A late strike from striker Cauley Woodrow saw Fulham triumph in their final pre-season friendly, beating Turkish outfit Caykur Rizespor in Austria this afternoon.
With just three minutes remaining, the young forward – who broke into the Whites’ first-team at the tail end of last season as they unsuccessfully fought relegation from the Premier League – finished a fine move from eight yards to settle a dour contest after a brilliant one-two between Welsh winger George Williams and Hugo Rodallega. Thomas Eisfeld spurned a decent chance to double Fulham’s lead as time ticked away, but Felix Magath will have been pleased to end the pre-season preparations with a victory.
The German head coach handed a first Fulham start to new signing Nikolay Bodurov in central defence and paired Woodrow with Greek striker Kostas Mitroglou up front, with the big money signing making a first appearance since the World Cup. The former Olympiacos forward had a busy first half seeing a snapshot saved by Necati Yilmaz after a fine cross from Kostas Stafylidis and then won a free-kick that Chris David blazed over the bar. Mitroglou then saw a header from a David corner comfortably held by the Rizespor keeper before he was substituted at half time.
The Turkish side, who had threatened only sporadically in the first period, almost took the lead two minutes after half time when former Newcastle and Portsmouth forward Lomana Lua Lua brought the very best out of Jesse Joronen with a fine free-kick that appeared destined for the top corner before the Finnish goalkeeper acrobatically tipped it wide. The 21 year-old then excelled with some penalty heroics to keep out Lua Lua’s spot kick after Ryan Williams had fouled Ali Liban Abdi.
There were fewer clear cut openings in the second half for Fulham until Ryan Williams stripped Lua Lua of possession and surged forward. He found Woodrow, whose intelligent lay off looked to have created a shooting chance for Rodallega, only for Rizespor’s Orhan Ovac?kl? to make a last-ditch tackle. The Colombian was then thwarted shortly afterwards by an excellent save from substitute goalkeeper Serkan Kirintili.
CAYKUR RIZESPOR (4-2-3-1): Yilmaz (Kirintili 45); Alt?nay (Oboabona 45), Adnan (Kaçar 45), Güvenç (Ovac?kl? 45), Viera (Berber 45); Bisi (Karakas 45), Söylemezgiller (Sylvestre 45); Kaya (Lua Lua 45), Albayrak (Abdi 45), Durder (Korkmaz 45); Köse (Kadah 45). Subs (not used): Birniçan, Kalkan, Papaker.
FULHAM (4-1-2-1-2): Bettinelli (Joronen 45); Hoogland (Zverotic 45), Stafylidis (Kavanagh 45), Bodurov, Amorebieta (Hutchisnon 61); Fazlic (Parker 45); Kacaniklic (G. Williams 66), R. Williams; David (Eisfeld 45); Mitroglou (Rodallega 45), Woodrow.
GOAL: Woodrow (87).