Second Division leaders Fulham gave a demonstration of their stellar quality as they overwhelmed Blackpool 4-0 at Craven Cottage this afternoon.
Cottagers supremo Kevin Keegan finally admitted that he was feeling the stress of juggling club management with the England job, telling the press afterwards: “I was talking to one of our lads, Steve McAnespie, after the game and called him Steve McManaman! All the lads said ‘No boss, that’s tomorrow.’ But I’ve got my England head on already. “It’s like being a kid in a toy shop. I feel really excited now and can’t wait to meet up with the squad. My only hope is that we don’t get too many knocks over the course of this weekend.”
He can afford to turn his full attention to international matters after Fulham ruthlessly swatted the Seasiders aside by the banks of the River Thames. Barry Hayles rifled the Whites ahead with a fierce drive after twenty minutes of incessant home pressure and it was something of a surprise that took until after the hour mark for the hosts to extend their lead. Geoff Horsfield crashed home a cross from Paul Trollope with characteristic aplomb – and that was the cue for Fulham to cut through the fatigued Blackpool backline at will.
Impressive right back Steve Finnan slotted home his first of the season when he finished off a fine time move by latching onto a perceptive pass from Paul Peschisolido and Kit Symons completed the scoring by following up after Hayles had seen his effort parried by Steve Banks.
FULHAM (5-3-2): Taylor; Finnan, Brevett, Morgan (Albert 64), Symons, Coleman; Smith (Uhlenbeek 57), Hayward, Trollope; Horsfield (Peschisolido 64), Hayles.
GOALS: Hayles (20), Horsfield (63), Finnan (74), Symons (87).
BLACKPOOL (5-4-1): Banks; Bryan, Hills, Clarkson, Hughes, Carlisle; Bent, Cousins, Ormerod, Barnes (Nowland 45); Sturridge. Subs (not used): Robinson, Rogan.
BOOKED: Banks, Clarkson, Bryan.
REFEREE: Phil Dowd (Stafforshire).