Teenage striker Stevie Humphrys scored twice as Fulham eased to a comfortable 3-0 win over Cork City at Turners Cross this afternoon.
Humphrys seized his opportunity to impress Slavisa Jokanovic by punishing some poor defending to notch a first half double before Matt Smith rounded off the scoring in the second half. Cork boss John Caulfield opted to field an inexperienced side full of faces from the club’s academy as he prioritised the Leesiders’ existing commitments in both domestic and European competition and, after an encouraging start, the hosts struggled to deal with Fulham’s probing passing.
The Championship went in front on fourteen minutes when Togolese international Floyd Ayite made a fine impression on his first start in Fulham colours. Ayite injected searing pace into a promising Fulham break and cut back a precise cross from the byline – handing Humphrys the chance to tuck home a sidefooted finish from ten yards. With Scott Parker running the show from a deep lying midfield position, Fulham were in complete command.
The second goal arrived as a result of a dreadful defensive mix-up between City goalkeeper Matthew Connor, who signed a permanent deal after the final whistle, and his back four as Humphrys poached a straightforward second from three yards out. Fulham’s intensity certainly wasn’t diluted by Jokanovic making ten changes at half-time – if anything the second string were even keener to make an impression on the Cottagers’ head coach.
Irish full back Sean Kavanagh supplied the third five minutes into the second period with a devilish cross that Smith powered home off the post having climbed majestically above the Cork defence. Fulham went close to further goals with Dennis Adeniran heading wide from close range, Cauley Woodrow curling three efforts wide and Lasse Vigen Christensen denied by a brave save from substitute goalkeeper David Coffey.
Our very own Lydia Campbell was in attendance and will offer her thoughts tomorrow …
CORK CITY (4-2-3-1): Connor (Coffey 78); McAlavey (Philllips 60), Ellis (Wall 78) , Ogbene (Crowley 83), McCarthy; Harrington, Drinan (Fernandes 85); Donnellan (O’Riordan 85), Coleman (Welch 78), Mcinerney (Iboma 45; Manley 83); Mullarkey (Byrne 83). Subs (not used): Mylod, Taylor.
FULHAM: Bettinelli (Rodak 45): Fredericks (Grimmer 45), R. Sessegnon (Kavanagh 45), Madl, Ream (Stearman 45); Tunnicliffe (Adeniran 45), Parker (Christensen 45), Cairney (de la Torre 45), Ayite (Edun 45); Humphrys (Woodrow 45), McCormack (Smith 45). Sub (not used): Joronen.
GOALS: Humphyrs (16, 25), Smith (51).
REFEREE: Graham Kelly.