A very, very cold day on the terraces at Craven Cottage, and the Saddlers returned to Bescot pointless despite some encouraging signs in a 2-0 defeat. Darren Wrack had a good second half, causing Fulham some problems – and perhaps returning slightly to last season’s form. Ian Brightwell looked comfortable at the back, and apart from the odd lapse, made some good overlaps.
But the defeat still leaves us in deep relegation trouble. Kevin Harper looked to have put us ahead in the 24th minute with a brilliant volley – unfortunately he was offside. On the stroke of half-time we should have been 1 up but Darren Wrack put his shot wide. And in the 61st minute, Andy Rammell, who’d just come on, someone shot over from less than 3 yards out. Other reports are attributing this to a brilliant Coleman tackle – but judge for yourselves. From where I was standing it was an amazing miss.
The Fulham goals came on 53 minutes. Darren ran into trouble on the half-way line, Lee Clark ran down the wing, crossed, and Terry Phelan scored his first goal for six years. He played quite well against us when he was at Palace earlier in the season – perhaps he likes facing the Saddlers. And 5 minutes from time, Lee Clark danced through a few tackles on the edge of the area before slotting home. Not as good as Freedman’s goal last week, but not bad all the same.
Andy Rammell came off just before the whistle – hopefully just a precaution. Most amusing incident in the game was when the lino fell over (“twisted ankle”) and was stretchered off – after just 14 minutes.
Next week the Saddlers travel to fortress Maine Road. Few expect us to pick up anything, but the real crunch comes in two weeks time against Grimsby. Surely that is the time to put the recent defeats behind us and start building momentum again. Word from Bescot tonight is that we may well have a few new signings for that Grimsby again – Lavin expected to sign early next week, along with that Greek winger from Portsmouth.