U21s 1-0 Manchester City

Monday 24 September 2012 16:13

Pajtim Kasami’s second-half goal secured a first win of the season for Fulham Under-21s at a blustery Motspur Park on Monday afternoon.

The game also saw Philippe Senderos and Giorgos Karagounis get some valuable match time under their belts as they played 45 and 63 minutes respectively before being replaced.

The first chance of the game fell to City captain Alex Nimely on four minutes when he skipped inside two challenges before firing goalwards but David Stockdale comfortably smothered his deflected strike.

Good link-up play between Sean Kavanagh and Marcello Trotta on 17 minutes almost saw the Irishman put through on goal but the City defence recovered with a good challenge on the edge of the area.

The opening half hour was a tight affair with both sides trying to weigh the other up, with Fulham’s first effort coming after 23 minutes but Kasami’s scuffed shot was never at risk of troubling the goalkeeper.

Kasami went closer moments later though when Karagounis found him down the right. The Swiss youth international got a powerful strike in but the keeper blocked well at his near post.

The Whites were growing in confidence and Trotta was next to try his luck on 32 minutes but his shot from distance was easily claimed.

A lovely backheel a minute later by Nimely found the lively Marco Lopez in space but his cross along the face of goal was cleared away by Zdenek Grygera.

Lopez was proving a tricky customer and he showed good skill before laying the ball off to Alex Henshall who fired straight at Stockdale.

A well worked free-kick saw Karagounis find Alex Smith in space but nobody could get on the end of the Fulham Captain’s dangerous cross.

Five minutes into the second period saw the best chance of the game as Nimely headed against the bar from a corner, with Stockdale beaten.

The Whites took the lead just before the hour mark when Grygera volleyed across goal after being picked out by Karagounis' cute free-kick, leaving Kasami with the simple task of knocking into an empty net.

Smith was in moments later after latching onto substitute Dan Burn's through-ball but his attempted lob sailed harmlessly over.

Karagounis was replaced on 63 minutes by Tom Donegan and the 120-cap Greece international showed plenty of deft touches and slick passes in his first Fulham outing.

Charles Banya caught visiting right-back Shay Facey in possession minutes later and fed Trotta but the Italian shot too close to the keeper who parried for a corner.

From the resulting set-piece, Banya found himself some space on the corner of the area and was desperately unlucky to see his curling shot narrowly fly over the crossbar.

With a quarter of an hour to go the away side pushed for an equaliser but were restricted to speculative long-range efforts from Lopez and Emyr Huws.

Kavanagh had a golden opportunity to secure the points when he glided into the area after collecting Trotta's one-two. The left-back dummied his shot to fool the defender but then curled against the near post.

Lopez went on a mazy run with three minutes remaining but could only fire wide after beating several white shirts in what proved to be the last chance of the match as Kit Symons’ boys held on for a valuable win.

Fulham: 13. Stockdale; 2. Grimmer, 6. Grygera, 4. Senderos (15. Burn, 45 mins), 3. Kavanagh; 8. Kasami, 10. Pritchard (17. Vigen Christensen, 84 mins), 14. Karagounis (16. Donegan, 63 mins), 7. Smith (C), 11. Banya; 39. Trotta. Subs (not used): 12. Bettinelli, 18. Islamovic.

Manchester City: 1. Johansen; 2. Facey, 5. Kennedy, 6. Plummer, 3. Helan; 11. Henshall, 8. Huws, 4. Evans, 7. Lopez; 10. Pozo (16. Cole, 69 mins); 9. Nimely. Subs (not used): 12. Leigh, 13. Lawlor, 14. Walter, 15. Glendon.