Fulham began their preparations for life in the Championship with a comfortable victory over East Fife in the Scottish sunshine yesterday afternoon. Second half goals from Elsad Zverotic, Hugo Rodallega and Cauley Woodrow gave an experimental looking Fulham side victory over their part-time hosts, with Felix Magath’s side likely to face a stiffer test next weekend against Motherwell.
Magath handed Fulham debuts to three of his summer signings at Bayview with full-backs Kay Voser and Tim Hoogland getting their first taste of action in a Fulham whilst Shaun Hutchinson, who recently arrived on a free transfer from Motherwell, looking comfortable and commanding at the heart of a Fulham defence that remained largely untested save for a couple of long-range free-kicks. Magath also gave three triallists – who we believe to the former Notts County and Norwich midfielder Mark Fotheringham, Moroccan winger Adil Chihi and Greek defender Kostas Stafylidis – opportunities to impress alongside some of the members of last year’s outstanding under-18 side, including American midfielder Emerson Hyndman.
Welsh winger George Williams – capped in last month’s pre-World Cup friendly with the Netherlands – caught the eye in the first half and perhaps should have scored just before the break, but elected to try and round goalkeeper Dylan Rooney rather than taking on the shot. Magath changed the entire eleven ahead of the second half and it took some time for the new-look eleven to find their rhythm but Fulham eventually went ahead seven minutes after half-time.
The energetic Ryan Tunnicliffe fed Cauley Woodrow inside the penalty area and the young striker turned his man and drove a low shot towards the bottom corner. Substitute goalkeeper Allan Fleming did well to palm it away, but the rebound fell to Zverotic who was left with a simple tap-in. Woodrow, whose emergence last season was one of the few bright spots during a miserable campaign, looked lively and eager up front, linking the play and making several intelligent runs.
The home side spurned a good chance to level the contest six minutes later when an instinctive effort from distance by Kevin Smith saw Jesse Joronen scrambling across his goal to save before Fulham’s superior fitness and quality told in the closing stages. Woodrow and Zverotic were to the fore, creating the second goal with some lovely link-up play down the right before the Macedonian international crossed for Hugo Rodallega to nod home from close range and, with nineteen minutes left, Woodrow got the goal his impressive performance deserved. The striker expertly brought down a fine through ball from Lasse Vigen Christensen and thumped a powerful finish beyond Fleming.
EAST FIFE (4-4-2): Rooney (Fleming), Mullen, Naysmith, S. Smith (Honeyman, Maskrey), Walker (Wallace); Moyes (Wooley), Brown (Falconer), McAteer, Beaton; Barr, K. Smith. Sub (not used): McShane.
FULHAM (4-3-2-1): Rodak (Stockdale); Voser (Zverotic), Kacaniklic (Hoogland), Hutchinson (Grimmer), Burn (Tunnicliffe); Parker (B. Trialist), Hyndman (Christensen), R. Williams (C. Trialist); G. Williams (Mesca), A. Trialist (Woodrow); Dembele (Rodallega).
REFEREE: Brian Calvin.
GOALS: Zverotic (52), Rodallega (61), Woodrow (71).