Marcus Bettinelli kept a clean sheet on his return to Fulham action as the Under 21 side recorded an impressive 3-0 at Newcastle United this afternoon.
The former England under-21 international, who has been sidelined since straining knee ligaments in a horrible collision with Matt Smith during the defeat at Hull City back in August, made an encouraging return to competitive football – coming through the encounter at Whitley Park unscathed and making two excellent saves in the second half. Bettinelli, who had nailed down the number one spot with a series of assured displays last season, will likely continue to feature for the Under 21s to build up his match sharpness before competing with current first choice keeper Andy Lonergan for a return to the first team.
Fulham’s excellent victory on Tyneside was secured by a brace from promising striker Stevie Humphries and an opening goal from Mikolaj Kweitniewski. An outstanding through ball from American teenager Luca de la Torre released Kweitniewski, who curled an unstoppable finish between Newcastle keeper Freddie Woodman. Both sides hit the post before the visitors took a firmer grip on the contest when Ben Pollock brought down Kweitniewski in the box. Humphreys confidently converted the penalty and added a third in second half stoppage time after punishing a poor defensive clearance to put a more convincing gloss on the final scoreline.
NEWCASTLE UNDER-21s: Woodman, Trodd, Kitchen, L Smith, Pollock, Adu-Peprah, C Smith, Barlaser, McNall, Longstaff, Laidler. Subs: B Smith, Williams, Heaney, Spooner, Lowther.
FULHAM UNDER-21s: Bettinelli; Bettinelli, Sheckleford, Davies, Donnelly, Elworthy, Smile, Thorsteinsson (Fossey 51), de la Torre, Kwietniewski; Redford (Walker 69), Humphrys. Subs (not used): Norman.