Date:Wednesday March 5 2008
The Whites took to the field on Tuesday evening with another strong starting eleven. Philippe Christanval made his return to action following a spell on the sidelines whilst Simon Elliott continued his return to full fitness.
Fulham lined up in a 4-4-2 formation with a back four of Omozusi, Stefanovic, Christanval Kallio in front of Foderingham. Bouazza and Seol occupying the left and right wings respectively. Michael Timlin and Simon Elliott paired up in the centre of midfield. The ever impressive Nevland and Healy formed the front two.
Birmingham took the lead somewhat against the run of play when Fulham goalkeeper Wesley Foderingham lingered in possession and his clearance was charged down by Cameron Jerome. The ball fell kindly to the Birmingham striker but with Fulham`s defenders coming back to help out, his rushed shot struck the left hand post only to bounce out to Garry O`Connor who placed the ball past Philippe Christanval.
Elliott continued to play well on his recovery from injury and he joined the attack just in time to nod a weak clearance into the path of Healy who shifted the ball away from his marker before finishing well with his left foot. Erik Nevland played his part in the goal with a nice dummy which allowed Healy the extra yard.
Nevland and Healy both came close to getting on the end of a good Kallio cross on the 25 minute mark. The pair linked up well again to give Fulham the lead just before the half hour mark.
The Whites managed to break beyond Birmingham`s midfield line and Healy wrong-footed the visiting defence with a fine reverse pass into the path of Nevland who took a touch before flicking the ball past Doyle with the outside of his right foot.
The first half finished with Kallio nearly extending Fulham`s lead when he was found by an astute first time pass from Elliott however he was unable to get his shot away before Doyle came out to smother the ball at his feet.
The second half saw far less attacking activity from both sides as the temperature took a sharp drop. Fulham managed to create an opening when Kallio and Seol combined to play Nevland through on 70 minutes. The Norwegian international`s touch took him away from the defence but his shot was blocked by a last-ditch tackle.
The equalising goal came in 87th minute and once more, the strike appeared out of keeping with the flow of the game. De Ridder found himself in plenty of space down the right wing. Play continued amid suspicions of offside as the young Dutchman advanced on goal from the inside right channel. Foderingham came out to meet him but the ball was squared to Cameron Jerome 12 yards out. His initial shot was blocked on the line by Kallio but he made no mistake with the rebound.
From what I can gather Nevland certainly played well enough to push for a place against Blackburn this weekend. Solid play from both Christinval and Kallio showed their potential and if they continue to perform like this will deserve some game time before the end of the season.
Fulham: Foderingham; Omozusi, Kallio, Stefanovic, Christanval; Elliott, Seol, Timlin, Bouazza; Nevland (Briggs 76), Healy (Ehui 60)
Blues Res: Doyle, Wilson, Timmins, Joyce, Queudrue, Mutch, De Ridder, Zarate, Sammons, Jerome O'Connor.
Date:Wednesday March 5 2008
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