Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday August 16 2008
Any hopes Fulham had of getting off to a flyer this season were dented by a Hull City side who will be celebrating long into the night after they secured their first win in top flight football at their very first attempt.
The fact that Fulham will look back at the ninety minutes and believe they should have had the game wrapped up long before Hull even equalised makes the events of today even more galling.
At a full to capacity KC Stadium, Roy Hodgson chose to give Fulham Premier League debuts to Mark Schwarzer, John Pantsil, Zoltan Gera and Bobby Zamora. Missing through injury was our most recent signing Andy Johnson whilst other recent signings Zuberbuhler, Teymourian and Tallio were amongst the seven substitutes on the bench.
Fulham started the first half well and Gera might have had our first shot on target but, unfortunately, he couldn`t adjust his body to get a shot in. Hull were looking to get the ball forward as quickly as possible and Schwarzer produced a good save to deny their summer signing Geovanni.
Of the two teams Fulham looked to have settled down better and it came as no surprise when we opened the scoring with barely eight minutes on the clock. The goal came after Jimmy Bullard delivered a great cross that split the Hull centre backs for Ki-Hyeon to glance his header past Myhill in the Hull goal.
Fulham were playing some good stuff, opening up Hull down the flanks, and Simon Davies was only denied by a block on the edge of the area as we threatened to open up a two goal lead. Bullard then delivered another cross that Davies volleyed just over the bar and it looked only a matter of time before we`d have that previously mentioned two goal cushion.
Pantsil, galloping down the right provided and opportunity for Gera but his shot went wide and then we fell victim to a sucker punch that made the game all-square. Geovanni produced a moment of skill to curl a great left footed shot past Schwarzer leaving the KC Stadium as a cauldron of noise as the home side celebrated their first ever Premier League goal.
With the game evenly balanced, Fulham continued to use the flanks to get at Hull but the half was to end at 1-1.
Neither manager made any changes for the second half but it was Gera who, once again, was causing early problems for Hull. Fulham then had an escape when Turner headed over a Boateng cross when it looked easier to score. With the action switching swiftly from end to end, Gera and Zamora combined to present Ki-Hyeon with another opportunity but he was unable to connect and the chance had passed.
A mistake by Aaron Hughes then presented Geovanni with a good chance but the Brazilian failed to hit the target. Marlon king, making his Hull debut, was then denied by a good Brede Hangeland block before Schwarzer was forced to produce a good save after Halmosi and Garcia combined well.
The game, although evenly balanced, gave you the feeling it wouldn`t end at 1-1 but we were not prepared for the calamity that was to befall us. Paul Konchesky made a mistake and Fagan squared the ball for Folan to easily net. With nine minutes of normal time to go, plus stoppage time, Fulham tried desperately to force that much needed equaliser but, despite five minutes of stoppage time played, it wasn`t to be.
Our hopes of setting a Premier League record, for us, of four straight wins had gone but more worryingly the hopes I`d expressed of getting off to a good start had been dashed, will matters change when Arsenal visit Craven Cottage next Sunday, let`s keep our fingers crossed.
Date:Saturday August 16 2008
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