U21s: Fulham 1 Crystal Palace 4

Discussion in 'Fulham FC News and Notes' started by sfm, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. sfm

    sfm Member

    May 14, 2005
    Highland Park, IL
    There were no solutions to Fulham’s central midfield dilemma evident in Fulham U21’s 1-4 defeat Sunday afternoon at Motspur Park in front of 200 viewers including Steve Coppel to a skilled and aggressive Crystal Palace U21 side. Although Marcello Trotta equalized at 1-1 just before the interval, Palace increased the tempo early in the second half, and soon restored their lead with second half goals by Bayan Fenwick, a second from MOM Kwesi Appiah and Ibra Sekajja and never looked back. Trotta benefited from a specious penalty award by Referee Mr. J. Busby when fouled deep in the left side of box by Palace back Jack Holland but goal keeper Ross Fitzsimons guessed correctly to his right and saved Trotta’s hard but chest high drive.

    Fulham U21s starting XI was:

    Alex Brister Jack Grimer Dan Burn Sean Kavanaugh
    Josh Pritchard
    Alex Smith Ryan Williams Tom Donegan Charles Banya

    Pritchard was a surprise choice to me as I expected Ronny Minkwitz, who replaced him on the hour mark. Pritchard, a converted back, battled but showed little creative élan throughout the match, and his relatively small size could be a detriment to his career development. In this way, he reminds one of Billy McKinley as a player, or in a more recent senior squad context, Michael Brown, though that is not intended as a qualifier of opprobrium but as a descriptive comparative. Prtichard’s through balls were frequently a few yards over hit, and his crosses more chips than curls, though the same could be said of deliveries from Brister, Kavanaugh and Smith.

    Fulham typically played with LB Brister slightly forward and thus exposed, and the more dynamic, athletic Palace strike partnership of Sekajja and Appiah targeted runs in behind Grimmer and Burn where a seam between the irregular pairing recurred. Although Burn bears physical semblance to his senior side #5 counterpart, his jumping ability is more limited and he is less mobile, and therefore uses his height less well than Brede Hangeland does. Pritchard’s more limited distribution meant this U21 side more often started play from the backs, and from Brister in particular, who was often closed down by the Palace forward line. The similarities with Saturday’s result at Upton Park included that Fulham, despite being level for four minutes at the start of H2, never seriously threatened Palace’s supremacy.

    This was my first match watching Trotta since Bobby Zamora’s departure signified Fulham’s intent to downplay the significance of a traditional #9’s play. Yet, Fulham’s opening attacking intent continued to find balls for Trotta to latch onto with his left foot. As the match progressed, Trotta played more recessed to attempt winning balls to lay off for Smith and Doneganto hold and run in through. This was also the first time I watched Trotta battling with his back to goal against larger, more physical players and un-surprisingly, met with more mixed results. Lauri Dalle Valle’s appearance in the 60th minute saw Fulham shift to a more traditional 4-4-2 but the former Melwood star showed little of the explosive “fox in the box” movement anticipated on his arrival in 2010 and he was profligate with the few chances he had which were not tight and chest high balls. Following his unproductive loan spells at Dundee Utd. and Exeter last season, one senses that his private parking space’s unique proximity to the Motspur Park Gym, and its “Welcome to work” sub-caption, is no coincidence.

    Sadly, his girlfriend, who is also Finnish, and employed as a hair dresser, was not among the 200 spectators on a Sunday afternoon with pavement grey skies when Palace ran out deserved victors. Locally based supporters will have several matches to wait before re-evaluating the side’s continued development, as upcoming U21 matches against Man City and our Fulham Road neighbours will be played behind closed doors.
  2. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2006
    Walnut, CA
    Thanks sfm for the report, the youngsters have been so good the last couple seasons it's a surprise to see them lose by that scoreline.

    Had to google Steve Coppell to see where he was managing and surprised to see he was at Crawley Town, but as their director of Football Operations.
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