|Hugo Rodallega made a dream start to life at Fulham by scoring a late winner in the Whites’ penultimate pre-season test at Milton Keynes Dons.|
The Colombian showed a true striker's instinct inside the six-yard box by turning in Zdenek Grygera’s effort on 81 minutes to round off an impressive debut for the First Team.
Martin Jol’s Team seized their opportunity after MK Dons’ defender Shaun Williams missed a 72nd minute penalty but the visitors made their dominance count as the game drew towards a close.
The hosts started brightly and Development Squad defender Dan Burn and stand-in captain Chris Baird were called upon to make early blocks, before Dons’ Jay O’Shea blazed over on three minutes.
After taking their time to settle, the Whites began to move the ball well and, after a smart combination between Baird and Marcello Trotta on 15 minutes, Steve Sidwell set his sights on goal but his 25-yard effort was deflected over David Martin’s crossbar.
Clad in their dazzling orange away strip, the visitors soon began to outshine the Dons with Trotta turning sharply from Matthew Briggs’ cross but his shot was snuffed out by bulky centre-half Gary Mackenzie, before Hugo Rodallega’s glancing header from Kerim Frei’s corner skimmed wide.
Luke Chadwick’s 25th minute effort stretched stopper David Stockdale but Fulham enjoyed a spell of control while attacking promisingly in wide areas, with Mesca causing problems for left-back Dean Lewington, son of former Fulham coach Ray, before teeing up Trotta who could only fire over on the swivel.
With a spring in their step in the second half, Fulham threatened early with Pajtim Kasami lashing over the bar from 20 yards and Rodallega working the goalkeeper moments later.
The Colombian sensed his moment to test Martin’s reactions again from a 58th minute free-kick but again the keeper was equal to his drilled attempt.
Fulham continued to force the issue and when Matthew Briggs slid inside defender Adam Chicksen, space opened up for the young left-back but, from a narrow angle, he rifled at the keeper.
Sensing a goal, the Whites continued to attack but they were caught on the break when Ryan Lowe played in Luke Chadwick, who evaded the challenge of David Stockdale and earned a penalty.
But Fulham were let off when Shaun Williams stepped up and blazed his 72nd minute spot-kick well over the bar.
Substitute Ronny Minkwitz came inches away from making a major impact when he broke free in the MK Dons’ area but his shot flew narrowly wide, and Alex Kacaniklic slammed an effort straight at the keeper as the Whites searched for a late winner.
And the decisive moment finally arrived when Kacaniklic’s short corner fell invitingly for late substitute Grygera to take aim and fire – but Rodallega reacted quickest in a crowded penalty area to strike past Martin from close range.
In response, the home side had their opportunity to level when Dean Bowditch latched on to Lowe’s cross but his shot cannoned off the top of the crossbar as Fulham held on to victory.
Competition: Pre-Season Friendly
Date: Tuesday 7 August 2012
Venue: Stadium:mk, Milton Keynes
Referee: Pat Miller
Team line-up is not available.
Team line-up is not available.