Fulham moved into the quarter finals of the FA Youth Cup with an impressive 3-1 win at Ipswich Town tonight.
Despite a bright start, Fulham had to show real spirit to rally having gone a goal down early in the second half. Ronan Murray won a controversial penalty having been brought down by Marcus Bettinelli – even though the goalkeeper looked to have got a hand on the ball the penalty was awarded by the referee’s assistant – and the impressive young Irish forward picked himself up to convert confidently from the spot.
Fulham gradually regained a foothold in the contest and a heavily deflected shot from Alex Smith levelled matters. Gary Brazil’s boys went in front when Aaron Pierre pounced to score from two yards after a corner had caused a mad scramble in the Ipswich box. With the home side pushing forward in search of a late equaliser, there were always likely to be chances on the break and Marcello Trotta wrapped up the win from the penalty spot.
Brazil was pleased with his side’s performance.
We started a lot stronger in the first 20 minutes of the game before Ipswich came back into it and caused us some problems. That mainly came about through us not maintaining possession and losing the ball in bad areas.
At half-time we knew the boys could play a great deal better, we told them to work hard, retain the ball better and stop Ipswich having so much time. They were putting the ball forward into good areas for both of their strikers, who were always a bit of a threat.
We probably needed to go a goal down to get ourselves in gear and really go for them. The response from the boys is something we’ve come to expect. Sometimes when we lack a little bit of quality, they make up for it with really big hearts and the desire to keep going.
We were worth the win, we can play a lot better but I’m very pleased for the boys. It’s lovely that they’ve made the Quarter Final. We know that there are much better performances in them and we’re going to have to play better to get through the next round.
It will be nice for the boys to play at the Cottage. The Cup run has been a marvellous experience for the lads anyway. That edge where you’ve got to win to stay in the tournament brings more out of certain players and you learn a lot more about them as individuals and collectively.
As a collective group, they have a strong desire to win which is a lovely attribute to have. The perfectionist in me wants them to play better but I can’t fault them for their effort and endeavour. It’s really good for this Club and Academy that we’re in the Quarter Finals.
The prospect of a quarter final at the Cottage sounds great.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Ranieri; Bennett, Dunbar, Meekings, Eastman; Hyam, Clark, Cawley, Carson; Wickham, Murray (Lavery 85).
FULHAM (4-4-2): Bettinelli; Marquez-Sanchez, Kamau, Pierre, Toure; Harris, Jones, Marsh-Brown, Smith; Trotta, Peniket.