Fulham XI 3-3 Cardiff City XI

Thursday 9 October 2014 16:00

A Fulham XI played out a 3-3 draw with their Cardiff City counterparts in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Thursday afternoon.

The Whites – who fielded several First Team players – found themselves trailing in the opening stages after conceding a scrappy goal, but went into half-time level courtesy of a Matt Smith strike.

Fulham then turned the game on its head after the restart through a fine Chris David effort and Smith’s second of the afternoon.

But Cardiff left Motspur Park with a share of the spoils as two late goals – the first from the penalty spot – earned them a draw.

There were just three minutes on the clock when the Welsh side took the lead. Jaye Bowen lobbed Marek Rodák with a decent effort from range that came off the bar – the follow-up was then pushed onto the post by a blue shirt before Macauley Southam finally managed to turn it over the line.

Fulham responded with a Thomas Eisfeld shot that was blocked after he’d been cleverly found by David, before Smith headed wide after connecting with Josh Passley’s cross – although the flag was already up for offside.

Southam had a chance to double City’s lead in the 11th minute after rounding Rodák, but the angle was against him and he could only find the side-netting with his strike.

On 20 minutes a chipped ball from David was chested down by Smith in the area, but he was closed down quickly by a recovering defender who managed to block the subsequent shot.

Fulham had really grown into the game and went close again shortly after the half hour mark when a fantastic Eisfeld pass picked out Smith who had beaten the offside trap. The imposing striker got the ball under control but then lost his footing on the sodden surface, allowing goalkeeper Ben Wilson to collect.

But the deserved equaliser arrived moments later. Dino Fazlic fed Jordan Evans down the left hand side and his low cross was expertly swept into the far corner by the left boot of Smith.

Two minutes later Eisfeld almost added his name to the scoresheet but his wicked effort didn’t quite have enough dip to find the target.

Cardiff were struggling to cope with Fulham’s fluidity in attack and Smith almost scored a brilliant second on 36 minutes after spotting Wilson off his line, but his attempted chip from long range just cleared the crossbar.

More good play from Evans shortly before half-time saw him control a high ball in the centre circle before playing in Smith who was denied by a good Wilson save.

Three new faces entered the action for Fulham at the interval, with Magnus Norman, Ange-Freddy Plumain and Dean O’Halloran all introduced.

Five minutes after the restart, Bowen drew a good save from Norman as the young keeper kept out his angled effort at the second attempt.

At the other end a minute later, Plumain turned his man and squared to David who unleashed an unstoppable left-footed dipper than beat the keeper from 25 yards, hit the underside of the bar and landed beyond the line. It was an effort reminiscent of his goal against Crystal Palace, just from a more central position.

It was another 10 minutes until the next chance, and Shaun Hutchinson might feel he should have done better when he headed Evans’ exquisite free-kick off target.

O’Halloran went close just after the hour mark with a low shot that sailed wide, but it was 3-1 moments later when Smith was put through. He kept his cool to round the keeper before calmly slotting into an empty net from a tight angle.

It could have been four a minute later when a dangerous Passley cross was met on the volley by Smith, but Wilson was out quickly to smother the shot.

Cardiff should have reduced the deficit on 70 minutes when Southam squared to a teammate for a simple finish, only for Hutchinson to make a brilliant sliding tackle to deny him.

A vicious David shot from 30 yards was then parried by Wilson, before Plumain rode two challenges to create some shooting space, drawing a fine acrobatic stop from the Cardiff keeper who tipped his well struck effort over the bar.

At the other end, Jazzi Barnum-Bobb saw his rising shot pushed onto the bar well by Norman, who then kept out and held Tommy O'Sullivan's deflected attempt.

The visitors were given a way back into the match with seven minutes remaining, though, as Danny Johnson sent Norman the wrong way from 12 yards after Stephen Arthurworrey – a second half replacement for Tiago Casasola – was penalised for a lunge in the area.

And they were level two minutes later. Norman initially saved the incoming shot but a City trialist was there following up to make it 3-3.

Plumain had an opportunity to restore his side’s lead late on, but he skewed his strike into the side-netting after finding space in the left side of the box.

Fulham: Rodák (Norman 45); Passley, Hutchinson, Casasola (Arthurworrey 59), Evans; Fazlic, Fotheringham; Na Bangna (O’Halloran 45), David, Eisfeld (Plumain 45); Smith