Cameron Burgess and Chris David grabbed the goals as Fulham’s cruised to a comfortable win over Motherwell in their latest pre-season friendly, with new signing Ross McCormack making his debut on an old stomping ground.
Defender Shaun Hutchinson also made a swift return to Fir Park, where he had spent seven seasons before moving south to join Fulham this summer, and it was a pleasing workout for Fulham boss Felix Magath as his side quickly took charge with some enterprising football. Young midfielder Lasse Vigen Christensen almost unlocked the Steelmen defence with a gorgeous through ball before Chris David went close from distance.
David and Christensen combined moments later, with the latter freeing Patrick Roberts in the left channel. The youngster’s cross was cleared by Keith Lasley. The home side pushed Fulham back for a spell, and Roberts was needed to show a more defensive side to his game when snuffing out a dangerous cross from Iain Vigurs.
Fulham took the lead midway through the first half when David’s deep corner was powered home by Burgess, who had been left totally unattended in the penalty area. The Dutch midfielder almost added a second with a firm free-kick from the edge of the box and Kay Voser drew a good save from Dan Twardzik. Birthday boy Moussa Dembele almost marked the day with a goal of his own, but was denied by a brilliant last ditch challenge.
Motherwell mustered a few further chances in the closing stages of the first half. Bob McHugh forced a fabulous reaction save from Marcus Bettinelli before John Sutton fired over and had another effort bravely blocked by Hutchinson. At the other end, the lively Patrick Roberts saved a smart shot well saved and then teed up McCormack, who has denied a debut goal by Twardzik.
Magath made more four changes at the interval. One of the new arrivals, Emerson Hyndman, made an immediate impression playing a beautiful ball to find Stafylidis galloping forward from left back. Twardzik should have done better than spill the Greek full back’s speculative drive over the goal-line, but Fulham quickly threatened a third with George Williams miscontrolling in front of goal after a brilliant break by Roberts.
The talented teenager was beginning to lead the Motherwell backline a merry dance. He released McCormack with a slide-rule pass but the £11m man’s shot was blocked at source before goalkeeper Twardzik made two magnificent saves as the clock ticked down. He somehow clawed away McCormack’s 25-yarder and then denied Williams from much closer in. Jesse Joronen distinguished himself after replacing Bettinelli, making a good low save to repel Vigurs’ volley.
MOTHERWELL (4-2-3-1): Twardzik; Reid (Kerr 74), Hammell, Ramsden, McManus; Carswell (Cadden 76), Lasley; Ainsworth (Law 45), Vigurs (Leitch 76), McHugh (Francis-Angol 45; Thomas 55); Sutton (Erwin 76). Subs (not used): Nielsen.
FULHAM (4-3-3): Bettinelli (Joronen 45); Voser, Burgess, Hutchinson (Burn 80), Stafylidis; Christensen (Hyndman 45), Parker (Hoogland 45), David, Roberts; McCormack, Dembele (Rodallega 45). Subs (not used): Fotheringham, Chihi, R. Williams.
GOALS: Burgess (19), Stafylidis (53).