Fulham’s reserves eased past West Brom with a clinical display in their latest Premier Reserve League fixture that was played behind closed doors at Motspur Park this afternoon. Goals from Kerim Frei, Pajtim Kasami and Orlando Sa secured all three points for Billy McKinlay’s men and Simon Davies looked lively as he completed 70 minutes in his first game since injuring his knee back in June.
McKinlay picked a strong side with Matthew Briggs starting in defence after missing out for the first-team against Liverpool last night. Frei, Kasami and Alex Kacaniklic started alongside Davies in a creative midfield, whilst Sa continued his comeback from a hamstring injury up front.
After a spell of neat possession football from the visitors, Fulham created the game’s first real opening. Frei danced away from a couple of tacklers and released Sa, but the Portuguese striker shot over the bar from a tight angle. A flowing move then saw a clever bit of trickery from Kasami fashion an opportunity for Alex Smith but the full-back couldn’t squeeze his shot between Jack Rose and the near post.
The Whites did take the lead on 20 minutes, however. Frei saw his header cleared off the line from Kasami’s corner and, when Rose did well to parry Kacaniklic’s effort, the teenager was on hand to fire home the rebound from close range. Both Frei and Kasami were increasingly influential as the first half wore on, but Fulham failed to add to their advantage before the interval.
The Baggies had a couple of chances to draw level early in the second period and Fulham were indebted to some smart goalkeeping from Neil Etheridge but McKinlay’s side clinically killed off the contest as the game entered the closing stages. Rose had made a superb save to deny Kasami after Kacaniklic had picked him out perfectly at the far post, but Fulham didn’t have to wait long for the crucial second goal.
Kasami rifled in a spectacular free-kick from the edge of the box off the underside of the crossbar after Kacaniklic had been cynically tripped. The former Palermo midfielder had a hand in the third goal as well, winning a tackle and surging down the right flank before playing in Sa with a lovely pass. Sa, who scored on his return to action against Chelsea last week, finished with aplomb, placing his shot beyond the reach of Rose.
McKinlay’s side face Liverpool in their next league game on Tuesday 20 December at Motspur Park, kickig off at 2pm. This match will also be played behind closed doors.
FULHAM RESERVES (4-5-1): Etheridge; Smith, Pritchard (Harris 19), Briggs (Dean 79), Burn; Frei, B.H. Riise, Davies (Donegan 70), Kasami, Kacaniklic; Sa. Subs (not used): Joronen, Brister.
GOALS: Frei (20), Kasami (75), Sa (77).
WEST BROMWICH ALBION RESERVES: Rose; O’Neil, Tunnicliffe, Atkinson (Nabi 45); O’Sullivan (Goldsmith 75), Mantom, Birch, Roofe; Elford-Alliyu, Sawyers. Subs (not used): Lewis, A. Jones, Turton.