A fine hat-trick from Ollie Sanderson powered Fulham’s under 18s to a 4-0 win over Norwich City at Motspur Park this afternoon as the young Whites bounced back from their first defeat of the season at Stoke.
The centre forward was the focal point of the home side’s attacks from the outset, heading an early cross from Devan Tanton straight at Jayden St. Paul in the visiting goal. The lively Michael Olakigbe was denied a chance to open the scoring after a fine move in midfield by an offside flag before Osman Foyo offered a warning of the danger Norwich posed in attack by evading a number of tackles before lifting his finish over the bar.
Jaylan Wildbore was unfortunate not to open the scoring midway through the first half when his deflected effort came back off the crossbar after more incisive attacking play from Tanton, who had raided forward from right back. Luke Harris and Imani Lanquedoc went close with snapshots before Wildbore saw a close-range effort well saved by St. Paul after he had seized on a slack touch from Waylan Renecke.
Norwich nearly stole the lead five minutes before the break when Joe Duffy guided a header from a corner towards goal, only for Harvey Araujo to scramble clear from underneath his own crossbar. Fulham made the most of that let off by taking the lead from their very next attack. Wildbore found space along the right flank and whipped in a devilish cross for Sanderson to turn home his fourth goal of an already impressive campaign.
The home side continued in the same vein after the interval but were indebted to a brilliant save from Alfie McNally for preserving their lead. The Fulham goalkeeper produced an excellent reaction stop to claw away another Duffy header and, from the ensuing corner, Michael Reindorf lashed into the side netting. As in the first period, Fulham went up field and extended their advantage. Wildbore was the architect again supplying another perfect cross for Sanderson to dispatch into the far corner.
Substitute Lemar Gordon, promoted from the under 16s, skied over from Tanton’s teasing cross to spurn an open goal but that glaring miss proved academic. After Olakigbe and Harris went close in quick succession, the Welsh youth international was somewhat fortunate to see his shot squirm under St. Paul’s body for the third goal – it should really have been a routine save for the Norwich keeper.
Sanderson completed his treble with ten minutes to play – emphatically volleying home Olakigbe’s cross to round off the scoring. Fulham’s comprehensive win leaves Steve Wigley’s side in third place in the early league table, a point off top spot.
FULHAM UNDER 18s (4-3-3): McNally; Tanton, Araujo, C. Robinson, De Fougerolles; Okkas (Caton 78), Harris, Lanquedoc (Parker 45); Wildbore (Gordon 66), Olakigbe, Sanderson. Subs (not used): Murray.
BOOKED: Harris, Tanton.
GOALS: Sanderson (43, 62, 80), Harris (76).
NORWICH CITY (4-3-3): St. Paul; Okeowo (Jambang 64), Shipley, Trialist, Renecke; Hills, Reindorf, Brooke; Thorn, Foyo, Duffy. Subs (not used): Trueman, Roberts, Pinyon.
BOOKED: St. Paul, Shipley.