A Day Out In Fulham

Unlike some other City fans that I’ve spoken to, I’ve actually been to more games this season than last season.  That isn’t hard, because I only went to one last season, and have now managed a whole five this season.  I await my medals.  It isn’t bad for someone not living in Hull though.  Especially for someone struggling with football-fatigue.

I was particularly looking forward to Fulham.  The last weekend before my annual detox, I was very much looking forward to a good few beers and a bit of a session along the second-best river in England.

Despite living just 30 miles away from London, it took a 30 minute walk, two trains, one rail replacement bus and a further walk to try to find my ever-indecisive sister, until I could get stuck into my first pint.  We avoided the Wetherspoons and chose a pleasant glass-fronted pub next to the river, which had it been summer, would have been a glorious choice on the river-front.  Assuming it was actually sunny, in summer.

One of the many great things about London is the choice of beer, and for non-ale drinkers such as myself, to be able to drink Camden or Meantime lagers, instead of the piss served up at many pubs outside of Princess Ave in Hull.

Not to mention they had amazing sausage rolls waiting on the bar, assumedly especially made for us northerners.

Craven Cottage is a ground packed full of character, albeit part of that character was a strong smell of stale urine.  There was a pleasant 15-minute walk over the bridge and through the park to arrive at the stadium, with a simple and painless entry.  We didn’t have enough time to grab a pint, so we headed to our seats near the top of a busy stand as the players headed out.

I was half-expecting us to lose 1-0 in #typicalcity style after our 6-0 victory last Saturday.  It was 1-0 to us in the end, but in reality the game could have gone either way.

I’m not going to offer a blow by blow account of the game – there are already two match reports out from esteemed establishments…I’m not talking the Hull Daily Mail either.  It is more of a player performance assessment.

The game was a tepid affair at times, often rather disinteresting as could be accounted for by the increasingly quiet City fans as the first half went on.

Fulham impressed with their passing in central midfield – with Parker particularly classy and incisive.  However our defence held strong and they rarely looked in the first half to have that cutting edge required, nor much of a threat up front, bar one memorable chance which first the solid McGregor palmed away with his fingertips, and an impressive Odubajo somehow blocked for the rebound as it sailed over the bar…for a goal kick.

Odubajo was much improved from the other times I had seen him.  He is still guilty of the odd error, particularly in positioning, but seems a better player without Elmo in front of him.  On the left, Robertson rarely looked troubled defensively and made a few of those semi-marauding runs, albeit not fruitfully this time.

Davies and Harry were always in control at the back.  I’m yet to be fully convinced about Harry yet his potential is abundant.  He certainly needs someone like Davies or Dawson at the bank to help him through the game.  Davies seems to have got over one or two shaky performances and was as solid and combative as one would expect.

It was nice to hear a rendition of City Til We Die on 19:04 but I didn’t understand the point of the anti-Allam song afterwards.  Has Allam done something recently that I’ve missed?  Otherwise, I don’t think there is any need for any negativity right now.  Allam is keeping shtum.  Let’s move on until and if he is a public penis once more.

During the first half, Both Robertson and Diame put Hernandez through on goal, the second was a clear opportunity and in a perfect world would have been converted, but for some indecision on Hernandez’s part and a good save from the keeper.  Diame does at times have an increasingly poor first touch, yet I feel that we need him for those moments of magic that he brings.

The second half saw us step up a gear – whilst Fulham shaded the first half in terms of performance, I thought that we were clearly the better side in the second, as Livermore and Hayden took charge.

The central midfield pairing were as combative as expected, both earning a booking for their troubles.  Livermore, in particular, showed some determined touches of Premier League class.  Snodgrass also showed a few great touches on the right, and deserves his spot there ahead of Elmo.

Both Elmo and Huddlestone made cameo appearances as Bruce admirably looked to win the game rather than bank the point.  Huddlestone was probably a wise choice, given the booking for Hayden – both had a point to prove and Huddlestone came closest to making the difference.

Late on, my man of the match, Odubajo, made an incisive run into the box and was chopped down.  As clear a penalty as you will see.

Hernandez clinically slotted in the penalty into the far right corner.  The keeper guessed correctly, and appeared to get a touch on it but there was little doubt it was going in with very good placement and decent power.  It is good to see that we now have two solid penalty takers in Hernandez and Snodgrass.

There was still time for a late half-scare or two, and a fingertip save from the keeper, but the result never really looked in doubt as soon as the second-half kicked off.

A relatively comfortable if not especially entertaining performance.  But I’ll take a 1-0 victory away every single time.

Where are the Bruce Out brigade after 4 consecutive victories and 7 wins in 9?

We eschewed the queue for the tube after the game and headed out for a few beers and some fantastic tapas (I highly recommend octopus if you’ve never had it before), arriving back into Berkshire around 2am via the last train home.

I doubt I’ll be at any more games other than the Reading game this season, it being the only convenient away game left for me, and with no home games on the next two weekend I’ll be back in land of proper fish and chips.

One response to “A Day Out In Fulham

  1. Interesting reflections on the Fulham away trip. I agree with you that Moses Odubajo was our man of the match. At times Fulham's passing game was mesmeric but what I admired about City's performance was the way the lads dug in. They were resilient and determined. "They shall not pass!" Afterwards, the moonlight on The Thames was like the photo-illustration for a moody poem – perhaps written by a sorrowful Fulham fan.

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