Fulham 1 Basel 0
A solitary goal from Danny Murphy, was enough for Fulham to put an end to a losing streak whilst also putting the club in a healthy position in Group E of the Europa League.
The eleven selected by Roy Hodgson was, as we`d hinted, definitely a lot stronger than the one selected for the trip to Sofia. Although Hangeland, Davies, Duff and Etuhu were all out injured, Ropy opted to play his other big-guns in the form of Murphy, Andrew Johnson, Zamora and Dempsey. If there was one area of the side that did look a little strange it was the heart of our defence where Baird and Smalling filled in for Hughes and Hangeland. With Duff and Etuhu out it was left to Greening and Gera to assist Murphy in the middle of the park.
Basel, after defeating Roma 2-0 in their previous game; brought a healthy and vociferous following, to a Craven Cottage that was some 9,000 short of capacity.
In an exciting game, Fulham will probably be grateful for the chances spurned by the visitors in the first half, as Basel showed that they were not prepared to simply defend and hope for a share of the spoils. Going in all-square at half time, it was Fulham who emerged looking the more confident of the two sides and the breakthrough came when Danny Murphy, performing admirably in midfield, drilled a low shot home from the edge of the area.
It should have been the catalyst for Fulham to pull clear of their visitors but, despite having those silly officials stood adjacent to the goal, two clear penalty appeals were waved aside and it was left for Schwarzer to come to our rescue, towards the end with a save from the Basel substitute, Chipperfield, whilst also calmly collecting a dangerous looking cross into the box.
Schwarzer finished the game with a smile on his face as did we all, after a little hesitancy relating to our participation in this competition it`s suddenly growing on me!