A good workout for the men in white. Crusaders were competent, but not so competent that the result was ever really in doubt.
Fulham took a while to get going, Matthew Briggs’ goal giving us a valuable breakthrough. The ball was cleared to the edge of the area, Briggs got there first and took a swing, the ball flew into the top corner as if it had just left the boot of Roberto Carlos.
Whether it was the goal or half-time instructions, Fulham played better in the second half. The attacks were quicker, the players took fewer touches, and it looked as if several goals might be coming. A free-kick on the edge of the area seemed well placed for Zamora, but instead he rolled it to Baird, whose shot was well saved. Moments later Crusaders’ Timmy Adamson performed a little bit of Bergkampery in the area, right foot, left foot, bang. 1-1.
Fulham regained the lead when Zamora headed home from a corner, than scored again with a Murphy penalty, Johnson’s chip having been handled (ball to hand for sure, but when the hand’s up there it’s hard for the ref not to give these). 3-1, job done.
Plus points: Matthew Briggs – aside from the goal – showed his athleticism up and down the left, and while he’ll lose his place to John Arne Riise, clearly there’s talent in him, although I’m still not convinced he’s a left back. Karim ‘Barry’ Frei looked very lively in his first Fulham start, all twinkle-toes and balance. There’s a bit of Peter Beardsley in him, and I liked a shot he took in the first half when, having beaten defenders, he went for the bottom corner with a stabbed effort that was well saved. Otherwise more of what we know, the team showing some signs of sharpness and therefore shaping up for the new season – still a way away, of course – quite nicely.