Sunday, 3 April 2011

Al Fayed's Folly - FUL 3 - 0 BPL

I wasn't going to write about the statue. I really wasn't. But it ended up being the most interesting thing of the day. From the pre-match covering mentioning little else, to the official unveiling where Chairman Mo told dissenting supporters to go to hell or Chelsea, to the actual statue being, well, a bit crap, there was far more excitement than what was happening on the pitch.
For a man whose face has so much plastic surgery, the statue has somehow managed to catch his likeness just wrong. It's like the sculptor has fallen into Jacko's very own Uncanny Valley. It's that bad, tacky, cheap that the only thing to do is laugh at it and laugh alongside the other fans. One fan was dressed as the Bo Selecta Michael Jackson and I'm betting it was at him the Hammy End was singing: "Come for the children, you've only come for the children!"
The match itself was massively underwhelming. Fulham played nice enough football to go 2-0 up, but then kind of gave up trying a bit to let Blackpool back into it. Zamora's first was kind of strange - a misplaced pass by Beattie gave Bobby the ball in the Z and he was allowed a clear run at goal, with apparently none of Blackpool's defenders able to catch up, and he smashed it in the goal. No wonder Blackpool are finding themselves in trouble now.
Fulham's man of the match was probably Chris Baird. He made some important headers to clear crosses as well as stooping to head a goalbound header wide (only just mind) after Schwarzer had a rush of blood to the head. Dembele had lots of the ball and went through his repertoire of tracks and turns without ever really looking dangerous, again, but basically the whole attacking unit worked with Bobby Z in the side.
Blackpool fans were pretty quiet up until the last five minutes, when they were brilliant. It's strange that it took them so long to get warmed up. When they did make noise, it was to berate the referee, who had a bit of a strange game at times and probably did favour the home side; not with any key decisions though. The odd free kick here, the odd non-yellow card there - those sort of things that can wind you up cumulatively.
Two minutes after Holloway (who I mistook for Al Fayed on the sidelines more than once) made a triple substitution (when those happen managers are either in total control or totally buggered) Etuhu scored his second against Blackpool this season. Dempsey did really well to connect to a free kick, but his header hit the post, and his cross from the rebound was totally unmissable for Etuhu from three yards out. He did his best though, but put the shot into the roof of the net. In the end it was a routine three points that put Fulham into the top half of the table, although with a tough set of games coming up, they could also prove to be a vital three points come the end of the season.

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