Another day, another (away) defeat

Last updated : 10 February 2010 By Pete Waters
Andre Bikey
Andre Bikey - probably our best player
It was a familiar story away from home and in truth we never looked like ending our winless run against a strong, mobile and organised Fulham side.

Three poor refereeing decisions did not aid our cause but it would be folly to put the blame solely at the officials' door in a game in which we never got going.

We had started brightly enough having the bulk of possession in the first fifteen minutes. But other than a snapshot from Fletcher we didn't fashion any chances.

Soon we were made to pay and it started with a mix up from Mears and Jensen. A lack of communication resulted in a needless corner and within sixty seconds we were picking the ball out of the net.

We had failed to clear the corner properly when Shorey picked out Elm who, from an offside position, nodded it down for Murphy and he confidently swept the ball past Jensen.

Fulham were now on top and effectively sealed the win just ten minutes later as Zamora broke clear, checked inside and fired a deflected shot straight at Jensen who could only spill it to the onrushing Elm to tap home from six yards. Yes, Zamora was clearly offside but he was allowed too much time to get his shot away and Jensen will be disappointed with his part in the goal.

This prompted Laws to replace Cort, clearly carrying a knock, with Eagles while Fox retreated to left back and Edgar replacing Cort at the heart of the defence.

We tried to force a way back in the game before half time with Mears clipping the bar from a set piece and Fox firing tamely at Schwarzer but Fulham were looking more like extending their lead as Zamora and Elm were pulling our defence apart.

The second half continued in much the same way as Zamora ghosted behind our defence but could only tamely shoot at Jensen who easily palmed the shot away. However, he wasn't to be so wasteful next time as he won a debatable free kick after going down from a challenge by Edgar. It looked very dubious but the result was anything but as he planted his shot past the hapless Jensen into the bottom corner. Again, the goalkeeper will surely be disappointed with his contribution.

Just minutes later, Fulham could have extended their lead as Okaka raced past Carlisle but this time Jensen saved well with his legs.

Burnley tried to salvage something from the game, giving an impressive Jack Cork his debut but only had a tame effort from Eagles and a weak header from Fletcher to show for their efforts.

The game petered out with Fulham looking content to hold on to what they already had and Burnley realising the game was up.

Nevertheless the superb away support continued unabated throughout the half and beyond the final whistle. Although the football was, for the most part, dire it was a joy to be in the away stand to witness the support.

Back to the game though and we need to forget this one and move on to the Villa game where, if we play anything like this, will suffer an equally disappointing fate.

There were few positives from tonight where nobody fared particularly well, the defence was wide open, the midfield overrun and the attack toothless. Our best player was probably Bikey, who, although not up to his recent form still showed a physical presence in an otherwise poor midfield performance.

Other than Bikey, Carlisle turned in a reasonable performance and both Eagles and Cork showed some energy and some nice touches when they came on but in reality this is clutching at straws on a very disappointing evening.

Sometimes you have to give the opposition credit though and apart from the opening fifteen minutes Fulham controlled this one with ease. They look a solid and well organised outfit and will certainly beat better teams than us before the season is out.

So we move on to Aston Villa, still searching for that elusive first away win. Hopefully the trip to Portugal will have the players refreshed as we now have thirteen games left to preserve our status in the best league in the world.