Collins John made his first appearance for Fulham on Wednesday evening at Kingfield, as Fulham’s reserve side lost to Watford. The young striker successfully completed 45 minutes as he continued his recovery from an ankle injury.
John’s strike partner for the evening, Stuart Noble, maintained his goal-scoring streak as he gave Fulham the lead with an early strike. The young Scottish forward found the back of the net with only ten minutes on the clock, after hustling his marker into giving away possession and hitting a dipping volley just inside the post.
But the Whites were unable to build on that lead and a costly spell towards the end of the first half, in which Fulham conceded three times, effectively ruined their chances securing a second consecutive win.
Having completed his scheduled 45 minutes, John was replaced at half time as Paul Nevin shuffled the team in an attempt to get his side back in the game. Following a good spell of pressure which saw Mark Pembridge miss a golden opportunity, Zesh Rehman gave the Whites a fighting chance by putting the finishing touch on a superb dead ball delivery from Andrejs Stolcers.
With Fulham pushing for the equaliser, Watford managed to mount a dangerous counter-attack, which resulted in Dyer heading past Flitney.
Speaking after the match, Paul Nevin said: “The score suggests that it was a bit of thumping but it wasn’t one of those games. Although we didn’t play well we weren’t poor either. We were devastated to go in 3-1 down at half time.
“We knew that we could get back into the game but in pushing forward we were left a bit open at the back. We can’t be satisfied with being 1-0 up then going 3-1 down. We can’t brush that under the carpet and we’ll look through the video and work on that in training.”
Whilst the defeat was disappointing, the Fulham faithful were given their first look at John who, despite behind out of action for some time, showed some promising glimpses.
“I think some people are trying to place a massive weight of expectation on his shoulders. He’s a very talented young player with lots of pace and power but we’ve got to bide our time with him,” said Nevin.
He added, “Collins has been out for four or five weeks with an injury and he looked a little bit rusty but you can already see how he can cause problems for defenders.”
FULHAM RESERVES (3-5-2): Flitney; Rosenior, Fontaine, Leacock; Rehman, Pembridge, Pratley, Stolcers, Doherty; John (T. Davis 45), Noble.