Fulham ended their pre-season tour of Australia on a real high this afternoon with a five goal hammering of Perth Glory.
Roy Hodgson chose a strong team to close the door with Bobby Zamora, seemingly set to sign for Hull on his return to these shores, partnering Andy Johnson up front. Chris Baird partnered captain Danny Murphy in central midfield and there was a start for promising England youth international Chris Smalling.
The Whites got off to the perfect start, with Andy Johnson opening the scoring in the 16th minute. Zamora played his strike partner clean through on goal and, although the goalkeeper did well to keep out his first attempt, Johnson comfortably converted the rebound.
Erik Nevland came on for the start of the second half and he was to have some 45 minutes. He doubled Fulham’s lead on the hour mark. Eddie Johnson cut in from the left side of the box, feigned to shoot and goal and cleverly squared the ball to Nevland, who finished with some aplomb.
Nevland’s second arrived in familiar fashion. A clever through ball unlocked the Perth defence and Nevland scampered clear, as he did at Reading and Chelsea so memorably. He finished effortlessly with the outside of his foot to make it 3-0.
Nevland completed a remarkable eight minute hat-trick when he latched onto a perceptive through ball from Eddie Johnson and beat with a deft finish. Two of Fulham’s fringe players were involved in the fifth, which was the icing on the cake. Fredrik Stoor, whose name was horribly Anglocised in the Sun report that revealed he has been told he can leave Craven Cottage, drove into the box with real enthusiasm and found Andranik, who finished impressively with a low drive.
I’ve been pleased with all three games. What you saw from the team tonight is going to be what we are looking for when we go into Europe as well.
We took the game very seriously and worked in the same way had we been playing Premier League opposition. What I’ve seen is players with a very focussed attitude to how we want to play.