Saturday, 6 March 2010

Fulham 2 - 1 Birmingham City

The last time these two met at the Cottage was under a very different circumstance. Fulham's Great Escape season was Birmingham's great drop, but the Blues have bounced back from the Championship and are now occupying Fulham's 'surprise package' role of last season.
They have been putting noses out of joint around the country and were strongly favoured to get something from the banks of the Thames, especially after Chris Baird's bizarre own goal. You could say he was slightly unsighted as the ball dropped past Hughes, but he really wasn't under any pressure. Certainly not enough to knock it emphatically past Schwarzer at any rate. At least he didn't let it affect the rest of his game - Baird had another stormer at right back.
At least if you're going to concede you may as well do it early, and Fulham had 87 minutes left to get into the game. The fact that they did in the second half is typical of the team this season. I was impressed by the Hammy End in this game. Hughes loses a boot and suddenly the Aaron Hughes chant (which I'd not heard before) becomes Aaron Shoes. Still bootless, he then clears a Birmingham attack for a corner, prompting a blast of 'one shoe - he only needs one shoe...' Great fun and exactly the sort of thing that the Hammy End has lacked in previous seasons.
Second half and the screw turns and some smart passing saw Duff run across the edge of the area and unleash a guided missile past Joe Hart's far post. Unexpected, but a wonderful goal to add to the Duffer's tally. Once again I had a correct 'first goalscorer' bet. Fortunately own goals do not count.
As time was running out, I mentioned how Fulham aren't really a team that scores late winners; the only late goal I remember off the top of my head was Dio's equaliser against Spurs. Anyway, once again Bobby Z shut me up with a free kick eerily reminiscent of his winner against Burnley. Up the football league they go.
The day before this game I was given free tickets to watch Arsenal v Sunderland. I've not been that bored during a match for some time. Give me the Cottage any day.
Today marks a remarkable month for Fulham after an unbeaten February. Spurs, Juventus, Man United, Juventus, Man City topped off with (hopefully) an away win at Hull City. Jarrod has chosen a bad time to return to Australia, even if it is his brother's wedding.
I'm not in London FA Cup Semi Final week, but I'm there today hoping they can stick it to the Spurs.

Attendance: Andy & Kat

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