Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Sunday August 19 2007
Walking into Craven Cottage yesterday I don`t think I`ve ever felt so optimistic!
I genuinely believed that Middlesbrough were there for the taking, that after their poor start we could fashion a win and move comfortably into the top half of the table.
Arriving back at Parsons Green station after the game, I must have looked like a geezer who`d found a quid but lost a fiver! I was totally dejected.
Football can be a strange sort of game, it can leave you on an immense high or it can totally ruin your week. Mulling over the events of yesterday, I get the feeling it`s going to be a long week.
The manner in which we lost leaves a strange taste in my mouth. Usually my rant would be dismissed as an excuse but the total ineptitude of the officials yesterday bemused me.
Would matters have been any different if Lee Mason hadn`t of pulled up injured? Should we blame Andy D`Urso for that shambles of a decision whereby Healy`s effort had quite clearly crossed the line or should we simply walk away from it and accept that, usually, these things tend to even themselves out?
It`s easy to be a gentleman and accept the above but if things are tight we could look back on yesterday and rue that dropped point, especially if Middlesbrough use the two extra points to pip us for survival.
The game had started so well. Sanchez had decided to stick with the same eleven that had won in midweek which once again meant that Liam Rosenior was nowhere to be seen.
With hopes high, Fulham got off to a smashing start with club captain, Brain McBride opening the scoring after only sixteen minutes. Sadly, perhaps we should have seen what was to come in the remainder of the game when McBride, in scoring, appeared to suffer a serious knee injury that saw him carried away to be replaced by Diomansy Kamara.
Matters took another turn for the worse when Bouazza also was forced to leave the field on thirty-four minutes with what looked like a broken arm.
However, at half time we were looking comfortable and in my opinion playing the better football. Middlesbrough were staring at a third straight defeat and Southgate, obviously worried, saw fit to introduce Lee in place of the ineffective Sanli.
Slowly, Boro got back into the game and ten minutes into the second half were level through a dreadful, for us, goal. Mido looked to be gambling with a hopeful low shot but somehow Tony Warner contrived to make a complete hash of matters and spoon the ball into his own net.
Coming straight after the mistake he made on Wednesday night, it`ll be a period he`ll want to forget. Nevertheless at 1-1 the game was there for the winning. Unfortunately, a good Middlesbrough break saw them take the lead.
A move down the flank saw the ball passed through to Cattermole who took his time before beating Warner with ease. With two minutes left we looked dead and buried but remarkably we should have walked off with a point.
Sanchez threw on Diop and when the ball fell to Healy his effort was clearly over the line when Schwarzer grabbed it. Scenes of celebration failed to convince either of the officials and Middlesbrough knew they`d done a smash and grab job on Fulham.
Football, who`d believe what it can do to you?
To view the match stats, click on the link below.
Date:Sunday August 19 2007
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