Further to our brief report on tonight’s game, Fulham fan Andrew Johnson (no, not him!) has kindly sent us his thoughts on the game having watched the youngsters at London Road:
Peterborough U18s 1-5 Fulham U18s
This could have been a tricky away match for the Fulham youngsters and a decent crowd – of just over 1,200 – turned up at London Road to see it.
I got a few funny looks due to my Fulham woolly hat but they are a friendly bunch. In the early exchanges, Peterborough had most of the ball and although they were a fairly big team, they did pass it around nicely at the back. They couldn’t find any way past the half way line though, partly due to Minkwitz and Bettache playing deep in front of our defence.
The first chance of note went to Posh when the Fulham keeper, Smith sliced a clearance and it could have gone anywhere, but luckily it went for a corner. That seemed to wake Fulham up and gradually took control of the game. Banya managed to run through on the left and although he took it past the keeper the angle was too tight to score from.
The pitch was very slippery leading to some mistakes and Della Verde almost took advantage of one but the keeper saved with his legs. The rest of the first half was fairly quiet with Fulham controlling the game but just before the half time whistle both teams had their best chances of the half.
On 44 minutes a long ball was launched out of the posh defence and Solomon Sambou rushed up towards the halfway line but mis-controlled it as it came down. This left a gap behind him which allowed Joyce to receive the ball and run on goal. Fortunately his shot was weak and Smith easily saved to his right. Immediately after this Banya got the ball on the wing and went on a mazy dribble, passing three players but found his shot blocked – but it deserved a goal.
The first half ended soon after and no sooner had I sat down with my two pound Bovril when Banya got the ball midway in their half and ran with it straight at the full back. the hard working Woodrow went on a good run across allowing Banya to pass to him out wide into space. Woodrow sent in a low cross which Altman controlled, turned and shot for the first goal.
Understandably, Posh went on the attack for a while after that but never really threatened, but Fulham always looked dangerous on the counter. This proved to be the home side’s undoing when Minkwitz won the ball in the middle, passed it to Altman who ran with it, then played a through ball for the oncoming Woodrow who placed it past the oncoming keeper from a wide angle.
Josh Passley came on for Bettache in the 60th minute. Bettache had a solid game and along with Minkwitz worked hard protecting the back four and starting the counter attacks. The match continued in much the same vein for the remainder of the contest. The crowd got angry with the referee when he didn’t award a penalty after Alex Brister couldn’t control the ball and it ran up his arm. Personally, I would have given it and it came at a crucial time in the game so no wonder the home crowd were incensed. However, the non-award of the penalty isn’t why Peterborough lost, Fulham were by far the better side, particularly technically.
Woodrow went off on a stretcher not long after and, although it looked bad at the time, he is okay apparently. Given that he was such an influence with his hold up play, off the ball running and hard work, this is good news. Muamer Tankovic came on to replace Woodrow. The excellent Banya also went off injured on 85 minutes, replaced by Tieku.
Peterborough got a goal back after Smith saved a back-pass by instinct as it was whacked at him from a few yards. A lay off and strike saw a goal from the free-kick by Jacob Joyce, less than ten yards from the goal. Moments later, however, Tankovic got the ball on the edge of the ball and turned the defender three times, giving him the space to curl a low shot into the corner of the goal. That terrific goal ended the contest and Fulham overrun a dejected Posh side in the closing stages. Tankovic got his second soon after, lifting the ball over the rushing keeper, when clean through on goal. Sambou added the fifth from just inside the box near the end but I missed the build up as I was talking to an impressed Posh fan next to me about our team.
The score was a bit harsh on the young Posh team but there was no doubt that Fulham were by far the superior team. There were impressive performances all round but, in particular the tricky Banya, the composed Brister, the hardworking Woodrow and the finishing of Tankovic. Well worth the £3 admission fee!