Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday August 7 2009
On a night where the weather was simply awful, 15,016 hardy souls took advantage of Fulham`s offer of cheap tickets to attend the second leg of a Europa League qualifying tie that had 'done` result written all over it.
With tickets priced at £15 and £5 it was great to see so many fresh faces in the Cottage especially as Roy Hodgson chose to field a full strength side against limited opposition.
Trailing 3-0 from the first leg, everybody knew that FK Vetra would require a miracle to ease past us.
The evening started with a poignant and immaculately observed minutes silence in honour of the recently deceased Sir Bobby Robson, one of the few individuals to play and manage for our great club.
Despite the strength of the team the first half was nothing to write home about. Fulham move the ball around with their usual slickness and were constantly looking for Paul Konchesky as an outlet on the left flank to put balls into the box. Unfortunately, Konchesky`s delivery was often wayward and the Vetra defence coped easily.
The slippery surface saw some dodgy tackles from the visiting team but to be honest it was nothing worse than sheer endeavour and whilst the score was 0-0 they dreamed that they could get back into it although their best hope in that first forty-five minutes were from long range shots.
Fulham, on the other hand, could have taken the lead. Hangeland connected poorly with a header Gera saw an effort cleared off the line and a Johnson effort meekly hit the bar after taking a variety of deflections, one possibly off of a hand.
The second half saw Vetra`s chances of producing a shock look even more remote and it came as no surprise when Fulham upped the ante, scoring three times in the half. The impressive man mountain, Dickson Etuhu, gave his new born daughter something special to be proud of when he opened the scoring in the 57th minute whilst Andrew Johnson will be pleased that he was able to notch up a double late on, 80th84th minutes.
All in all it proved to be a comfortable tie and any fears of it proving to be a potential banana skin were wrongly founded. Next up, I believe, is the last qualifying round before the Europa League starts in earnest. Let`s hope our luck holds out for a relatively easy draw!
Date:Friday August 7 2009
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