Dennis Adeniran followed up his dream senior debut with a stunning strike to see off Blackburn Rovers and get the Fulham Under 23s off to the perfect start at Craven Cottage tonight.
The England under 17 skipper smashed in a superb effort from long range to break Rovers’ stubborn resistance with just three minutes left of the opening game of the revamped Premier League 2 competition. Adeniran, who also scored on his first-team bow against Leyton Orient in the EFL Cup last week, volleyed home a cross by the impressive Marlon Fossey from fully 25 yards to give Peter Grant’s side the victory their dominant performance merited.
Sean Kavanagh, Luca de la Torre and Tayo Edun, who all featured in the Cup win at Brisbane Road, were included in a strong side selected by Grant and, although Blackburn had a few early spells of promising possession, it was Fulham who bossed much of the first half. Kavanagh showed his set-piece ability, which provided Adeniran with the opener at Orient, with an excellent free-kick bringing the best out of visiting goalkeeper Andrew Fisher and Adeniran flashed a shot over the crossbar.
Blackburn toiled manfully, keeping their shape and working exceptionally hard, but there were short on quality in the final third. Their defensive discipline looked set to earn them a point, however, as Josh Walker – perhaps surprisingly selected to lead the line ahead of Stephen Humphreys, who had such an eye-catching pre-season – was well shackled by the Rovers central defenders. But then, Adeniran, having already offered a warning about his shooting ability in the first half, crashed in his sensational strike to hand Fulham all three points in the nick of time.
FULHAM UNDER 23s: Norman; Fossey, Davies, Sheckleford, Kavanagh; Smile, Adeniran; Walker, de La Torre, Edun; Adebayo. Subs: Lutwaka, Dolan, Kait, Thorsteinsson, Humphreys.
BLACKBURN ROVERS UNDER 23s: Fisher, Nyambe, Travis, Tomlinson, MacGloire, Platt, Thompson, Rankin-Costello, Mansell, Grayson, Boyle. Subs: Askew, Ashcroft, Haworth, Rittenberg, Doyle.