Fulham picked up a well-deserved 2-0 win in a behind closed doors friendly over Watford on a glorious day at Watford’s training ground on Friday lunchtime.
Manager Kit Symons picked a strong team to face Watford which featured Captain Scott Parker on the comeback trail from injury. The starting eleven also featured numerous first team players looking to maintain match sharpness during the international break, including Moussa Dembélé, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Tom Cairney.
A goal in each half from Alexander Kačaniklić saw the whites come out on top in a well-contented encounter against a Watford team featuring a scattering of First Team starters.
Fulham started the game brightly but the first clear-cut chance fell to Troy Denney. Joe Lewis, starting in place of Andrew Lonergan, made a terrific save low to his left and then a heroic last-gasp block from Shaun Hutchinson prevented Alessandro Diamanti from having a simple tap in following the parry from Lewis.
In the deceptive October heat, the breakthrough for the Whites came in bizarre circumstances. On the counter following a Watford corner, the ball was worked to a lively Kačaniklić. An inch perfect in-swinging cross from the right flank eluded everybody and nestled in to the bottom left hand corner of the goal.
Parker, the Captain, was a vocal leader throughout and the heartbeat of the Fulham midfield. After a mix-up in the Hornets defence, the Whites were gifted their second chance and an opportunity to double their lead. George Williams picked up the loose ball and surged forward. A neat through ball found Kačaniklić but, at a tight angle, goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin parried the shot out for a corner.
Watford worked their way back into the game and carved out some half opportunities, however, on the stroke of half-time Fulham were unlucky not to double their lead. Dembélé was played in behind the Watford defence but his shot was well saved by the onrushing Gilmartin.
The second half kicked off as the sun slowly worked its way behind some cloud cover. The change in weather signalled no change in the positive approach from the Fulham team. A cross-field ball from second-half substitute Ben Pringle to Williams was inch perfect. Williams played in the overlapping Luke Garbutt who fizzed in a low cross, which was scrambled away.
It was Kačaniklić again who got on the scoresheet to double the Fulham lead ten minutes into the second half. A perfectly weighted through ball in behind the Hornets back line from Parker left the Sweden international with only the keeper to beat. A cool strike with the outside of his boot slowly crept into the bottom corner past a helpless Gilmartin. There was no let-up following the goal. An unrelenting assault down the left flank saw Williams strike the post with a fierce shot.
Following substitutions from both sides, the match tempo slowly dropped off but the Fulham back line remained strong under pressure from a Watford team looking to work their way back into the game. Dan Burn and Hutchinson were solid throughout and were well complemented by Garbutt and Ryan Fredericks who pushed forward to provide an outlet, but also nullified the advances of Watford's wingers, who included Colombia international Víctor Ibarbo.
After a well-deserved victory, the Whites will be back in action in the Sky Bet Championship next weekend as they face Middlesbrough on Saturday October 17th, and then return to Craven Cottage to face Leeds United and Reading the following week.
Fulham Team: Lewis, Fredericks, Hutchinson, Burn, Garbutt, Parker, Tunnicliffe (sub Pringle), Kačaniklić, Cairney, Williams, Dembélé (sub O'Halloran).