It was never going to be a thriller, or at least I hoped that it wouldn’t become one as the only way would be for Fulham to concede early goals. That the game was played out in the pouring rain a short time before the start of the domestic season didn’t help much.
So, the first half was fairly lacklustre, with a handful of real chances which all went begging. In the second half the pace picked up a bit, and the visitors started to tire noticeably.
Zamora had a poor game, always wanting to get the extra touch in or passing when he could have tried for a shot. Andy Johnson took a long time to get his eye in. Shortly before his first goal, he was just short of a chance in front of an open goal. It fell to Etuhu to get the first goal, a header from a perfectly weighted Konchesky corner after 56 minutes. AJ took the next two, both good “poacher’s” goals from a few yards out from crosses.
The new boys, Stephen Kelly and Bjorn Riise both came on for the last twenty minutes, and they both looked fairly good – Riise with some good passes at times. Eddie Johnson also came on late, and was the source of the cross for the last goal, and he does appear to have improved since I last saw him play. On the other hand, Gera took a knock on the knee when making a pretty pointless foul, and Kelly was booked for pulling down a player – again quite unnecessary and in European competitions the yellow cards can quickly start causing suspensions.
Murphy and Dempsey both had good games as far as I could see. Konchesky joined up with Dempsey to provide a very dangerous threat on the left wing, with them both able to get crosses in off the back line.
Fulham did not, however, look like a strong Premiership side. They didn’t need to be, as they could still comfortably win and Vetra had very few real chances. I can’t see Roy Hodgson letting the team rest on their laurels after that performance though.