Marlet's return

Thursday 27 December 2001

Fulham res. 3-2 Crystal Palace res.

A healthy Christmas crowd gathered at Motspur Park to see Fulham edge past Crystal Palace in this friendly reserve team match.

Most notably this encounter marked a return to action for Fulham's record-signing Steve Marlet, who was joined in attack by Latvian Andrejs Stolcers.

Fulham took the lead in the 7th minute after a Stolcers through-ball found Eddie Lewis' run. The American wasted little time in side footing the ball past the advancing 'keeper.

Both Stolcers and Lewis were looking sharp as they combined minutes later to manufacture another chance. Lewis was released down the left by a nicely weighted through-ball from Stolcers. With little happening in the box, Lewis cut inside and fired a right foot shot into the 'keeper.

By the midway point of the first half, Fulham found themselves in control yet failing to build any significant chances.

The Whites then extended their lead on the 26-minute mark. Steve Marlet managed to reach the by-line and played a right-footed cross up to Stolcers. Despite the cross not having much pace, Stolcers managed to climb above his maker and loop a well-directed header inside the far post.

Fulham soon had the chance to take their lead to three as they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Kevin Betsy. Steve Marlet stepped up but his effort rattled the 'keeper's right-hand upright and bounced to safety.

The second half saw Palace race out of the traps as they made a much improved start. Placing Fulham under greater pressure, the Eagles were able to cut short any spells of possession Fulham previously enjoyed.

Considering Marlet was making such a quick return to competitive action, he displayed an impressive level of fitness and was looking one of the sharper players on the pitch.

As the match progressed it became clear that Palace were making much more of a concerted effort to get back into this match. With two well-taken goals in the space of 15 minutes, they did just that.

With the scores level, the game entered its final phase. Palace were unlucky not to take the lead for the first time on 72 minutes. After playing a dangerous ball across goal, a Palace hitman slid in only narrowly avoiding contact.

Eddie Lewis sealed the win for Fulham on 80 minutes. Having won a free kick on the right side of the penalty area, the ball was quickly rolled across to Lewis who swept home with a right foot effort.

Fulham: Taylor, Hudson, Ouaddou, Knight, Harley, Goldbaek, Collins, Betsy, Lewis, Stolcers, Marlet

Subs used:

45' Paul Trollope on for John Collins
75' Calum Willock & Luke Cornwall on for Steve Marlet & Andrejs Stolcers
85' Tom Hutchison on for Zat Knight