The 2012/13 season began well as the first home game at Craven Cottage also brought about the biggest win of the campaign. An impressive 5-0 defeat of Norwich City gave fans the chance to see the Whites attack in full flow and the players almost pulled off a shock at Old Trafford in the next game as they went 1-0 up inside three minutes, before falling 3-2 to the eventual champions.
Having expended a lot of energy against United, some tired legs at the end of August then saw the end of our Capital One Cup hopes as npower Championship side Sheffield Wednesday knocked us out in the Second Round thanks to a Gary Madine penalty.
And, while the end of the summer transfer window saw some Fulham favourites depart, there were also some arrivals as Dimitar Berbatov, Ashkan Dejagah and Kieran Richardson came in during a frenetic final few days to boost the squad.
It was a baptism of firepower for Norwich manager Chris Hughton, as the Whites began the season in white-hot form. The game started well as John Arne-Riise picked out Damien Duff with a wonderful long ball and the Irishman controlled it well in the area to slot into the bottom corner in the 26th minute. Mladen Petrić then bagged his first goal for the Club since joining in the summer as he headed home a corner just before the break and he picked up his second on 54 minutes courtesy of a long-range deflected shot. Young winger Alexander Kačaniklić got himself on the scoresheet eight minutes later after a nice passing move saw him put through on goal from Petric’s flick and the fifth was sealed from the spot as Steve Sidwell converted following a foul on Hugo Rodallega. Top of the league!
Full of confidence going up to Manchester, the Whites started as they had finished at the Cottage. Petrić fooled Michael Carrick into a foul on the edge of the box inside three minutes and a well-worked training ground move saw Duff finish off Bryan Ruiz’s low cross. However, a 10th-minute stunner from Robin van Persie got United back into the game and Shinji Kagawa beat the offside trap to slot home a rebound to put them ahead. Then it was 3-1 before half-time as Rafael appeared at the far post to head home. Fulham showed some fight and, after Petrić had hit the bar following a stunning save from David De Gea, Matthew Briggs’ cross was bundled into his own net by Nemanja Vidic. It was not be, though, and we dropped to sixth after our brief exploits at the top.
Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 Fulham – 28.08.2013
Our efforts in the Capital One Cup ended before they had really begun - in the Second Round - as we fell to a 1-0 away defeat at Sheffield Wednesday. On 50 minutes, Stephen Kelly was adjudged to have fouled Chris Maguire inside the box and Madine sent Mark Schwarzer the wrong way to seal the win. But we were unlucky not to equalise as Brede Hangeland had what looked to be a fine goal disallowed by the assistant’s flag 10 minutes later.