Fulham’s under 21 side made it three wins from three in the group stage of the Premier League Cup by thrashing Hull City 6-0 in East Yorkshire yesterday afternoon.
Steve Wigley had to ring the changes with a number of his key players having travelled to the Algarve with the first team squad for Marco Silva’s warm weather training camp, but the promotion of several under-18 stars and deploying the likes of Harvey Araujo and Luciano D’Auria-Henry out of position didn’t disrupt the quality of Fulham’s football. D’Auria-Henry, who began his career as a winger before being converted to a full back at Motspur Park, showed glimpses of his old finishing ability when he fired the Whites ahead inside two minutes after latching onto a searching pass from Martial Godo.
It was 2-0 just three minutes later. Aaron Loupalo-Bi continued his hot goalscoring streak by punishing some slack home defending with a terrific turn and finish inside the Hull box after a D’Auria-Henry cross had come through to him. Adrion Pajaziti made it three midway through the first half, with D’Auria-Henry involved along the right flank again, before the classy Kosovan midfielder finished emphatically. Loupalo-Bi grabbed his second of the game five minutes before the break, driving a lovely finish into corner of the net.
Hull would have been glad to hear the half time whistle, but the visitors weren’t about to slack off in the second half. Ibane Bowat headed in a Pajaziti corner to put Fulham five goals to the good, before the sixth arrived courtesy of some calamitous City defending. Jevon Mills sought out his goalkeeper with a back pass but Thomas Macauley failed to control it and the ball rolled into his own goal. It was a slightly surreal way to end a sublime Fulham showing at the Dransfield Stadium.
The Whites now have nine points from three games and are three points clear of second-placed Nottingham Forest, who have played a game more. Wigley’s side are in prime position to qualify for the knockout phase of the competition. They face Forest at Motspur Park in their next fixture on Friday 9 December.
HULL CITY UNDER 21s (4-4-2): Macauley; Emmanuel, Chorlton (Leake 45), Mills, Taylor; Wallis (Green 78), Wood, Hall (Leckie 78), Chadwick; Scott, Cannon (Lovick 61). Sub (not used): Voase.
BOOKED: Emmanuel, Wallis, Mills.
FULHAM UNDER 21s (4-2-3-1): Allen; Williams (de Fougerolles 72), Bowat, Odutayo, C. Robinson; Araujo, Okkas; D’Auria-Henry (Gordon 72), Godo, Okkas (Osmand 82); Loupalo-Bi (de Jesus 45). Sub (not used): McNally.
BOOKED: Williams, Pajaziti, Okkas.
GOALS: D’Auria-Henry (2), Loupalo-Bi (5, 40), Pajaziti (23), Bowat (69), Mills (o.g. 85).
REFEREE: Scott Jackson.