Fulham’s under 23s fought back from a goal down to beat Newcastle United at Motspur Park this afternoon thanks to three second half strikes.
The young Whites were keen to return to winning ways after being beaten at Wolves last Monday but made the worst possible start in the Surrey sunshine. Joe White threaded a gorgeous ball through the heart of the home defence and Dylan Stephenson galloped away from Terence Kongolo to slot his sixth goal in as many games past Taye Ashby-Hammond in only the second minute. Fulham quickly fashioned a response wih the lively Jay Stansfield shooting fractionally wide after making an opportunity all for himself, before Matthew Bondswell bravely blocked the young striker’s shot after Steven Sessegnon had surged into the area and supplied a cross.
Kongolo’s comeback lasted just forty minutes before he limped off with another injury, but Fulham almost forced an equaliser before half time. Max Thompson produced a magnificent save to keep out Ziyad Larkeche’s effort and, from the rebound, Marlon Fossey found Terry Ablade in the area but Charlie Wiggett arrived in the nick of time to snuff out the danger. Fulham kept up the tempo after the resumption with Ollie O’Neill denied by another smart Thompson stop, before the home side were presented with a glorious chance to equalise. Eight minutes after the break, Bondswell made a dreadful hash of an attempted backpass and Terry Ablade had the simplest of tasks to fire past a helpless goalkeeper from ten yards out.
Steve Wigley’s side suddenly had the momentum. They went in front midway through the second half when Stansfield’s low angled drive nestled in the bottom corner from sixteen yards. It was a clinical finish after the ball had broken to him on the right angle of thea area following fine approach play from Sonny Hilton. The hosts made sure of the three points when Conor McAvoy powered home a Hilton corner at the near post eight minutes later. Fulham’s under 23s are now three points clear of Norwich at the top of the PL2 table.
FULHAM UNDER 23s (4-2-3-1): T. Ashby-Hammond; Fossey, Larkeche, McAvoy, Kongolo (Odutayo 40); S. Sessegnon, Pajaziti; Hilton, O’Neill, Stansfield; Ablade (Harris 77). Subs (not used): Adams, Williams, Tiehi.
BOOKED: S. Sessegnon, Hilton, McAvoy.
GOALS: Ablade (53), Stansfield (65), McAvoy (73).
NEWCASTLE UNITED UNDER 23s (4-3-3): Thompson; Barrett, Bondswell, Young, Wiggett; Anderson (Brookwell 62), Savage, White; Longelo, Wilson (De Bolle 82), Stephenson. Subs (not used): Banda, Scott, Ferguson.
BOOKED: Bondswell, De Bolle.
GOAL: Stephenson (2).