Fulham U21s 3-1 Portsmouth U21s

Tuesday 6 January 2015 16:00

Fulham Under-21s defeated their Portsmouth counterparts 3-1 in a behind-closed-doors friendly match at Motspur Park on Tuesday afternoon.

A pair of Thomas Eisfeld free-kicks put the Whites – who named a number of senior players in the starting XI – in the ascendancy before half-time.

Tom Craddock then pulled a goal back for Pompey through a set-play of their own, but Jordan Evans’ clinical finish sewed things up for the Whites.

Nine of Fulham’s starting line-up had tasted First Team action this season, and there was the notable inclusion of Alexander Kačaniklić following his return from a loan spell at FC Copenhagen. The Sweden international donned the number 10 shirt and took up a position in behind lone striker Moussa Dembélé.

Eisfeld had his side’s first effort on goal eight minutes in, but his 20 yarder was saved easily enough, before Dembélé won possession on the edge of the box 10 minutes later only to fire over with his left foot.

The Frenchman went much closer soon after, though, when he was slid in by Kačaniklić, but his angled strike was smothered by the goalkeeper.

Kačaniklić then bent one over from 25 yards, before Gabor Kiraly was called into action at the other end for the first time when he claimed a deflected strike.

Just before the half hour mark Eisfeld tried his luck again from distance, this time seeing his shot pushed behind for a corner. And from that set-piece Patrick Roberts collected a one-two, beat his man, but then rifled over the crossbar.

The goal Fulham had threatened arrived on 39 minutes in stunning fashion. Dembélé was tripped 20 yards from goal, and Eisfeld stepped up to bend in a sublime free-kick that hit the underside of the bar before nestling in the back of the net.

Portsmouth looked to respond and they forced a good one-handed save from Kiraly, but the Whites ended the half with another goal to double their advantage.

Kačaniklić beat three men before eventually being taken down as he bore down on goal. The set-piece was further away than his previous effort – some 25-plus yards out – but that didn’t deter Eisfeld who confidently got the ball over the wall and in at the near post.

Half-time saw Tom Richards enter the action in place of Kačaniklić, and it wasn’t until just before the hour mark that either goal was threatened. When Kiraly was tested, though, he was equal to the low shot.

But the Hampshire outfit did reduce the deficit five minutes later. A clever free-kick saw the Pompey number nine Craddock played into space, and he kept his composure to clip the ball beyond Kiraly.

The Whites needed less than three minutes to restore their two goal lead, though, with Richards sliding full-back Evans in to his left. The 19-year-old took a touch before coolly placing his shot across the keeper and inside the far post.

Dembélé could then have made it 4-1 when he found space in the box. He opened his body up but put his strike too close to the goalkeeper. The Frenchman then made way for compatriot Ange-Freddy Plumain.

The fourth Fulham goal should have arrived on 84 minutes when Roberts was able to round the visiting keeper, only for a recovering defender to make a fine block to keep the teenager’s shot out.

Evans almost grabbed his second of the afternoon on 90 minutes when, after playing a slick one-two with Roberts, he powered a rising strike towards the near top corner, but the goalkeeper made a great save to push it behind.

From the following corner, Eisfeld went for the hat-trick when the ball fell to him on the edge of the box, but the German’s effort missed the target with what was the final chance of the game.

Fulham: Kiraly; Voser (Baba), Buatu, Burn, Evans; Zverotić, Eisfeld; Roberts, Kačaniklić (Richards), Williams (Sambou); Dembélé (Plumain)