Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday July 31 2009
In the UEFA Europa League 3rd qualifying round fixture, against FK Vetra, Fulham produced the sort of performance that we all prayed for.
An emphatic 3-0 win, in Vilnius, has all but guaranteed us safe passage into the 4th qualifying round, the last before the group stages commence.
It`ll take a catastrophic collapse, at Craven Cottage, next Thursday for those plans to be scuppered.
Roy Hodgson picked an eleven that looked remarkably familiar to that which finished last season, the only absentees being Simon Davies and Dickson Etuhu.
New boys, Kelly and Riise were both on the bench as the game kicked off in front of a crowd that was announced as being in the region of 12,000. Amongst them were 350 supporting Fulham.
Although Fulham were clearly the better of the two sides, the Lithuanian outfit did well to nullify the threat we posed. But, their resilience was finally broken, on the stroke of half time, when a move involving Danny Murphy and Bobby Zamora saw the striker score.
Fulham doubled their lead some eleven minutes into the second half and it was the pair of Murphy and Zamora that were involved again. Zamora was felled in the area and Murphy easily slotted home the resulting spot kick.
Leading 2-0 Roy Hodgson made numerous changes, Erik Nevland replaced Andrew Johnson in the 68th minute and Ki-Hyeon Seol and Riise replaced Clint Dempsey and Danny Murphy in the 81st and 86th minutes respectively.
It was to be Seol though that was to put the cherry on the cake scoring the third of the night in the 84th minute slipping home a great pass from that man Zamora.
With the strains of the 350 travelling fans taunting the home side with;
"Are you Newcastle in disguise?"
Roy`s biggest decision in the second leg will probably be deciding who to rest. All in all it was a comfortable evening in a strange location.
Date:Friday July 31 2009
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