Fulham’s reserves returned to winning ways with an impressive win over a strong Portsmouth side at Westleigh Park.
Billy McKinlay’s side, well beaten by the reigning champions Aston Villa on their last outing, beat Pompey 2-0 thanks to two goals from corners scored by Finnish defender Toni Kallio, making a long-awaited return from his Achilles injury, and young striker Michael Uwezu.
The Whites had the first chance of the evening on 13 minutes when Andranik’s ambitious shot from distance took a hefty deflection and flew just wide. They went in front from the ensuing corner when Kallio outjumped his man to head Fulham into the lead.
The home side saw plenty of the ball but rather like their first team of late lacked the necessary penetration in the final third. They finally did test Pacal Zuberbuhler on 24 minutes through former Fulham midfielder Papa Bouba Diop, making a return to action after a lengthy injury lay-off, but his tame header was easily saved.
Liam O’Brien in the Portsmouth goalkeeper had to be alert to deny Eddie Johnson a second but once again the Whites scored from the resulting corner. This time it was Uwezu who left unattended to convert Matthew Saunders’ dangerous cross. Both sides had chances before halt-time: Frederic Picquonne shot just wide for Portsmouth, while only a last-ditch challenge prevented Johnson from extending Fulham’s lead.
Jamie O’Hara did his best to bring Portsmouth back into the game after the break. The on-loan Tottenham midfielder dazzled his way past several Fulham defenders before shooting narrowly wide and then created two glorious chances that Picquonne contrived to miss. The French striker did force Zuberbuhler into save later on, but it was Fulham who had the best chance to add to their advantage as Joe Anderson headed wide of an open goal.
PORTSMOUTH RESERVES (4-4-2): O’Brien; Suric, Williamson (c), Wilkinson, Hurst; Basinas, Diop (Bopp 75), O’Hara (Apicerni 63), Hughes; Piquionne, Webber (Samba 46). Subs (not used): Ryan, Walshe.
FULHAM RESERVES (4-4-2): Zuberbuhler; Brown, Smith, Kallio, Anderson; Uwezu (Hoesen 70; Jones 90), Andranik, Saunders, Seol; E. Johnson (Marquez-Sanchez 90), Elm. Subs (not used): Foderingham, Moscatiello.
GOALS: Kallio (13), Uwezu (27).
REFEREE: Andrew Bennett