A brace from Michael Olakigbe ensured Fulham under 18s climbed to the top of the Premier U18 League Division 1 South with a comfortable win at Birmingham City this afternoon.
The England youth international continued his superb goalscoring start to the season by grabbing a match settling double after Jaylan Wildbore’s close-range finish had put the young Whites ahead. New under 18s coach Ali Melloul enjoyed a excellent start to his tenure after taking over from Steve Wigley, with the visitors dominating the opening stages of a very watchable encounter.
Fulham’s clearest chances initially came from set players with Wildbore and Harvey Araujo heading wide from corners. George Okkas then struck a post with a powerful free-kick before Wildbore prodded the away side in front. Alfie Brooks did brilliantly to deny Luke Harris after the striker had latched onto a floated cross from Devan Tanton, but Wildbore was on hand to sidefoot home from eight yards.
The Whites continued to play on the front foot, although their second goal owed much to a mix-up at the back. Brooks tried to play a short ball out of defence having received a backpass but Olakigbe, who had led the Fulham press, nipped in to seize possession and roll the simplest of finishes into an empty net. That strike effectively killed the contest – although Fulham were eager to add further goals in the second half.
Wildbore and Imani Lanquedoc spurned good chances to extend Fulham’s lead, with Brooks making a fine save from the latter, before Olakigbe took matters into his own hands to round off the scoring with a sensational strike. He collected a pass from Tyler Caton and spun sharply twenty five yards from goal before firing an unstoppable finish into the top corner. Fulham are now a point clear of Arsenal and Crystal Palace at the top of the table and return to league action when Chelsea visit Motspur Park on October 23rd.
BIRMINGHAM CITY UNDER 18s (3-4-2-1): Brooks; Browne (Williams 65), Nguepissi, Carsley; Sullivan (Khela 83), Ogor, Patterson (Home 65), James; Bellingham, Hall; Wakefield. Subs (not used): Mayo, Rushton.
FULHAM (4-2-3-1): McNally; Tanton, Araujo, de Fougorelles, C. Robinson; Caton, Okkas (Gordon 62, Parker 69); Wildbore (Osmond 76), Olakigbe, Lanquedoc; Sanderson. Subs (not used): Paternoster.
GOALS: Wildbore (24), Olakigbe (41, 75).