Three Fulham academy stars to watch

Cody Drameh

The energetic full back has heavily impressed at both U23 and U18 level this season. Cody played a crucial part in the U18 journey in the FA Youth Cup, creating several goals for his teammates and scoring one himself, whilst also maintaining his defensive duties to a great standard. Having trained with the first team all season long, it is a surprise to me that Cody has yet to make a senior appearance.

He is the first choice right-back for the U23, pushing Marlon Fossey, who’s just come back from a long term injury, to left back. On occasions the pair have alternated but with the ability and work rate which Cody possesses, it would be hard for anyone to take his place on a team sheet.

Drameh has featured for England U18’s on a few occasions and whilst it’s clear to see that he is winning all the plaudits for his excellent performances, the stats are also in his favour; he has 7 assists in 17 games for the PL2 side which is incredible for any full back at any level. His goal contribution of 26% shows that Cody is clearly excelling at youth level and I believe he should be tested at senior level and under the guidance of Scott Parker and Stuart Gray, we could have a real player on our hands.

Fabio Carvalho

The promising starlet is an England U18 international, playing at a higher international level than former teammate Harvey Elliott, he is a footballer who would heavily appeal to a statistician as the attacking midfielder has 15 goal contributions in 21 league youth appearances. Having made U18 football look too easy for him, Carvalho was quickly promoted to the PL2 squad where he has been the star performer all season.

Carvalho’s contract is up in the summer of 2021 and the club will surely offer him a new deal to keep the bigger clubs out of interest from snapping up arguably the most promising player in the academy.

Having seen teammates Jay Stansfield and Sylvester Jasper both make the transition from youth to first team football, Fabio has every right to feel hard done by that he hasn’t replicated the successes of his colleagues. Once described as one of the ‘20 talents to watch in England’ by The Guardian, Carvalho will almost definitely be a part of Scott Parker’s pre-season plans.

Martell Taylor-Crossdale

The dominant striker has scored twice in two appearances for the England Under 20 side and his poaching ability within the box is like no other. His scoring instincts meant that Fulham had to compete with several clubs abroad to secure his services. Unlike Cody and Fabio, Martell has featured for Fulham, appearing in the Carabao Cup defeat to Southampton earlier on in the season.
Martell, who we signed from Chelsea in the summer has scored a goal every three games for an under-performing PL2 team, and his huge presence on the pitch has been integral to the PL2 side. What tends to happen with strikers is that they are based purely on stats, however, Martell looks good stats-wise but his class and know how on the field shows spectators that it is only a matter of time before he breaks through into our first team and pushes the likes of Aleksander Mitrovic for a name in a matchday squad in the future.

Having came through the same Chelsea youth team as the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi, who was there to see Martell score a hat trick vs Reading u23s earlier on in the season, and also the likes of Reece James and Billy Gilmour, Martell will undoubtedly have the desire to follow in the successes of such players and I believe that he needs to feature in our first team in the near future to help continue his excellent development.

Fulham’s International Fanbase

If I can’t write for this website in times like the current, then I should retire my pen (or keyboard). I sit here locked up having had my one period of daily activity, swiping aimlessly on Tinder and binge-watching Netflix shows, it’s time to do something a little more productive.

Clint Dempsey, Mark Schwarzer, Graham Leggat, chance matches and emigrations are some of the threads that have connected Fulham to an international fanbase. This past week I’ve been asking for some of our international fans to give me an insight on their experiences being a Fulham supporter overseas, from closer to home like Ireland to further beyond in the United States and Canada to even further in Japan and Australia, there’s a footprint of football fans that call Fulham FC their team.

Whilst us closer to the Cottage are leaving home to journey to the Cottage, for me it’s South East London so a train and tube around 90 minutes worth (probably including the walk from Putney Bridge), there’s a number of supporters waking up to alarms to get their own Fulham fix of a weekend. For European based supporters, the matchday isn’t too intrusive but in North America, 3pm on a Saturday could be anywhere from 6am to 12pm dependent on location.

There’s a strange obsession on trying to be a truer fan than others, but I admittedly admire the dedication of those in the Australasia area waking up gone midnight on a Saturday, after a week of work to get their taste of Fulham. The volume of supporters Fulham attract to Craven Cottage isn’t anything special, the ability to make an income from other avenues is important to sustainability, especially in a world where Fulham are no longer an established top-flight club. Receiving a revenue stream from an extra few hundred (or thousand) from elsewhere in Europe and further out does make a difference.

Maybe it’s the ‘Rona but I’m feeling quite sentimental in terms of togetherness. I feel the pessimists reading this thinking ‘f*** the tourists.’ Well, this isn’t a post for you and I apologise for wasting your time, bro.

The footballing world has developed massively over the past decade, streams have become more accessible and social media has created an ability to connect with the rest of the world instantly. Twitter, for example, isn’t even 10 years into serious popularity, the occupation for anyone in social media or most things digital is new and ever-changing and it just displays how bloody awesome it is to be able to talk to people in the US about the same thing.

Tangent over, one of the things I wanted to get from talking to our foreign Fulham family is how they do stay attached to the family, how they remain connected the football club. Social media, understandably was top of the criteria whether it was Fulham supporter run pages (such as here, or Fulhamish/Fulham Focus or Cottage Talk) but also these supporters are making their own avenues – did you know for example; that ‘FFC Norway’ is extremely active on Facebook? I’m not a big Facebook guy but I find it so cool that people from Oslo or Tromso are taking time to talk Fulham let alone actively support or put money into the Fulham bank account.

There wasn’t really a real point to this post I guess, just a shout out to the life of those that support Fulham even if Craven Cottage isn’t within commutable distance on a regular basis. However, you start supporting the club, it’s a testament to the current fanbase and the unique feel that people who may only see the team once a year (or even less than that) are still determined to be a part of it all.

Thanks to all that helped me gather information, hope to see you all at the Cottage in the future.

Just a quick side-note, I noticed this past week that Fulham froze their ‘FFCTV’ membership payments this month given the lack of games – I personally wouldn’t have minded them taking the cash. With that in mind, I thought it’d be nice to donate the money that would’ve gone to the club to the Fulham FC Foundation who do lots of good in the community. It didn’t get much traction on Twitter but heck, a last plug here also.

JustGiving Page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/frankie-taylor2?newPage=True

RT here if you don’t mind: https://twitter.com/fptaylor_/status/1242051615349264386?s=20

Cairney rescues a point for Fulham

A superb strike from Tom Cairney rescued a point for Fulham at fellow promotion chasers Bristol City this afternoon, although Scott Parker will feel his side should have claimed a victory after dominating for long spells at Ashton Gate.

As it was, the Whites had to come from behind to keep themselves in the automatic promotion hunt. Bobby Decordova-Reid spurned a number of opportunities to make his first return to BS3 before Nakhi Wells punished some sloppy defending to head the Robins in front with twenty minutes to play. It looked like that would settle the contest, but Cairney had other ideas, showing great anticipation to seize on a loose ball after Harry Arter had surged forward and curled a majestic equaliser into the bottom corner from 19 yards.

Parker’s men pushed for a winner during four added minutes. Former Fulham defender Tomas Kalas produced an outstanding block to prevent Decordova-Reid from poaching a winner. The most contentious moment came with virtually the last kick of the game when goalkeeper Nicky Mäenpää spilled a cross from Cyrus Christie and then clattered into Cairney as the Fulham skipper looked poised to convert the loose ball.

Fulham would have been frustrated not to claim all three points as they started at a swift tempo, with Decordova-Reid the man who posed his old club the most searching questions. He flicked a header wide after Ivan Cavaleiro delivered a peach of a cross from the left flank and then was foiled by a fine save from Mäenpää as he unleashed a venomous strike from the edge of the area on the stroke of half-time.

Marek Rodak had made largely routine saves in the first period, fielding a couple of straightforward efforts from Wells and Andreas Weimann, but he made an outstanding save to keep out Wells’ speculative strike just after the break once it looped off Tim Ream and looked destined for the opposite corner. Decordova-Reid went close at the other end, driving a low shot straight at Mäenpää after being released by Mitrovic, and the second half was much more open as both teams sought to breathe more live into their promotion campaigns.

Substitute Filip Benkovic rose well to head a Callum O’Dowda cross over the bar and Bristol City’s ambition was underlined when they broke breathlessly from a Fulham corner with Weimann surging into the penalty area only for Tim Ream to make a last-ditch tackle with two home runners free in the middle. The reprieve was short-lived. From the corner, Fulham spurned several chances to clear and Wells powered a header past Rodak at the far post to give the home side a lead.

Fulham were desperate to force a way back into the contest. Aleksandar Mitrovic, who was kept remarkably quiet by the Bristol City defence throughout, rippled the wrong side of the net with a low free-kick and then Mäenpää made an excellent reaction stop to thwart Denis Odoi’s near-post header from Neeskens Kebano’s corner.

It was left to Cairney to deliver a vital equaliser with six minutes left. He reacted quickest to seize a loose ball outside the Bristol City box and fashioned the sort of magnificent left-footed finish that has become his trademark in the Championship. Both Cairney and Decordova-Reid professed disappointment after the final whistle at Fulham’s failure to cut the gap to the top two, but the Whites will need to take matters into their own hands with crucial fixtures against Brentford and Leeds in the next eleven days.

BRISTOL CITY (4-4-2): Mäenpää; Pereira, Dasilva, Kalas, Baker (Benkovic 23); Smith, Massengo, O’Dowda, Paterson (Diedhou 64); Weimann, Wells (Eliasson 90). Subs (not used): Wollacott, Hunt, Williams, Palmer.

BOOKED: Pereira, Benkovic.

GOAL: Wells (70).

FULHAM (4-3-3): Rodak; Christie, Odoi, Hector, Ream (Knockaert 82); Arter, Decordova-Reid (Johansen 90+3), Cairney; Kamara, Cavaleiro (Kebano 66), Mitrovic. Subs (not used): Bettinelli, S. Sessegnon, McDonald, O’Riley.

BOOKED: Arter, Odoi.

GOAL: Cairney (84).

REFEREE: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).

From the opposition stand – Bristol City

Ahead of tomorrow’s big lunchtime meeting with Bristol City, I asked City fan Euan (@euanbcfc_) a few questions about his side’s season so far.

What do you make of Bristol City’s season so far?

“It’s an odd one. On paper it should be seen as a success; seventh place, just two points off the play-offs. But compare that to a negative goal difference, a recent winless streak of four games, a period after our away win at Craven Cottage where we only beat teams in the bottom three until late January, plus that Cup defeat to Shrewsbury and it suddenly seems a bit disappointing.”

Do you see yourself being in a play-off spot come May?

“Personally, I’m not all that confident we can. I just don’t feel Johnson is able to get it done with you, Preston, Blackburn, Swansea all seemingly more up for it. But that being said, if we can get Wells scoring again and re-introduce Kasey Palmer as well as tightening up at the back a bit as well, I’d say we have a very decent chance.”

You mentioned Lee Johnson, what do you make of his season so far?

“In terms of the fanbase as a whole, I can’t remember a time when it’s been as split as it is now in regards to him. Personally, I wanted him gone months ago, but a lot of fans would definitely disagree. It just seems like he’s coached all flair and excitement out of our game this season, and if some of the dressing room rumours are true he’s most certainly lost it, which isn’t ideal when you’re pushing for the top six.”

Is there a player Fulham should look out for tomorrow afternoon?

“Normally I’d say Niclas Eliasson, but I can see him being dropped and our formation changed, so I’d probably say Dan Bentley in goal. Without him we’d be nowhere near where we are now, and I genuinely believe he’s one of the top three stoppers in the league. Ten clean Sheets in a team who, as I said, have a negative goal difference, shouldn’t be ignored. But again, if he plays it should really be Eliasson – his pace and ability on the ball is unreal, and he has the most assists in the league for a reason.”

Finally, how do you see tomorrow’s action unfolding and can you give us a score prediction?

“I can see it going either way to be honest with you. With it being our 125th anniversary game, and live on Sky, we should theoretically be really up for it, and obviously we won the return fixture earlier on on the season. However you’re simply on much better form, and of course you have two academy products in Bobby Reid and Joe Bryan who’ll be eager to get involved, so I have to admit I think it’s going to be an away win.”

Bristol City doubts; Dan Bentley, Benik Afobe, Marley Watkins, Zak Vyner

Fulham doubts; Terence Kongolo, Alfie Mawson, Joshua Onomah, Joe Bryan

My preferred Fulham XI: Rodak, Christie, Ream, Hector, Odoi, McDonald, Cairney (c), Decordova-Reid, Knockaert, Mitrovic, Cavaleiro

@euanbcfc_ score prediction: Bristol City 1-2 Fulham FC

@FFCSeb’s score prediction: Bristol City 0-1 Fulham FC

Stansfield salvages a point for Fulham U18s

A clinical finish from Jean-Pierre Tiehi and a late Jay Stansfield free-kick salvaged a point for Fulham’s under 18s in an entertaining clash with Aston Villa this afternoon.

Ravaged by injuries, Steve Wigley was forced to deploy four centre halves in an unusual line-up. The changes gave sixteen year-old Xavier Benjamin the opportunity to show his capabilities on the right of a diamond, with Scottish youth international Connor McAvoy filling in at right back due to the lack of options. There was also a start for promising keeper George Wickens, who returned after a five month injury lay-off. Young striker Stansfield started again after his impressive brace against Southampton last weekend.

Villa went in front after twenty minutes after forward DJ Campton-Sturridge took a theatrical tumble in the penalty area and earned a spot-kick. Hayden Lindley’s effort came back off the post but Charlie Farr was the quickest to react and fired home the loose ball. Wigley’s young side might have been dispirited but they fought back admirably. Jean-Pierre Tiehi continued his fine run of form, scoring his fourth goal in six games, with a delightful finish six minutes before half-time, but the forward was forced off with an injury after a crunching tackle – which saw him on crutches after the game – before the interval.

The introduction of Imani Lanquedoc saw Mika Biereth deployed as a striker alongside Jay Stansfield, having previously operated behind Stansfield and Tiehi up until the substitution. Villa were certainly physical in their approach, with several heavy challenges aimed at Stansfield in particular, for which the referee issued three yellow cards.

A disappointing lapse in defensive concentration allowed Campton-Sturridge to restore Villa’s lead ten minutes into the second half when he clinically converted Cameron Archer’s clever pass. Fulham looked uncharacteristically lethargic until wonderkid Michael Olakigbe, fresh from a sensational performance against Watford, was summoned from the bench. The winger made an almost immediate impact, waltzing past a couple of defenders and winning a free-kick just outside the area. Stansfield stepped up and found the net with the aid of a massive deflection – earning a point with two minutes to play despite a below-par performance.

FULHAM U18s (4-3-1-2): Wickens (7); McAvoy (6), Murphy (6), Bowat (5, Olakigbe 86, 7), Odutayo (7); Page (6), Benjamin (6), O’Neill (7); Biereth (6); Tiehi (7, Lanquedoc 45, 5); Stansfield (8). Subs (not used): McNally, Araujo

GOALS: Tiehi (39), Stansfield (88).

ASTON VILLA U23s (4-3-3): Onodi; Farr, Sylla, Lindley, Sohna; Goodridge (Reddin 55), Appiah, Raikhy; Archer, Young, Campton-Sturridge (Rowe 84) Subs (not used): Marshall, Sewell, Ealing.

BOOKED: Lindley, Sohna, Sylla, Farr.

GOALS: Farr (20), Campton-Sturridge (53).

Parker praises Fulham’s character

Scott Parker praised his side’s character after Fulham battled to a vital victory over fellow promotion chasers Preston North End at Craven Cottage this afternoon.

The Whites were made to work hard for the three points. They had to wait until just before the hour to edge in front, when David Nugent headed Anthony Knockaert’s corner into his own net. The victory wasn’t secured until the final minute of stoppage time when Aboubakar Kamara finished his own swift counter-attack with aplomb.

Parker’s men are now six points behind second-placed Leeds, who thrashed Hull in the lunchtime kick-off, and seven off leaders West Brom, who lost at home to Wigan. The Fulham boss is refusing to look too far ahead, however, and wanted to concentrate on the way his side dealt with a strong side from Preston today.

“I’m pleased about the dogged display. The first 20 minutes we had to weather a storm. Preston had a day extra in their recovery and put pressure on us. I felt that one goal might decide the game and we managed to get that. After that I felt we were in the ascendancy.

We need to embrace this expectation. If you want to be a top team you need something a bit different, to have character. We’re slowly getting there.

It’s always important to win matches – we’ve come out of a busy schedule and to go into a busy periods with 10 games left it’s about our mentality now. West Brom and Leeds have been the best and most consistent in the division. They’re top teams and we have them both to play but we need to concentrate first on Bristol City.

My main focus is to worry about us. This division brings surprises week-in, week-out, so if you look too far ahead you can be jabbed on the nose. I look at my players and we have a bit of belief about us now. The dramatic way we won says that I see a group of players prepared to grind out a result.