Fulham produced another solid defensive performance as they saw off the challenge of Bundesliga outfit, Borussia Monchengladbach.
Chris Coleman will also be pleased with the passing, understanding and movement shown by his midfield unit as Bullard, Brown and Diop all put in good displays.
The only goal of the game came in the second half when Heidar Helguson pressured his accompanying defender into heading the ball over the onrushing Kasey Keller.
The penultimate friendly of the pre-season campaign got off to a relatively slow start. With preparations for both sides now entering their final phases, the match was played with more of a serious tone than previous pre-season encounters.
The moderate pace of the opening exchanges was momentarily broken when Franck Queudrue’s 25-yard free kick flew wide of Keller’s post.
The match continued as a cagey affair with both sides first looking to gain the upper hand in possession before looking to threaten their opponent’s goal.
Fulham forced their first comer of the game on 19 minutes when some good interplay between Brown, Bullard and John resulted in the Dutch striker earning the set piece. Borussia defended the corner well and threatened to counter attack, however good covering work from Rosenior stifled any danger.
Michael Delura saw his shot fly wide on 22 minutes as Monchengladbach started to attack with greater intent.
A promising sign for the Whites was the performance of their midfield unit – both in supporting the attack and defence. Just after the half hour mark, Fulham worked the ball well through the central area after good work from Christanval, Bullard and Boa Morte. The ball was played into the box, where the lively John saw his header deflect into Keller’s arms.
On 36 minutes a good Bullard cross found Diop’s head after more fine build-up play from Fulham’s midfield. Diop’s header was pushed round the post for a Fulham corner.
Ze Antonio forced Niemi into making a good save moments later as ‘Gladbach pushed forward and won a series of dangerous free kicks.
Fulham took the lead just a matter of minutes into the second half. The Whites played a ball over the ‘Gladbach defence for Heidar Helguson to chase. The Icelandic striker’s presence was clearly enough to disturb his accompanying defender’s concentration and he headed the ball over the advancing goalkeeper to record an own goal.
Following the goal, the Whites made a number of substitutions which required some reshuffling on the park. Bjorn Runstrom replaced Collins John in a like-for-like swap.
Niclas Jensen replaced Jimmy Bullard and, as a result, Franck Queudrue was pushed into the left wing position with Michael Timlin moving infield. Queudrue was then replaced by McBride, who moved up front to partner Runstrom. Heidar Helguson then adopted a wider attacking role on the left.
‘Gladback had their best chance of the second half on 65 minutes when Kahe headed a David Degen cross against the bar. The ball bounced back out to Niclas Jensen who cleared the danger.
Fulham had a penalty appeal turned down soon after when Brown’s through ball rolled into the path of Runstrom. The Swedish attacker went down in the box under pressure from a defender, however, the referee gave ‘Gladbach a free kick for a Runstrom handball.
Borussia continued to push for an equaliser but Fulham’s back line and midfield held firm and the German side failed to trouble Niemi for the remainder of the game – in spite of their advantage in the possession stakes.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Niemi; Rosenior, Quedrue (McBride 61), Christanval (Bocanegra 45), Pearce; Bullard (N. Jensen 53), Diop, Brown, Boa Morte (Timlin 45); Helguson, John (Runstrom 50).
GOAL: Helguson (49).