Steve Wigley’s Under-18 side started the Barclays Under-18 Premier League season well with a 2-0 win over Stoke City on Saturday afternoon.
Many of the back-to-back league winners from last season have moved up in the Development Squad but there were still a few familiar faces who put on a good attacking show at Motspur Park.
Fulham were on top from the off with Emerson Hyndman pulling the strings in midfield and defender Liam Donnelly went close with an early header that flashed just wide. Donnelly found space again just before the break but brought a great save out of the opposing goalkeeper.
It was 0-0 at half-time, but the Whites came out quickly and Patrick Roberts picked up the ball on the wing, danced past his man and cut it back from a tight angle for Jordan Evans to open the scoring.
With a goal advantage, the Fulham boys got into their passing rhythm and striker Moussa Dembele went close with an effort before he doubled the lead with just over 10 minutes remaining after turning in the box.
Roberts still had time to run free on the break and hit the post, but we needed no more goals to seal the first three points of the season.
“It was a good game, it was a very resilient Stoke side who put a lot of men behind the ball and we just had to be patient,” said U18 Manager Steve Wigley after the game. “We had to move the ball quickly and we managed to do that and got a few goals.
“We had a few very good chances early on – a set-piece or two when we just failed to score. Their keeper made a couple of good saves and we just had to wait and move the ball and then take our chances when they came. In the end it took a bit of magic from Pat Roberts to open it up when he went outside his man, took it all the way in and Jordan Evans put it in.
“I said to them that they had built up a reputation after all the success last season but it’s a new season and they have to work twice as hard and be patient. They showed that today and we were able to start in the best possible way: with a win.”
Fulham team: Rodak, Donnelly, Baba, Burgess, Edun, Hyndman, Nabay, Roberts, Williams, Dembele, Evans. Subs: Sheckleford, Smile, McDonald, O'Hallahan, Leacock, McLeod.