The Fulham faithful showed their disenchantment with Paul Bracewell as they booed their side off following a dismal defeat at the hands of Grimsby Town this afternoon.
Fulham’s alarming slide down the table continued as they paid for a defensive mistake with the Mariners securing a slender victory courtesy of the predatory finishing of Jack Lester eleven minutes into the second half. Kevin Donovan was afforded the freedom of Hammersmith and Fulham along the left wing and supplied an inch perfect cross, which the highly-rated Lester converted in off the post to score the only goal of the game.
Town have the worst defensive record in the First Division and this was their first away win since September. The stage felt set for a Fulham player to score their first league goal since November, even in the absence of Geoff Horsfield and Barry Hayles, but the home side never really looked like ending that incredible goal drought. Grimsby made have rode their luck at times but their laudable deserve discipline deserved some fortune as they restricted the division’s big spenders to speculative shots from long range.
Paul Peschisolido somehow shot wide of goal when through in an one-on-one after fifteen minutes and that rather set the tone for another frustrating afternoon. New signing Bjarne Goldbaek looked like Fulham’s most likely source of inspiration, shooting narrowly over midway through the first half and then providing a brilliant cross that Peschisolido nodded wastefully over the top.
Grimsby reinforced their midfield by replacing striker Lee Ashcroft with Alan Pouton at half-time and that meant they were ideally suited to protecting the lead given to them by Lester. Karl-Heinz Riedle missed a glorious chance at the death but Bracewell faces a serious task to maintain the confidence of chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed after a wretched run of just one league win in eight matches that has doomed their promotion hopes.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Taylor; Finnan, Symons, Coleman, Melville; Ball, Clark, W. Collins, Goldbaek; Riedle, Peschisolido. Subs (not used): Hahnemann, S. Morgan, Uhlenbeek, Hayward, Trollope.
GRIMSBY TOWN (4-4-2): Coyne; Coldicott, Lever, McDermott, Gallimore; Groves, Donovan, Black, Livingstone; Ashcroft (Pouton 45), Lester (Allen 80). Subs (not used): Croudson, Butterfield, Buckley.
GOAL: Lester (56).
REFEREE: Michael Ryan (Lancashire).