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U18s put five past Chelsea

Fulham’s U18s turned in a terrific performance in this morning’s SW6 derby as they thrashed Chelsea 5-0 at Motspur Park.

Steve Wigley’s side made in two derby wins out of two this season – with the two games being Chelsea’s only reverses of the campaign to date – with an adventurous display full of flowing football. Swedish striker Muamer Tankovic scored twice and George Williams, Moussa Dembele and Patrick Roberts grabbed the other goals in a comfortable Fulham win.

After a fairly even first half an hour, Fulham went ahead thanks to some predatory finishing from Tankovic. The former IFK Norkkoping forward reacted quickest after Patrick Roberts’ powerful drive came back off the crossbar and forced the ball into an unguarded net. The Swedish youth international grabbed a second just moments later. The lively Dembele had already hit a post before a loose clearance from Chelsea goalkeeper Ben Killip allowed Tankovic a clear sight of goal. The striker swiftly advanced on goal and clinically finished from ten yards out to double Fulham’s lead.

The second half saw Fulham continue to press forward and Tankovic saw a wicked curler fly over the crossbar as he sought to complete his hat-trick. Chelsea committed numbers forward in search of a lifeline, but ended up being heavily punished at the other end. England youth international Roberts displayed some fine individual skill to leave two Chelsea defenders trailing in his week as he sauntered down the right before an inch-perfect cross gave Williams to the simplest of finishes to make it 3-0 from close range.

The lively Dembele, a consistent threat throughout, sent a free header wastefully over at the far post but wasn’t to be denied a deserved goal, arriving late to finish off another excellent move from close range. With time ticking away, Roberts capped an excellent individual performance with Fulham’s fifth goal – clinically finishing an inviting cross from promising American midfielder Emmerson Hyndman.

FULHAM U18s: Oberschmidt, Donnelly, Richards, Arthurworrey, O’Reilly, Sambou, Roberts, Hyndman, Dembele, Tankovic, Williams.

U21s suffer narrow Everton reverse

Fulham’s under 21s were narrowly beaten by Everton on a cold, wintry evening at Motspur Park tonight.

Kit Symons fielded a strong side offering Eyoung Enoh his first start in a Fulham shirt since joining on loan from Ajax on transfer deadline day. The combative midfielder played for an hour alongside experienced former Welsh international and forward Chris David, who partnered the in-form Cauley Woodrow up front. Everton also opted to start with one of their recent arrivals, with highly-rated full-back John Stones making his first appearance since his deadline day move from Barnsley.

Fulham began brightly with Alex Smith stripping an Everton defender of possession but shooting straight at Mason Springthorpe in the Toffees’ goal. Greek striker Apostolos Velios, who was a threat all evening, spurned the visitors’ first opportunity, flicking a header wide of Neil Etheridge’s goal. The hosts failed to take advantage of a prolonged period of pressure ten minutes in when a swift counter-attack saw a smart pass from Davies release winger Ryan Williams but the Australian’s cross was smothered by Springthorpe at the second attempt. Shortly afterwards, the goalkeeper was almost beaten by an attempted clearance from Shane Duffy.

Fulham were soon to pay for their profligacy. On nineteen minutes, Velios took up the attentions of the Fulham defence, creating the space for Conor McAleny to beat Neil Etheridge from the right side of the box. Minutes later, another Everton counter-attack caused panic in the Fulham box and the visitors came close to doubling their lead. Fulham finished the first half strongly with David’s tame shot after a mazy run that took him away from three defenders easily gathered by the goalkeeper and young striker saw a rising drive from 30 yards tipped over the crossbar.

After a performance full of strong tackles and intelligent passing, Enoh made make for Ronnie Minkwitz after an hour. Having already made Fulham pay in the first, McAlney was unfortunate not to add a second with an effort that was turned aside by a sprawling Etheridge. Fulham pressed for an equaliser but their luck was definitely out – first, Smith’s volley threatened to drop into the corner but flew fractionally over and then David rattled the crossbar with a free-kick. Late on, Davies also hit the woodwork with a terrific volley from fully 35 yards as Fulham’s search for a leveller proved fruitless.

FULHAM (4-4-2): Etheridge, Grimmer, Kavanagh, Passley, Donnelly; Smith, Enoh (Minkwitz 60), Davies, Williams (Tankovic 83); Woodrow (Altman 90), David. Subs (not used): Joronen, Arthurworrey.

EVERTON: Springhthorpe; Stones, Garbett, Browning, Duffy; Lundstram, Junior (Hope 14), Kennedy (Johns 75), Grant; Velios, McAleny. Subs (not used): Griffiths, Long, Molyneux.

U18s edge out Everton

Fulham’s U18s made it two wins out of two in the U18 Premier League Elite Group with an impressive win at Everton on Saturday morning.

Steve Wigley’s side had kicked off the second phase of the competition with a five-goal thumping of Southampton and they were quickly into their stride at Finch Farm. Promising defender Liam Donnelly, capped by the Northern Ireland under-21 side at the age of sixteen, scored his first goal for Fulham with a firm header from a free-kick and striker Mousa Dembele doubled the lead from the penalty after after Patrick Roberts’ solo run was ended by a crude tackle inside the box.

The home side, who came through a tough FA Youth Cup replay in midweek, improved after the break and when George Waring finished a flowing move down the right to halve Everton’s arrears with a quarter of an hour to play, it made for a tense finish. Fulham defended diligently, however, and held on for all three points. Wigley’s boys will look to continue their 100% start to the Elite Group phase at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday morning.

Williams rescues a point for U21s

Ryan Williams’ late equaliser rescued a point for Fulham’s Under-21s in an enthralling encounter at Middlesbrough.

The Australian winger delighted Kit Symons with a composed finish as time ticked away as Fulham threatened to throw away a terrific start. England youth international Cauley Woodrow had given the Londoners’ a dream start in the first minute turning home a dangerous cross from Sean Kavanagh, but some sloppy defending saw Middlesbrough in front by half-time.

It took just three minutes for Curtis Main to take advantage of some slack marking and rifle home and the home side took a deserved lead just before the break courtesy of a clever finish from Luke Williams. Fulham were indebted to three excellent saves from Jesse Joronen which kept them in the contest and the Finnish goalkeeper even kept out one goalbound effort after Williams had levelled the contest late on.

Symonds told the official website:

We had the momentum and we were the better side in the second half so I was delighted when Ryan popped up to make it 2-2. The tempo of our passing was much better, but Middlesborough had a couple of good chances too and we’ve got Jesse to thank for a great save late on to keep it level.

The only disappointing thing was the nature of the goals we conceded. We lost concentration and they were very sloppy which is very annoying as otherwise it was a good performance. We started brilliantly, scoring the early goal, then conceded those two really sloppy goals which I’m not happy about, but we responded well and finished the game strongly.

FULHAM U21s: Joronen; Grimmer, Kavanagh, Passley, Burgess; Smith, Minkwitz, Altman, Williams; David, Woodrow. Subs: Grainger, Donegan, Christensen, Islamovic.

U18s put five past Saints

Braces from both Muamer Tankovic and Moussa Dembele saw Fulham’s Under 18s bounce back from their FA Youth Cup exit by putting five past Southampton at Motspur Park this morning.

Huw Jenkins’ side were quickly into their stride and took an early lead through Patrick Roberts, who kept his composure to steer home the opener after unselfish approach play from Swedish striker Tankovic. The former IFK Norrköping forward doubled the hosts’ lead, starting and finishing a clinical counter-attack from a Saints corner, in another eye-catching display.

Southampton were gifted a way back into the game three minutes before half time. Goalkeeper Max Oberschmidt badly misjudged a cross from Tom Leggett and Jason McCarthy halved Saints’ arrears with a simple header. A tight second half saw Southampton see more of the ball and put Fulham under sustained pressure, but late defensive mistakes cost them dear. Fulham scored a crucial third from the penalty spot after Dembele capitalised an under-hit backpass and was brought down by goalkeeper Chris Jones. Tankovic calmly converted the spot-kick.

Fulham put a far more convincing gloss on the scoreline by scoring twice in stoppage time. First, Dembele headed his second of the afternoon before Jordan Evans dribbled his way past a couple of defenders and fired in a low shot from the edge of the area. Jenkins admitted afterwards that the ‘scoreline wasn’t a fair reflection on the game’ but the five-goal show will certainly boost morale ahead of next Saturday’s trip to Everton.