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Pre-Season match reports & previews

Pre-Season Fixtures

Dundee (a) 22nd July - Raith Rovers (a) 25th July - Stevenage Borough (a) 30th July - Hamburg (a) 1st August - Wimbledon (h) 4th August (John Marshall Testimonial)

Fulham V Wimbledon match report

Fulham 1 V 2 Wimbledon

Fulham rounded off their pre-season schedule with a decent performance against Premiership opposition. Wimbledon, at times during the first 45 looked a class above especially in the foward areas, breaking quickly and looking dangerous in front of goal.

The Fulham team that started the match was: Arendse, Uhlenbeek, Brevett, Morgan, Symons, Coleman (Capt), Brooker, Bracewell, Moody, Collins and Salako.

Fulham playing a 5-3-2 again were caught a bit cold in just the 4th minute as Carl Leaburn popped in unmarked to head home from close range beating Arendse with ease. No Maik Taylor tonight after Maik picked up a training ground injury but he should be fit for this coming Saturday.

Fulham had good chances from Moody and two Wayne Collins efforts but the Dons went further in front on 35 mins after a corner found Jason Euall hitting the net again from close range. Half time then and 0-2 but nothing to get upset about and there really was only one team in it during the second half as Fulham made 4 substitutions, Goalkeeper Simon Brown now on loan for a month from Spurs came on for Arendse, Paul Trollope for Bracewell, trialist Brian Launders for Paul Brooker and Paul Peschisolido for Simon Morgan as Fulham reverted back to a flat back four.

Gus Uhlenbeek went off injured just before half time and was replaced by Matty Lawrence.

Paul Trollope had a great shot well saved, Paul Pesh and Kit Symons had good efforts before Pesh found his way into the box, looked to have been fouled by the keeper but Pesh managed to get up and shoot, his re-bound was smashed home by Paul Moody on 77.

Nearing the end of the game Fulham finished the stronger of the teams and could easily have nicked a draw, maybe even a win.

So that's that for the freindlies, the real action and reports start Saturday. Are we ready? I hope so... I really hope so.

Fulham V Wimbledon match preview

It's cards on the table time as we play our final warm up match before the big kick off on Saturday. All the indications are that Kevin Keegan will play as close to his starting 11 as possible although Dirk Lehaman may miss the match thru' a slight knock received in Hamburg last Saturday.

I think this is a game the boys won't want to lose. A freindly it may be but they are on a roll and confidence seems very high. And that's the way they'll want it to stay.

Wimbledon will offer a good indication as to how we've progressed and anything other than a loss has to be viewed as a good result.

Likely Fulham team: (4-4-2) Taylor, Neilson, Brevett, Coleman, Symons, Collins, Trollope, Uhlenbeek, Scott, Brooker, Salako.

Match prediction: A 1-1 draw.

Hamburg V Fulham match report

SV Hamburg 0 V 2 Fulham

(Fulham played 3-5-2)

Around 500 Fulham fans made the long trek to see Fulham play in Europe for the first time in many years. We were not to be disappointed.

The Fulham team that took the field was: Taylor, Uhlenbeek, Brevett, Symons, Morgan, Coleman, Collins, Bracewell, Salako, Lehaman, Hayward.

Fulham got off to a bright start and Dirk Lehaman (Sorry, I'm still unsure of the correct spelling) was on target after just 12 minutes with a neat header. Five minutes later the same player nipped in between two defenders and had another attempt just over.

The game was played at a high tempo and Hamburg played around 8 of their first team including their two stars, a Ukranian International and Tony Yeboah up front, although our back three of Morgs, Kit and Cookie kept them at bay with ease.

So mainly Fulham keeping the ball thru the first half, Paul Bracewell played his usual composed game and played the ball around superbly at times, but then spoilt this work with two wasted balls, one a dangerous looking mis hit which nearly let in an opponent.

At half time we were pretty suprised to be in the lead, Hamburg are clearly a quality side and technically very gifted, but we more than matched them during the first 45.

The second period saw changes for both sides (I'm afriad I was a bit too oiled to note them all) but Paul Brooker, Paul Trollope and Rob Scott defiantely came on and both looked sharp. Brooker gave the Hamburg defence all sorts of problems and it was partly down to his running that we eventually scored our second after a period of some pressure on the Hamburg goal.

Scott received the ball on the right, beat his man and looked to have an easy square ball to Brooker who was now unmarked with an empty net in front of him. Scott was determined to score himself and did well to round the keeper and slot in from the now acute angle.

All in all a very satisfying and professional performance, certainly one that'll give the lads confidence as the season approaches.

Hamburg V Fulham match preview

Kevin Keegans return to the dug out should be marked by a glimpse of his first choice 11 as the season draws ever closer.

We're led to believe that a new signing or two is imanent but it's difficult to say whether they will be signed in time to play tomorrow evening.

Again, we'll probably see about 16 or so players get a run out but these will all be players in the frame for a starting place come Aug 8th.

It's a real test for us as Hamburg are a quality side and certainly the toughest opposition we'll face this pre-season.

As you'll know, we leave for the match on Saturday morning so my report won't be posted until Monday.

It'll be a competetive game with both sides now starting the real build up and I think we'll see something like a 2-1 win for Hamburg.

Stevenage Borough Vs Fulham match report

Stevenage Borough 1 v 4 Fulham

Tell you what guys... I've come home full of optimism tonight. Yeah ok, it was only Stevenage (Y'know the team that gave Newcastle a run for their money last season and that recently beat Millwall)

Whilst we never got around to taking the part timers apart, you always felt we never bothered to raise our game out of second gear. At times we looked like we were simply toying with them.

The first goal came early (around 5 mins) as John Salako nipped in to put us one up. Paul Moody added a, well, typical Paul Moody goal a little later and we were always in total control from the first whistle.

The starting line up was: Taylor, Lawrence, Brevett, Morgan, Symons, Coleman, Collins, Bracewell, Trollope, Moody, Salako.

As you might suspect from this line up we suprisingly played with three centre backs and used Matty and Rufus as wing backs. Perhaps a glimpse of things to come away from home? But a three man centre defence of Coleman, Symons and Morgan certainly looks sound enough.

The second period saw mass changes (too many to remember!) but Steve Hayward, Paul Pesh, Andre Arendse, Dirk Leneham, Alan Neilson, Neil Smith and a very imppresive Gus Uhlenbeek came on.

Gus looked simply superb and if his showing tonight is anything to go by, stand by for a treat this coming season. He's quick (very) nimble, has two good feet and can cross a ball at speed. And we're lead to believe he ain't even fit yet!

Paul Pesh scored a cracking third with a kind of flick come shot before Stevenage were awarded a penalty after Arendse was judged to have brought down their attacker. Pesh then scored our fourth, also from the spot after a handball.

So what can we take out of tonights game? Gus looks a big plus, and Maik Taylor has to be number one. All the goals came from forwards and the defence looks very solid indeed. Kit Symons looks a tidy footballer whilst Simon Morgan was, well, Simon Morgan!

As we came out of the ground you could the confidence among Fulham supporters. Don't get me wrong, this wasn't a stunning showing. But I'll tell you what, if there's a better squad in division two, I'll be bloody suprised.

It's looking good gang! Hamburg here we come.

Stevenage Borough Vs Fulham match preview

As we get further into the pre-season build up I expect us to get a clearer view of the team that'll eventually start the season.

The game against Stevenage could well see at least one section of the team who Keegan fancies to start the season get a run out together, and I think this could well be the defence. Three of those positions are clearly taken in Rufus Brevett, Chris Coleman and Kit Symons. The right back slot is the place that's still up for grabs with Matty Lawrence, Alan Neilson and an Improved Steve McAnespie all fighting it out for a place. I expect Neilson to get the nod.

It would certainly be nice to remain undefeated in pre-season game from here on in. Thats a tall order with tough games against Hamburg and Wimbledon to come. But Stevenage shouldn't present too much of an obstacle.

It's impossible to predict the starting line up with any accuracy. No doubt we'll see at least 14 players get some kind of a run out, and I'm getting the feeling that Andre Arendse might just start this time.

Writing this preview on Sunday there's no news of any injuries from Scotland, so hopefully we'll have a near full compliment to choose from.

So here goes with my prediction for this game (although if past form is anything to go by someone else should have a go!) A 1-3 win for Fulham.

Raith Rovers Vs Fulham match report

Raith Rovers 1 Fulham 4

Fulham team that started the game: Maik Taylor, Steve McAnespie, Rufus Brevett, Alan Neilson, Kit Symons, Paul Bracewell, Steve Hayward, Paul Brooker, Paul Moody, Rob Scott and John Salako.

A superb performance from the lads, it could easily have been more as reports indicate a total Fulham domination of the game. Fulham fell behind to a good goal around the 10th minute but came back to take a half time lead of 1-2 after Paul Moody scored a brace, both from a result of Paul Brooker crosses.

Second half substitutions were Paul Pesh for Rob Scott, Simon Morgan for John Salako and on loan Keeper Simon Brown came on for Maik Taylor, Frank Sibley and Paul Bracewell deciding to give the Spurs keeper 45 minutes as a "thank you for coming" gesture. Brown of course, made the trip as Andre Arendse is still recovering from his World Cup Injury.

Fulham had other chances to add to their lead but left it late as substitute Paul Peschisolido skipped around the Rovers keeper on 87 mins to glide the ball home and then right on time Paul Brooker, arguably man of the match, took a nice ball under control, turned and shot past the advancing keeper.

No reports of any injuries or problems as yet, and a great moral boosting result after Wednesdays defeat at Dundee. In all fairness however, we have since learnt that Dundee had in fact played three previous matches and were a lot further into their pre-season than us.

All in all then a smashing result for the fans who travelled up, around 150 of them. Roll on Thursday!

Raith Rovers Vs Fulham match preview

After suffering defeat in their first pre-season encounter, Fulham will want be looking for a better result from their second and final match of this mini tour of Scotland.

Two minor injuries to report, Jamie Moralee has a badly blistered foot but hopes to recover in time to play whilst Matthew Brazier has a slight hamstring pull.

Like I said previously, a defeat is a defeat in anyone's language and whilst the results here in Scotland mean little come August 8th, any type of losing run can sap moral.

With Keegan still away (though where is anyone's guess!) Paul Bracewell and Frank Sibley take charge.

Former Rovers player Steve McAnespie will obviously hope to play but the rest of the side is a toss up... Spurs on loan keeper Simon Brown has tagged along with the squad as cover for the injured Andre Arendse, although Brown is not expected to be making any permanent moves.

It'll come as no suprise that I see goalscoring a real problem at the moment. A typcial description by one fan put the defeat at Dundee down as "Just like one of last years frustrating efforts"

So, let's at least take a draw from this one lads, and I fully expect to hear at the final whistle, Raith Rovers 1 v 1 Fulham.

Dundee Vs Fulham match report

Dundee 1 Fulham 0

Fulham's first pre-season friendly ended in defeat up in Scotland, the game looked to be heading for a 0-0 draw and a penalty shoot-out when new boy John Salako lost possession and Dundee took a late winner on 81 minutes.

It was a pretty poor first half with no real chances either way, former Carlisle defender Stephane Pounewatchy marshalling the Scots defence and giving both Jamie Moralee and Rob Scott no real chances to note.

John Salako looked lively during the first period crossing well and generally putting on a good show. Wayne Collins had a great chance just before half time but the Dundee keeper did well to save.

Fulham team that started the match: Taylor, Lawrence, Brevett, Morgan, Coleman, Collins, Hayward, Bracewell, Salako, Scott and Moralee.

Changes were made for the seond period Frank Sibley in charge for the night with Kevin Keegan still on holiday in America, Kit Symons came on for Simon Morgan, Neil Smith on for Wayne Collins, Paul Moody and Paul Pesh on for Scott and Moralee.

Paul Moody had a header go close, Maik Taylor made a couple of decent saves but again a fairly low key affair in the second period with one more Fulham substitution, Alan Neilson entering the field of play for Paul Bracewell, this shortly before Dundee took the late lead.

All in all then a disappointing night which highlights our goalscoring problems and gives the men in charge an early warning of what's in store if the cheque books not flourished - and soon.

I think the game and performance was summed up by my man up in Scotland who called half way thru the second half and asked me what was on the TV !!!

Dundee Vs Fulham match preview

Of course, pre-season fixtures have rarely given any true indication of what lies ahead for any team. Fitness is usually what management are looking for along with a clear run without injury.

In the past, Fulham have often flattered to decieve in their pre-season build up, pasting non league sides yet when the real battle starts, well, up until recently at least, it's usually been the same old story.

This year however things are definately different. The schedule is certainly a lot harder than ever before and the quality of opposition is interesting to say the least for a second division club. Apart from Stevenage Borough, all the matches arranged (so far) are against quality teams who are going to offer stern and honest opposition. A real early test you might say. Certainly the Scots won't be about to lay down and play second fiddle to the English 'big time charlies'

I have to be honest and admit to knowing very little about Dundee? Promoted to the Scottish premier league last season, they should be a stern early test.

For us of course, whilst the result isn't that important, it's a good idea to at least try and keep any defeat down to a level that doesn't damage moral or self belief. A 6-0 loss even at this stage of the season is hardly ideal preperation!

As for the likely starting line up? God knows! Obviously the managers will have agreed to allow the usual unlimited subs and I'd imagine that at least 15 of the lads will get some kind of a game.

Maik Taylor looks the only cert to start as Andre Arendse is still recovering from a knee injury.

So here we go with my first prediction of the season... a 2-2 draw.

Match report shortly after the final whistle.

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