match against Blackburn where we will see how Fulham react. For a team playing on confidence, they have just lost the last two home games by a total of five goals without scoring any in reply. Hopefully it is a momentary aberration and a win on Wednesday should put to bed any lingering worries about relegation.

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