Stevie Humphrys did his hopes of breaking into the first-team picture no harm as he added another brace to his impressive scoring tally in Fulham U23’s four-goal thrashing of Brighton & Hove Albion tonight in the PL2.
The 19 year-old striker, who could be considered for a call-up to the senior squad with Chris Martin unavailable to face his parent club Derby County on Saturday, added his twelfth and thirteenth goals of the campaign as Peter Grant’s side returning to winning ways after the disappointing reverse in the PL2 Cup at Charlton last week. Humphrys displayed his predatory instincts by pouncing to fire home a loose ball from a corner inside the six-yard box and then turned provider, adding the final pass to a flowing move that saw Tayo Edun saunter through the Albion defence to double the lead just before the break.
Fulham were indebted to a fine save from Jesse Joronen, who spread himself well to deny Connor Tighe, for preserving their lead and there was a terrific goal-saving tackle from Welsh defender Arron Davies before Edun, who looked impressive in his EFL Cup outings earlier in the season, finished in some style after Albion carelessly relinquished possession in midfield. The pattern of the contest continued after the break with Fulham looking far more threatening than a well-drilled Brighton side.
Humphrys went close to extending the home side’s advantage when he made contact with a dangerous cross from Marlon Fossey but could only divert the ball wide of goal on the stretch. Less then sixty seconds later, the in-form forward had his second goal. He couldn’t have asked for a simpler chance after being passed the ball by Albion goalkeeper Bailey Vose, but he finished it with aplomb. Humphrys was taken off after 71 minutes – in front of the watching Slavisa Jokanovic – perhaps with Saturday’s clash in mind.
Fulham were rampant and, although Woodrow narrowly missed with a rasping drive from long range, a fourth goal did arrive in stoppage time via George Williams, recently recalled from his loan spell with MK Dons. The Welsh international winger capped the night perfectly with an unstoppable drive from fully 30 yards that left the unfortunate Vose with no chance.
FULHAM UNDER 23s (4-2-3-1): Joronen; Fossey, Edun, Davies, Kavanagh; Christensen, Smile (Walker 45); De la Torre, Humphrys (Dolan 72), Williams; Woodrow. Subs (not used): Rodak, Jenz.
GOALS: Humphrys (23, 56), Edun (43), Williams (90+2).
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION UNDER 23s (4-3-3): Vose; Hunt, Hall (Ljubicic 85), Hutchinson, Cox; Bjordal, Collar, Towell, Barnett (Cochrane 86); Tighe, Harper (Cadman 66). Subs (not used): McGill, Martinez.