Goals from Zat Knight and Andy Cole secured Fulham’s first win of pre-season as Chris Coleman’s side rounded off their tour of Scotland with a comfortable win over Hearts this afternoon.
The home side, playing their final friendly before the start of the Scottish league campaign, started at a ferocious pace. They mounted a couple of early attacks but Ian Knight stood firm at the heart of the Fulham defence and it was actually the English side who claimed an early lead. An excellent corner from Claus Jensen saw Zat Knight power a header past Craig Gordon.
Moritz Volz nearly doubled Fulham’s advantage with an ambitious effort from 25 yards but the German full back’s shot flew wide. Ramon Pereira forced a first save from Mark Crossley when he found a bit too much time and space inside the Fulham area but the Welsh goalkeeper got a firm hand to the shot. Pereira was unlucky to see his equaliser on the stroke of half time ruled out for offside after he had headed home Robbie Neilson’s cross. The hosts were already upset after two penalty appeals had been turned down, with Pereira going to ground under a Jerome Bonnissel challenge, and shouts for handball against Darren Pratley going unheeded.
Hearts continued to try and play their way through the Fulham defence after the interval, but the visitors went closest to adding another goal through Tomasz Radzniski. Substitute Michael Stewart, a recent arrival from Manchester United, enlivened the home side’s attack. He slalomed his way into the Fulham box impressively but drove his shot over Edwin van der Sar’s goal.
Cole made sure of the result when he finished off a flowing Fulham counter attack to double the English side’s advantage. Zesh Rehman carried the ball out of defence and fed Radzinski, who immediately slipped the ball into Cole. The former Blackburn and Manchester United striker opened his account in his second spell with the Whites by firing low past Tepi Moilanen.
Hearts’ frustrating day was summed up when Edwin van der Sar superbly saved Steven Pressley’s penalty after Graham Weir had been brought down by Ian Pearce after the substitute had skipped around Fulham’s Dutch goalkeeper.
HEARTS (4-4-2): Gordon (Moilanen 45); Maybury, Pressley, Berra (Stewart 47), McAllister (Neilson 28); Stamp (Janczyk 77), Hartley, Kisnorbo, Hamill (Simmons 77); Pereira (Wyness 73), De Vries (Weir 36) Subs (not used): MacFarlane, Sloan
FULHAM (4-4-2): Crossley (Van der Sar 45); Volz, Bonnisel (Radzinksi 45), Pearce, Knight; Rehman, Legwinksi, Jensen (Green 45) Pratley (McKinlay 66); Cole (McBride 77), John. Subs (not used): Goma, Pembridge, Rosenior, Bocanegra, Leacock.
GOALS: Knight (3), Cole (76).
REFEREE: John Rowbotham (Kirkcaldy).