Monday, 25 May 2009

Fulham 0 - 2 Everton

For the first time this season, all four season ticket holders managed to make it to the same game. If the result is anything to go by, that is probably a good thing. If we'd all gone to all the matches, Fulham might have been down there with the Newcastle Uniteds of this world.
To be beaten at home against a team that hasn't won at Craven Cottage since 1966 and yet still retain 7th position and the final Europa Cup spot is, so I'm led to believe, the very essence of a 'Fulhamish' existence. In this game Fulham were well beaten, but not in anyway disgraced.
It was a game of tidy football, but not by any way, shape or form exciting. Everton were surprisingly sprightly, despite the FA Cup final looming large, and looked the more dangerous team. However for the second game in a row, my desire to drink beer meant I missed a goal. Having been stood next to the river finishing off a half time bottle of Carlsberg when Kamara scored just after the second period started against Villa, I was determined not to make the same mistake again. Instead I made a different mistake by getting up after 43 minutes and running to the bar. The strange noises from the crowd while I queued made my look to the big screen which, although saturated in sunlight, displayed a blue shirt running away in celebration. Bugger.
Having since seen the goal on TV, it's clear that Paintsil was slightly at fault for losing the ball under pressure, Paul Konchesky just let Leon Osman run past him to collect a pass and round Schwarzer with relative ease. A fair percentage of goals this season have been conceded from Konchesky's area and perhaps he needs some lessons in concentration.
The man to give them him today would have been Aaron Hughes, who I thought had a majestic game and is the very essence of an unsung hero for Fulham. His higher profile partner in crime, Brede Hangeland, also seemed to add another string to his bow today, frequently carrying the ball out of defence and into attack, reminiscent of Gary Pallister in his pomp. He didn't know what to do when he crossed the half way line either, but he carried on going.
Everton's compact defence meant it was very hard work up front for Nevland and Kamara and later Zamora, who once again veered from the sublime to the buffoon at times, occasionally with consecutive touches.
The worst performance of the day though was arguably referee Mike Riley who never let the game flow and made some ridiculous non-decisions. I've never really liked Riley. He's always reminded me as the kid who got bullied at school, and who carried on smiling while he was getting his head flushed down the toilet. And I keep envisaging him as the Martin character from the old nineties sitcom Game On. He also missed a potential foul, I think on Zamora, before Everton's and Osman's second goal, but the young midfielder had an awful lot to do before curling past Schwarzer, who also enjoyed a good game despite the two goals.
By this time it seemed that Fulham had given up anyway, or at least Hodgson had knowing as he did the scoreline at Anfield, where Spurs' likely defeat meant that Fulham claimed 7th. On came a young centre half Chris Smalling for Hughes and, bizarrely for a team one goal behind, a defensive substitution in the shape of Olivier Dacourt on for Zoltan Gera, with Murphy suddenly being asked to be a speedy right winger. There's some speculation that it could have been Dacourt's final professional game before retirement, but I don't think Fulham fans cared. It didn't look much like he cared either. Thanks Olivier - you provided squad depth, but very little else. If you can't improve on Dickson Etuhu then perhaps it is time to call it a day.
The guy who sits next to Ish is usually quiet, but explodes into the loudest, most foul mouthed cockney I've ever heard when things are going wrong on the pitch. I first heard his bile in the home match against Chelsea and it resurfaced again at this match, wishing the referee to 'get cancer and die' (with a few more effs and cees thrown in). It's a good job Fulham have had a good season - I reckon he'd have had a coronary last year.

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