Fulham’s first taste of pre-season action ended in a convincing 5-0 victory over Cobh Ramblers at Fota Island in Cork on Wednesday afternoon.
Goals from Luca de la Torre, Matt Smith, Stephen Humphrys (2) and Michael Madl secured victory for the Whites in the training game.
Head Coach Slaviša Jokanović started the match with a youthful side, featuring a sprinkling of First Teamers. Marek Rodák, Dennis Adeniran, Tayo Edun, de la Torre and Humphrys all started, alongside the more experienced heads of Smith, Tim Ream and Richard Stearman.
The Whites started the game brightly with Smith the target early on. With his superior height advantage and physical presence he was a menace to the Ramblers backline from the get-go, and linked up effectively with Humphrys who was playing just off the target man.
The breakthrough came in the eighth minute after the two front men combined. A whipped Humphrys cross was met by Smith whose header was directed home by de la Torre past a stranded goalkeeper.
The young American featured heavily in the early stages and his slaloming runs and neat footwork created space and enabled effective link up play with Jack Grimmer down the right wing. A cross from the Scot was cleared directly into the path of Sean Kavanagh in the 14th minute, but his blistering shot from 30 yards out whizzed over the bar.
The lead was doubled in the 16th minute when a teasing cross from Kavanagh fizzed across the six yard box and was fumbled by the Cobh keeper. An aware Smith reacted quickly to pounce on the loose ball and prod it home.
The buoyed Fulham team continued to press and harry from the back through the entire spine of the side. A vocal Stearman organised his troops and shut down any advances alongside his centre-back partner Cameron Burgess, while Edun and Adeniran were marshalling the centre of midfield.
The dominance opened up space on each flank, and it was another pinpoint cross from Kavanagh that created the third goal for the Whites. In the 28th minute his sublime delivery was met by Humphrys, who produced an equally delightful glancing header that nestled in the bottom right hand corner.
The young striker was at it again seven minutes later when more tidy link-up play found him in space just outside the box. After composing himself he unleashed a rasping, dipping drive that left the keeper with no chance.
A rampant Fulham side were in no mood to slow down and Smith was denied grabbing his second when his header hit the base of the post and went wide. The half played out without Rodák being troubled in the Fulham net.
At the break, Jokanović rung the changes and replaced everyone except for Adeniran in the centre of the Whites midfield.
Michael Madl and Fernando Amorebieta came in at the heart of the Fulham defence, with Ryan Sessegnon and Ryan Fredericks at full-back. Lasse Vigen Christensen and Tom Cairney moved on to the wings, with Ryan Tunnicliffe moving into the heart of the midfield alongside Adeniran. Ross McCormack took the Captain’s armband from Stearman and partnered Cauley Woodrow up top.
The blistering pace provided by the insertion of Fredericks and Sessegnon caused problems for the Ramblers early in the second half. A powerful run from the young left-back in the 51st minute saw another opening, however his cross was just out of the reach of Woodrow.
Moments later, neat link up play between Cairney and Christensen opened up some space for Woodrow just inside the box, but his thundering drive was well blocked and cleared by Cobh.
There was nothing that they could do to prevent the fifth, though. Cairney whipped in an inch perfect cross and it was Madl who rose the highest to head home from six yards out. The Austrian looked sharp on his introduction and was on hand to snuff out any danger, with the Ramblers pushing higher and higher up the pitch.
The 66th minute saw the re-introduction of an impressive de la Torre for Adeniran. He was involved immediately when a neat touch past a retreating defender saw the American surge down the left wing. His cross fell to Madl who sent a rasping shot inches wide.
With new signing Floyd Ayité and Club Captain Scott Parker watching on, the Whites closed out the match and ran out deserved winners in their first outing of pre-season.