Goals from Adam Taggart and Cauley Woodrow helped Fulham come from two goals down to draw their latest pre-season friendly against Hertha Berlin in Schladming this evening.
Manager Kit Symons had spoken in the build up to this game about giving members of his first-team squad extended game time during this week-long tour of Austria and offered eight of his squad a full ninety minutes as preparations for Fulham’s Championship opener stepped up a gear against the Bundesliga side. Unfortunately, the frailties of Fulham’s fragile defence – so often exposed last season – didn’t take long to come to the fore as the German outfit raced into a two-goal lead inside the first fifteen minutes.
Hertha went in front after just five minutes thanks to a clinical piece of finishing from Vladimiri Darida, although Fulham’s defence was far too slow to close down the Czech midfielder following a threatening run from full-back Marvin Plattenhardt. A silly foul from Cameron Burgess – who was penalised for pushing at a corner – gave Hertha the chance to double their lead from the penalty spot and Jan Hegeler made no mistake from twelve yards. Moments later, a shambolic backpass from skipper Nikolay Bodurov underlined the shakiness of Fulham’s defence.
The Whites did pull a goal back just after the half hour mark. Woodrow saw his fine header superbly turned aside by goalkeeper Thomas Kraft but, from the resultant corner, Australian international Taggart nodded home his first goal for the club after Ryan Tunnicliffe and Burgess had won two clear headers inside the six-yard box. Hertha continued enjoy more of the possession, but aside from one Marcus Bettinelli block to deny Roy Beerens, they failed to fashion too many chances.
Symons made a triple substitution on 63 minutes introducing Moussa Dembele, Lasse Vigen Christensen and Ben Pringle for Taggart, Larnell Cole and Tunnicliffe. Dembele’s pace began to stretch the German defence, with Christensen’s composure and enlivening what had previously been a more workmanlike midfield. Woodrow, who had played much of the match in a deeper role behind Taggart, showed his predatory instincts when he latched onto a forward pass from Pringle 25 yards from goal and drove an unstoppable effort into the bottom corner. Fulham might have capped the comeback with a third but Dembele couldn’t get enough power on his header to divert a dangerous Pringle cross towards goal.
The nervy nature of Fulham’s defending will have been a real concern for Symons, who has yet to make any defensive additions to his squad over the course of the summer desperate Fulham’s failings in that area over the course of the past season. The spirit and character shown to come back from such a disastrous start, though, will have boosted confidence ahead of another stern test against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
FULHAM (4-4-1-1): Bettinelli; Grimer, Voser, Bodurov, Burgess; Tunnicliffe, Hyndman (Christensen 63), Cole (Pringle 63), Kacaniklic; Woodrow, Taggart (Dembele 63). Subs (not used): Rodak, Richards, Hutchinson, Cairney.
GOALS: Taggart (31), Woodrow (71).
HERTHA BERLIN (4-1-4-1): Kraft; Pekarik, Langkamp, Lustenberger, Plattenhardt; Skjelbred; Beerens (Mittelstädt 72), Hegeler (Kohls 45), Darida, Stocker; Haraguchi. Subs (not used): Gersbeck.
GOALS: Darida (4), Hegeler (pen 14).
Fulham striker Adam Taggart has suffered a setback in his recovery from a groin injury.
The Australian World Cup star is yet to make a single appearance since his summer move from Newcastle Jets.
Taggart returned to light training recently and was included in some sessions alongside his Fulham team-mates.
However, boss Kit Symons revealed the 21-year-old felt a niggle and has been put back.
“He joined in with the warm-up and a bit of passing, but then he had a little slip and felt his adductor again,” said the Craven Cottage chief.
“It’s put him back a bit, but the physio’s not worried. It’s a minor tweak.”
The road to recovery has started for Fulham striker Adam Taggart as he aims to break into the Fulham side and kick-start his career with the Cottagers.
The Socceroo striker returned to training on Monday, just two weeks after undergoing groin surgery.
It’s the first step to what is expected to be at least a four-week rehabilitation for the 21-year-old, who is yet to make his full debut for the Championship club due to the injury.
Taggart picked up the problem early in the pre-season and while it wasn’t considered too serious, both he and the club decided minor decided surgery was the best option.
Last season’s A-League Golden Boot winner has made one appearance for the Cottagers in pre-season before suffering the problem.
He joined the Cottagers on a three-year deal from Newcastle Jets after making two appearances at the World Cup in Brazil, including starting against Spain.
He is desperate to get on the park as soon as possible, especially with January’s Asian Cup in Australia just around the corner.
Fulham could certainly do with Taggart’s services, currently sitting last in the Championship with just one point from their first six games.
Fulham striker Adam Taggart is set for a further spell on the sidelines as he undergoes groin surgery.
The Australian World Cup star has yet to feature this season after moving to the Cottagers in the summer.
Taggart has been out with a lower abdominal injury and will now go under the knife in a bid to rectify the problem.
The 21-year-old posted a picture on his Instagram account on Friday lunchtime of him waiting in hospital for the operation
Fulham boss Felix Magath said before the defeat against Derby: “He’s improving but he’s not training with us. It will last a few more days.”
But the operation will now mean that Taggart is set to be out for at least four to six weeks while he recovers and regains fitness.
The youngster penned a three-year deal with the Whites after signing from Newcastle Jets for an undisclosed fee.
Taggart topped the A-League scoring charts with 16 goals last term, and appeared twice in Brazil as the Socceroos failed to make it out of their group.
Fulham have signed Australian striker Adam Taggart from the Newcastle Jets.
Taggart was under contract to the Newcastle Jets for a further season in the A-League but the club has agreed on a transfer and allowed him to leave.
Taggart departs the Jets after two seasons in the Hunter where he scored 18 goals in 44 appearances.
The 21-year-old enjoyed a stellar 2013/14 campaign for the Jets, scoring 16 goals to win the A-League’s Golden Boot Award while also being named the NAB Young Footballer of the Year.
Currently with the Socceroos at the World Cup in Brazel after starting in this morning’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of Spain in the team’s final pool game, Taggart said he was excited by the new challenge ahead of him.
“I’d like to thank everyone at the Newcastle Jets, including the players, staff and fans for their fantastic support over the past couple of seasons,” Taggart said.
“I’ve had two really enjoyable years at the Jets and for that reason I will always hold the club and city of Newcastle close to my heart.
“I’m looking forward to starting a new chapter in my career with Fulham and working hard to take my game to another level.”
Jets CEO Robbie Middleby wished Taggart well with his move to Europe.
“At the Newcastle Jets we take pride in our ability to develop young talent and give them a platform to showcase their ability in the A-League,” Middleby said.
“Adam has been a great servant of the Jets during his time at the club and we’ll continue to follow his progress with great interest during this next stage of his career and beyond.
“This move is a fantastic opportunity for Adam to join a club with a proud history in English football and we wish him all the best at Fulham.”
Taggart is Fulham’s second signing of the summer since their relegation from the Premier League, following the arrival of defender Shaun Hutchinson from Motherwell.