St. Andrew’s served up a strange game and a surreal atmosphere for Fulham’s first Carabao Cup fixture of the season but Marco Silva’s young stars ensured the Cup run would continue with a composed performance in the Midlands. The Blues’ Balti pie was my highlight of what proved to be a fairly dominant but also rather uneventful visit to the city of a thousand trades.

It felt rather like another pre-season friendly with youth players and those returning to fitness feeling their way back to proper football. There was plenty of pretty passing and patient possession but plenty of chances went astray throughout a ninety minutes that was often short on quality. Although fairly few Fulham fans made the trip to Birmingham – the fact that tickets were only released on Friday meant the travelling contingent numbered three hundred – they did manage to compete with the home supporters in terms of noise, although this was largely down to the fact that two stands were entirely out of action due to stadium maintenance issues.

This created a strange once-in-a-lifetime phenonium. The typically hostile home environment became something of a smaller and yet close-quarters event, ending with the Fulham following requiring a police escort despite the substantially reduced crowd. It’s never dull in Birmingham, after all.

The best moment of the match, however, was Jay Stansfield’s delightful first goal for Fulham. The teenage striker took it brilliantly. After cutting in from the left flank, Stansfield fired the ball into the top corner of Neil Etheridge’s net past the failing limbs of three defenders from the edge of the box. What a way to get off the mark.

Every Denis Odoi touch was met by cheers and chants for our cult hero, who was rewarded with the captain’s armband. There were songs for the returning Michael Hector and, even though his name proved impossible to rhyme, it would remiss not to be remark on how seamlessly Fulham’s first Kosovan player, Adrion Pajaziti, slotted into central midfield. The travelling support grew more nervous in the final 25 minutes of the game – wary of last season’s last-minute woes under Scott Parker.

Thankfully though – as if to underline that all of that was a thing of the past – Antonee Robinson was able to slot one into the bottom left corner to secure Fulham’s safe passage into the third round of the Carabao Cup and become the eighth American to score for London’s oldest professional football club.