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Fulham U23s go top after Norwich win

Steve Wigley celebrated being confirmed as Fulham’s permanent under 23 coach with a win over Norwich as the Whites moved to the top of PL2 Second Division thanks to two second half goals at King’s Lynn tonight.

Norwich, managed by former Fulham defender Alain Neilson, were more than a match for their visitors in the first half with Tom Dickson-Peters spurning a glorious one-on-one chance before referee Robert Whitton waved away strong penalty appeals after Jon Rowe looked to have been bundled off by the returning Idris Odutayo. Fulham gradually got their precise passing going with Sonny Hilton shooting into the side netting and Jay Stansfield denied by Dylan Berry as the Canaries keeper made immediate amends his poor pass.

Rowe sent an ambitious overhead kick fractionally wide from a free-kick before Stansfield blazed over from Hilton’s cross at the other end. Fulham nearly went behind through a self-inflicted wound when Taye Ashby-Hammond’s slack clearance found its way to Tom Dickson-Peters, who did brilliantly to dart away from retreating defenders, and sidefooted against the post. Wigley’s charges finished the stronger – they had a goal chalked off for offside and Hilton appeared set to put Fulham in front but saw his goalbound finish scrambled off the line by Jon Tomkinson.

The Whites continued where they left off after the interval. Luke Harris had a drive well saved by Berry before Terry Ablade fired over from eight yards after excellent play down the left from Ziyad Larkeche. Adrion Pajaziti almost sensationally curled home from 20 yards but the Kosovar midfielder’s finish went agonisingly wide. They eventually went ahead with eighteen minutes to play when Hilton’s free-kick was turned into his own net by Josh Giurgi despite Berry’s best efforts to keep the ball out.

Substitute Jean Pierre Tiehi nearly doubled the lead on his first appearance since rejoining the club but his powerful header from a fabulous Marlon Fossey cross cannoned against the crossbar. Berry then did brilliantly to spread himself and thwart Hilton from six yards, but Fulham finally made sure of the three points in the last minute when Conor McAvoy headed home Stansfield’s cross at the far post.

NORWICH CITY UNDER 23s (4-3-3): Berry; Giurgi, Earley (Shipley 45), Tomkinson, Warner; Khumbeni (Brooke 66), Clarke (Hutchinson 88), Springett; Dickson-Peters, Rowe, Kamara. Subs (not used): Rose.

BOOKED: Earley.

FULHAM UNDER 23s (4-2-3-1): T. Ashby-Hammond; Fossey, Larkeche, McAvoy, Odutayo; Pajaziti, Harris (D’Auria-Henry 83); Hilton, O’Neill (Williams 74), Stansfield; Ablade (Tiehi 70). Subs (not used): Adams.

BOOKED: McAvoy, Williams, Tiehi.

GOALS: Giurgi (o.g. 72), McAvoy (90).

REFEREE: Robert Whitton.

ATTENDANCE: 118.

Sanderson hat trick sinks Norwich

A fine hat-trick from Ollie Sanderson powered Fulham’s under 18s to a 4-0 win over Norwich City at Motspur Park this afternoon as the young Whites bounced back from their first defeat of the season at Stoke.

The centre forward was the focal point of the home side’s attacks from the outset, heading an early cross from Devan Tanton straight at Jayden St. Paul in the visiting goal. The lively Michael Olakigbe was denied a chance to open the scoring after a fine move in midfield by an offside flag before Osman Foyo offered a warning of the danger Norwich posed in attack by evading a number of tackles before lifting his finish over the bar.

Jaylan Wildbore was unfortunate not to open the scoring midway through the first half when his deflected effort came back off the crossbar after more incisive attacking play from Tanton, who had raided forward from right back. Luke Harris and Imani Lanquedoc went close with snapshots before Wildbore saw a close-range effort well saved by St. Paul after he had seized on a slack touch from Waylan Renecke.

Norwich nearly stole the lead five minutes before the break when Joe Duffy guided a header from a corner towards goal, only for Harvey Araujo to scramble clear from underneath his own crossbar. Fulham made the most of that let off by taking the lead from their very next attack. Wildbore found space along the right flank and whipped in a devilish cross for Sanderson to turn home his fourth goal of an already impressive campaign.

The home side continued in the same vein after the interval but were indebted to a brilliant save from Alfie McNally for preserving their lead. The Fulham goalkeeper produced an excellent reaction stop to claw away another Duffy header and, from the ensuing corner, Michael Reindorf lashed into the side netting. As in the first period, Fulham went up field and extended their advantage. Wildbore was the architect again supplying another perfect cross for Sanderson to dispatch into the far corner.

Substitute Lemar Gordon, promoted from the under 16s, skied over from Tanton’s teasing cross to spurn an open goal but that glaring miss proved academic. After Olakigbe and Harris went close in quick succession, the Welsh youth international was somewhat fortunate to see his shot squirm under St. Paul’s body for the third goal – it should really have been a routine save for the Norwich keeper.

Sanderson completed his treble with ten minutes to play – emphatically volleying home Olakigbe’s cross to round off the scoring. Fulham’s comprehensive win leaves Steve Wigley’s side in third place in the early league table, a point off top spot.

FULHAM UNDER 18s (4-3-3): McNally; Tanton, Araujo, C. Robinson, De Fougerolles; Okkas (Caton 78), Harris, Lanquedoc (Parker 45); Wildbore (Gordon 66), Olakigbe, Sanderson. Subs (not used): Murray.

BOOKED: Harris, Tanton.

GOALS: Sanderson (43, 62, 80), Harris (76).

NORWICH CITY (4-3-3): St. Paul; Okeowo (Jambang 64), Shipley, Trialist, Renecke; Hills, Reindorf, Brooke; Thorn, Foyo, Duffy. Subs (not used): Trueman, Roberts, Pinyon.

BOOKED: St. Paul, Shipley.

Fulham lining up Trybull loan

Fulham are interested in taking Norwich City midfielder Tom Trybull on a season-long loan, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The German defensive midfielder is not understood to be in Daniel Farke’s Premier League plans for the forthcoming season and the Canaries are open to letting Trybull make a temporary move to the Championship. The 28 year-old, who was part of the Norwich side who won promotion in 2018/2019, spent last term on loan at Blackburn Rovers, where he made 26 appearances and scored a single goal.

Trybull has made 85 appearances for Norwich since moving to Carrow Road from Den Haag four years ago. The Telegraph suggests that new Fulham head coach Marco Silva is eager to add to his central midfielder options ahead of the start of the new season.

Fulham mull Maddison move

Fulham are among a host of clubs competing to sign Norwich City midfielder James Maddison, according to a Daily Mirror report this afternoon.

The Premier League new boys are eager to strengthen their squad ahead of the new campaign and Maddison, who starred for the Canaries during his Championship breakthrough season this year, is reportedly on Slavisa Jokanovic’s radar. Fulham will face stiff competition for the England under-21 international’s signature with a number of top flights sides, including Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City, have been linked with a move for Maddison over the past year.

The 21 year-old Maddison scored fourteen goals and contributed eight assists for the Carrow Road side this term as they finished fourteen in the Championship and firmly established himself as one of the divison’s most promising young talents. The Mirror suggests that Norwich could be keen to cash in on Maddison as the club’s four-year Premier League parachute payments have now come to an end. Maddison, who five goals in 35 appearances for Coventry between 2013 and 2016, won’t come cheap, however, with Norwich reportedly valuing their young prospect at between £20 and £25m. The paper claims that with a number of long-term admirers not tabling a firm offer for Maddison, the likes of Fulham and Southampton may be in a strong position to secure his services this summer.

Norwich’s aim may well be to begin a bidding war between some of the Premier League’s leading lights in the hope of receiving a big offer for Maddison, who has won three under-21 caps for England. Fulham and Jokanovic are known to be keen to recruit creative midfielders to provide serious competition for captain Tom Cairney, who battled a serious knee injury for much of last season.

Odoi chuffed to continue Fulham’s ‘great’ run

Denis Odoi saluted Fulham’s spirit as they earned another hard fought victory at Norwich City to maintain their promotion push yesterday afternoon.

The Belgian defender, once again preferred to Tomas Kalas at centre back in Slavisa Jokanovic’s starting line-up, revealed that the head coach’s half-time team talk was essential in calming a few Fulham players down after the first 45 minutes didn’t go to plan and a couple of tactical tweaks made all the difference after the break. Odoi hasn’t given up hope on closing ‘a pretty big gap’ to Cardiff City in second, but reaffirmed just how much confidence the Whites’ seventeen-match unbeaten streak has given to the team.

He told FulhamFCTV after the final whistle at Carrow Road:

We’ve been on a really good run. We’ve had great games. We’ve had games where we showed great play in the first half and less than in the second half – I’m thinking about QPR, which wasn’t our best performance in the second half and obviously today we wanted to show that we were in good form. The first half wasn’t as satisfying as we wanted it and we talked that, in the second half, it needs to be better. We adjusted a few things and I think we showed in the second half that we’re a good team.

We needed to make a few adjustments. For some reason, there was a bit of a negative atmosphere. Also, I think because we had two weeks off we were in a really good flow and we lost that feeling of the momentum that we were in and we just needed to remind each other that we were sixteen games unbeaten and there’s no need for negativity. Even if we lose a ball, that happens – anybody can lose a ball – we just work for each other, help each other. We went out in the second half and put on a better performance.

Odoi also felt that the two goals coming in quick succession in the second half – the strikes from Stefan Johansen and Tom Cairney arrived within four minutes of each other – finally knocked the stuffing out of a stubborn Norwich side.

I think we had the better of the second half but you never know, if it’s still 0-0 then they don’t need much to score a goal. The first goal gave us some relief and then the second goal followed really quickly. Then it was just a matter of keeping the focus and trying not to concede.