Fulham’s under 23s showed great character to come from behind and beat Wolverhampton Wanderers to extend their winning run to eight league games in a gripping contest at Motspur Park on Friday night.
Steve Wigley’s side, which saw Steven Sessegnon line up at left back and promising teenage midfielder Luke Harris start again in the engine room, begin brightly with Adrion Pazajiti having an early sighter scrambled away by the Wolves defence but the visitors went ahead after ten minutes. A terrific move culminated in a fine cross from Dexter Lembikisa finding Harvey Griffiths, who curled an unstoppable effort into the top corner.
Fulham were briefly perturbed by going a goal down, but Matt Dibley-Dias fashioned a good chance ten minutes later. The classy midfielder’s clipped ball over the top released Terry Ablade but Louie Moulden smothered the striker’s attempted dink over the goalkeeper. Sessegnon then let fly from long range but the Wolves stopper easily fielded that effort as well.
The hosts were back on level terms just before the half hour mark. A patient Fulham move involved both full backs with Sessegnon finding Marlon Fossey and the American teed up Sonny Hilton, who fired in his fifth goal of the season. The winger made the goal that put Fulham in front just before the break when his corner came off a Wolves defender and fell nicely for Harris to head home at the back post.
Fulham went in search of a third and Moulden denied Ablade with a stunning save from the forward’s fierce volley, but was beaten from another set piece. Hilton again supplied the delivery with Dibley-Dias adding a flick on at the near post before an unmarked Charlie Robinson nodded in at the far post to give the Whites a commanding cushion at the interval.
The young Whites nearly extended their advantage early in the second half but Ablade was denied the chance of finishing Ollie O’Neill’s excellent cross by a terrific piece of defending by Ollie TIpton. The visitors came close to getting right back into the contest when Damien Las was forced into a smart save from Griffiths’ header and Wolves did make a game of it with ten minutes left when Lee Harkin prodded over the line from Harry Birtwhistle’s cross.
Fulham nearly restored their two-goal lead immediately but the lively Ablade saw his header tipped over by Moulden. Wolves then almost equalised with a cleverly-worked free-kick but Las showed his agility to keep out Owen Hesketh’s effort. The home side made sure of all three points two minutes from time when Sessegnon cut in from the left flank and fired in a fourth off his stronger right foot.
FULHAM UNDER 23s (4-2-3-1): Las; Fossey, S. Sessegnon, C. Robinson, Odutayo; Pajaziti (Bowie 83), Dibley-Dias; Hilton, O’Neill, Harris; Ablade. Subs (not used): McNally, Araujo, Tiehi.
BOOKED: O’Neill, Odutayo.
GOALS: Hilton (29), Harris (38), C. Robinson (43), S. Sessegnon (88).
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS UNDER 23s (5-4-1): Moulden; Scott (Fraser 69), Lembikisa, Tipton, Estrada, Richards; Griffiths (Hubner 78), Jordao (Hodnett 32), Birtwistle, Hesketh; Harkin. Subs (not used): Bugarin, Roberts.
GOALS: Griffiths (10), Harkin (79).