Fulham Under-21s maintained their excellent start to the season with a 2-1 victory over Reading at their training ground on Monday afternoon.
Jake Taylor thought he’d earned the Royals a point in the windy conditions when he cancelled out Lasse Vigen Christensen’s opener with time running out, only for substitute Muamer Tankovic to pop upwith a late winner.
Chris David had already won and missed a penalty by the time Stephen Arthurworrey nodded over from close range, before the centre-back saw another headed opportunity come and go before half-time.
Vigen Christensen then opened the scoring after the interval, although the home side squandered a great chance to equalise when they too failed to net from the penalty spot following a foul on Dominic Samuel. The Reading striker picked himself up to take the kick, butskied his effort over the bar.
Reading continued to attack the Fulham goal and were seemingly rewarded with Taylor’s late effort, only for the Whites to immediately go up the other end to win it courtesy of Tankovic’s strike, making it four wins and a draw from their opening five matches in the Barclays U21Premier League.
Following the match, Manager Kit Symons told the official website that although he was pleased to return with threepoints, he would have liked his side to have been more comfortable in doing so.
“It was a decent game, but probably a little bit too open again for my liking, to be perfectly honest,” Kit said. “We played quite well and created a lot of chances but weren’t clinical enough in the final third for me. But I felt we more than deserved to win the game and we got our just desserts in the end.
“We had quite a few opportunities but sometimes the end ball or the final product, the pass or the cross, wasn’t quite the level we needed to be at which let us down a little bit, but then we scored a decent goal.
“Then, after the equaliser, we scored late on so it was a good, decent performance. There was a lot of good play and we created a lot of chances but we need to be more clinical to kill the game off.”
The youngsters’ heads could easily have dropped following Reading’s late equaliser, so Kit was delighted with the response they showed and challenged them to replicate that mentality for longer periods of games.
“We kept going and you always felt that we could sort of up it another gear,” he explained. “They equalised and then we upped it and went and got the winner. But that’s the thing, you want to play at that tempo and intensity all the time rather than wait for something bad tohappen to suddenly up it a little bit.
“Overall we’re very pleased – there were a lot of very good individual performances and it was also an all-round solidteam performance, and it’s another win for the boys so it’s good stuff.”
Another positive from the game was the return of Mahamadou Diarra to fitness. The Mali international – whose contract with the Club expired in the summer – played the entire match as he looks to earn a new deal at Fulham.
“It was his first 90 minutes for a while,” Kit said. “He worked hard and put in a good shift and got through the game with no problems, so it’s all good.”
Reading team: 1. Henly, 2. Long, 3. Griffin, 4. Tshibola, 5. Keown, 6. Cooper, 7. Obita, 8. D’Ath, 9. Ugwu, 10. Samuel, 11. Taylor
Subs: 12. Murombedzi, 13. Moore, 14. Partridge, 15. Kuhl, 16. Fosu-Henry
Fulham team: 1. Etheridge, 2. Passley, 3. Kavanagh, 4. Diarra, 5. Arthurworrey, 6. Grimmer, 7. Na Bangna, 8. Vigen Christensen, 9. Islamovic, 10. David, 11. Plumain
Subs: 12. Joronen, 14. Minkwitz, 15. Richards, 16. Buatu, 17. Tankovic