Fulham should be getting used to being pegged back by West Ham now. After the first team were denied a win at Upton Park last month by a deflected Junior Stanislas effort in injury time, it was the reserves’ turn last night.
The circumstances were uncannily similar too. Fulham were leading by a single goal when Matt Saunders was sent off for a rash challenge on Fabio Daprela. They clung onto a lead given to them by the returning Simon Davies for almost the remainder of the contest before Davide Ferrari climbed high in the penalty area and placed a magnificent header beyond the reach of David Stockdale.
Billy McKinlay picked a strong side as Fulham looked to build on their last league outing, a 2-0 win at Portsmouth. Davies came through just over an hour’s action as he stepped up his rehabilitation from a foot injury and the Welsh international was joined in the Fulham side by Toni Kallio, continuing his recovery from a troublesome Achilles problem that has sidelined him since the summer, midfielder Kagiso Dikagcoi – who was sent off on his Premier League debut against the Hammers – as well as Korean Seol Ki-Hyeon and striker Eddie Johnson.
West Ham have a reputation for producing some outstanding youth players and it was the former Tottenham youngster Terry Dixon who fashioned the first chance for Frank Nouble. Fulham took a while to get going and, when they did, their first chance fell to Johnson, who missed a good opportunity to win that dramatic league game at Upton Park. The American did well to turn his man but his tame shot was easily gathered by Marek Stech.
The home side could have gone in front by half-time. First, Davies drove over the bar from a promising position after Johnson had created the opening with some good hold-up play and then the striker himself was unfortunate not to find the net with a dangerous curling shot.
Fulham did take the lead ten minutes into the second half. A spot of pinball in the West Ham box saw the ball break to the midfielder, who made no mistake with a low shot. Clear cut chances were few and far between as the second half wore on with both sides trying their luck from distance. Luca Moscatiella had a deflected effort for the Whites, whilst Anthony Edgar shot over for West Ham. Matthew Briggs probably had Fulham’s best chance – heading a cross from Seol wide.
David Stockdale produced a fine save to deny Christian Montano, but the Hammers got their share of the spoils right on full time when Ferrari buried a brilliant header. The reserves are in action again at Griffin Park on November 9 when they take on Chelsea in a 7.05pm kick off.
FULHAM RESERVES (4-4-2): Stockdale; Marsh-Brown, Anderson, Kallio, Briggs; Saunders, Dikgacoi, Davies (Moscatiello 66), Seol; E. Johnson, Elm. Subs (not used): Foderingham, Uwezu, Hoesen, Smith.
SENT OFF: Saunders (68).
GOAL: Davies (55)
WEST HAM UNITED RESERVES (4-4-2): Stech; Ferrari, Brown, Eyolfsson, Daprela; Wearen, Kearns, Grasser (Montano 70), Edgar; Nouble (Abdulla 75), Dixon (Brookes 88). Subs (not used): Street, Zola.
GOAL: Montano (90)