A brace from midfielder Fabio Carvalho ensured Fulham’s under 23s got back to winning ways against Sunderland at the London School of Economics this afternoon.
Colin Omogbehin and Mark Pembridge’s side ended a three-match winless streak with a confident display that absorbed a spirited start from the Black Cats and then clinically finished their chances. Carvalho, who now has ten league goals in another impressive campaign at youth level, was at the heart of the Whites’ most promising moves from the outset and almost opened the scoring after a fine pass from Adrion Pajaziti provided him with a shooting opportunity from an acute angle but Sunderland goalkeeper Anthony Patterson made a smart save.
Defender Conor McAvoy headed over from the ensuing corner, but it was from a set piece at the other end that Sunderland almost took the lead. A wind-assisted corner wrongfooted the returning Fulham goalkeeper Taye Ashby-Hammond and crashed off the crossbar. That was a lucky escape, but Ashby-Hammond then made an excellent stop to deny Josh Hawkes after the attacking midfielder had dribbled past several Fulham defenders and tried an effort from distance.
Fulham went in front midway through the first half when Carvalho coolly converted an excellent Sylvester Jasper cross with a modicum of fuss. The England youth international might have doubled his tally before the break but saw his powerful volley kept out by a combination of Patrick Almond and goalkeeper Patterson.
Almond was called in action after the interval as Fulham made a fast start and the teenage centre back was in just the right place to prevent Carvalho from latching onto Jean-Pierre Tiehi’s low cross. The Black Cats were fortunate to not fall further behind with an hour gone when McAvoy hit the post after being left largely unattended at a corner and Carvalho’s curler grazed the crossbar.
Sunderland nearly levelled matters from their very next attack when the lively Hawkes produced a fabulous right-wing cross but Will Harris’ control let him down at the crucial moment. That proved to be the wake up call that Fulham needed, when Carvalho rolled his second into an unguarded net when an attempted interception of Jayden Harris’ through ball went horribly wrong, eluding a stranded Patterson, and allowing Fulham’s most potent threat a simple finish.
FULHAM UNDER 23s (4-3-3): T. Ashby-Hammond; Duru, McAvoy, Kongolo, Fossey; J. Harris, Pajaziti, Davis; Carvalho, Tiehi, Jasper. Subs: Borto, Larckeche, Murphy, Francois, De Havilland.
GOALS: Carvalho (21, 64).
SUNDERLAND UNDER 23s: Patterson; Richardson, Taylor, Wilding, Beaumont, Almond, Wombwell, Hackett, W. Harris, Hawkes, Wearne. Subs: Krakue, Richardson, Watts, Chapman.