Fulham lost the opening game of their Australian tour as Gold Coast United scored twice in six minutes at the end of an entertaining game at Skilled Park.
The Whites made the perfect start, playing some good football and went ahead through a curling long-range free-kick from captain Danny Murphy. The midfielder’s fine strike flew into the top left corner to give the Premier League side the lead. It was the first goal the hosts had conceded in eleven pre-season friendlies.
On his much-hyped return to his homeland, Mark Schwarzer had little to do in the Fulham goal. Roy Hodgson rung the changes for the second period and replaced the Australian international with his veteran Swiss deputy Pascal Zuberbuhler. The Whites did look set to cling onto a victory before the drama of the last ten minutes.
First Jason Culina, who suggested Murphy was talking s*** when he suggested that United would treat this as a Cup final and retorted that Fulham weren’t in the same class as Manchester United or Arsenal (he obviously didn’t see the results from last season then) combined nicely with Kiwi substitute Shane Smeltz, who fashioned a chance which Brazilian Milson duly converted. Four minutes from time, Smeltz turned poacher firing home from a corner to seal an unlikely victory.
Fulham will play two more matches in Australia, against Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory.
FULHAM: Schwarzer; Stoor, Kallio, Pantsil, Smalling; Andranik, Murphy, Gera, Seol Ki-Hyeon; Zamora, Nevland.
REFEREE: Chris Beath.