Bernd Leno: The German goalkeeper didn’t have much to do this afternoon. He was beaten by Jacob Brown’s first half header that rattled the near post and found himself in precisely the right place to catch Amari Bell’s far-post finish, but both men should probably have put Luton ahead. But today did other some other indications of why Leno is such a key part of this Fulham side – he was always gesticulating and cajoling his defenders, offering himself as an option in possession and proffering advice to his team-mates. 6
Kenny Tete: Another assured performance at right back from the flying Dutchman. Luton’s set-up and the fact that Fulham had to play in front of the Hatters didn’t really allow Tete to overlap along the right flank as he has done so effectively under Marco Silva. The full back is a real threat at set pieces and could easily have given Fulham the lead with a near-post header from a first half corner and almost helped the home side wrap the game up with a sumptuous late pass that sent Carlos Vinicius through on goal. 7
Timothy Castagne: Castagne’s continental pedigree made him perhaps the most interesting of Fulham’s summer signings and this was an impressive home debut after Antonee Robinson picked up on a knock on international debut. The Belgian looks a real threat going forward, even on the left flank, with plenty of clever runs to supplement the attack but he’s a genuine defender, who didn’t let any Luton attacker get the better of him – even when some of the rapid visiting substitutes appeared to have a headstart. 7
Issa Diop: An assured, if unflashy display, from the French centre back, who more than matched Carlton Morris in the physicality stakes and completed more passes individually than Luton’s whole side this afternoon. He won a couple of important headers as the Hatters poured forward in search of a late leveller and should be pleased with his part in Fulham’s first home league clean sheet since February. 6
Tim Ream: There’s been quite a clamour for Calvin Bassey to replace Ream since his arrival from Ajax, but this dominant display showed that there’s plenty of life in our ageless American just yet. Fresh from captaining his country in his hometown at the start of the international break, Ream’s reading of the game and distribution was perfectly suited to a fixture where Fulham would enjoy the lion’s share of possession. He frequently stepped in high up the pitch to break up Luton counters and prompt home flurries, whilst keeping the back door firmly shut. 7
Joao Palhinha: The Portuguese powerhouse played as if his deadline day jaunt to Munich never happened. He snapped into tackles from the off and memorably pinched the ball from behind Marvellous Nakamba in front of the Johnny Haynes Stand to a huge ovation. On what could have been a frustrating day for Fulham, Palhinha always showed for the ball and was even able to quicken the tempo on ocassions as well as ending one dangerous Luton break with an effortless sliding tackle. 8
Harrison Reed: Reed covered plenty of ground in an industrious and energetic display at the heart of the Fulham midfield but he still lacks the ingeniuty to unlock a well-drilled defensive line when in an advanced position himself. Silva has perfected the art of having Reed pop up on the right flank, but he often is left to check inside or play a pass backwards that can relieve the pressure on the opposition. Alex Iowbi offered dynamism as soon as he replaced Reed – but the Ginger Iniesta’s insatiable appetite for hard graft might have opened the spaces up for the substitute. 6
Harry Wilson: There could be no faulting how hard the Welsh international worked but Luton were able to nullify Wilson for long periods. The closest he came to a goal was through first-half free-kicks: the rest was meat and drink for Thomas Kaminski, whilst the other one swerved wide of the near post. The winger never stopped searching or showing for the ball, but Bobby De Cordova-Reid posed difficult problems once he had come off the bench. 6
Willian: The Brazilian veteran might have laid on the goal with a cross that proved too hot for Kaminski to handle, but Willian looks some way short of the high standards he set during his first season at Craven Cottage. He was far too easily marked during a first half where Fulham looked toothless, but did step up in a gear in the second period. Willian was unfortunate not to make it 2-0 when his shot was deflected wide of goal after a quick Fulham counter-attack. 6
Andreas Pereira: Pereira was poor for my money this afternoon. Rather than stretching the Luton defence, he retreated deeper and looked anomymous for long periods as the Hatters’ 5-3-2 swallowed up the most unpredictable of Fulham’s attacking talent. His influence was limited to whipping in dangerous set plays that almost delivered the opening goal and it was no surprise that Tom Cairney took his place in the final ten minutes of normal time.
Raul Jimenez: The Mexican could carry his international goal glut into the domestic arena and was starved of service for much of a first half during which Jimenez appeared horribly isolated. Perhaps that contributed to an audacious overhead kick that didn’t quite match the quality of the one at Arsenal last month but still led to Fulham’s clearest chance of the first half when Tete headed over from an ensuing corner. It rather sums up Jimenez’s start to his Craven Cottage career that, within three minutes of replacing the former Wolves forward, Carlos Vinicius had found the net. 6
Alex Iwobi: The debutant made an almost immediate impact with a lovely bit of close control followed by a clever switch out to Willian on the right flank. The Brazilian’s cross was pushed out to Vinicius by Kaminski and Fulham were in front. The Nigerian international did his bit to raise the tempo and might have scored himself had the midfielder not got underneath his shot. A very encouraging first outing for one of Silva’s new singings. 7
Carlos Vinicius: Talk about making your point to the manager. Marco Silva had ignored Vinicius all season until summoning him from the bench this afternoon and the Brazilian, an able understudy to Aleksandar Mitrovic last season, buried the first chance that came his way when Kaminski spilled Willian’s cross from the right. You’ve got to think that Carlos could get a few more opportunities after that decisive intervention. 7
Bobby Decordova-Reid: A lively cameo from the Jamaican international, who unselfishly teed up Iwobi when he might have shot himself, and did the hard yards up and down the left as Luton pressed for an equaliser late on. 7
Tom Cairney: You felt this was the sort of game where Fulham might need to call on their classy playmaker to unlock a disciplined defence, but as it was the Whites were able to deploy the captain’s game management in the closing stages. 6
Calvin Bassey: The centre back was only on the field for around four minutes having been introduced in stoppage time to protect Fulham’s slender advantage.