Joshua Smile scored a last-gasp winner two minutes into stoppage time to give Fulham Under-21s a 1-0 victory over Swansea City.
The result sees the Whites leapfrog the Welsh outfit in the Barclays U21 Premier League Division 2 and become the first side this season to stop the Swans scoring.
Contrary to the resolute 2-0 victory at West Ham on Monday, this game was open and free-flowing from the start.
Fulham went close in the fifth minute after Sean Kavanagh dispossessed Swansea in midfield. He fizzed a ball into Mattias Kait who touched it off to Smile advancing from deep, but the midfielder pulled his first-time effort just wide.
Five minutes later, the visitors almost caught the Whites on the break. Henry James raced down the right before picking out Adnan Maric in the box. Under pressure from the Fulham defence though, the Swede could only head over.
Kavanagh played another dangerous ball that almost saw Kait open the scoring a few moments later in a fast-paced opening. After play broke down from a deep corner, the Irishman regained possession and sent a looping ball to Kait at the back post. His header, though, was saved by Josh Vickers in the Swans’ goal.
Mid-way through the half, Fulham went close twice in the same attack. Ryheem Sheckleford attacked with pace down the right and rolled a low ball hard across goal. It fell narrowly out of reach for Dean O’Halloran but Kavanagh was there to meet the clearance 20-yards out. A swing of that vicious left boot looked to be troubling the Swansea goalkeeper but a defender’s block kept the Whites at bay.
The right-back looked dangerous again in the 35th minute as he rode two challenges in a blistering burst forward to win Fulham their third corner of the game. The fireworks that burst into life in the background were perhaps a little premature though, as the set-piece came to nothing.
Swansea had a string of corners themselves as half-time approached, as Owain Jones’ mazy runs caused problems. Their captain Liam Shephard, young player of the season last year on loan at Yeovil Town, sent a stinging 35-yard shot goal-bound after the ball was cleared. Goalkeeper Marek Rodak did well to collect cleanly after a tricky deflection and the teams went into the break goalless.
Seven minutes into the second half, the visitors almost had the lead. Persistence on the right allowed Jones to work an opening a find Ollie McBurnie in the middle just 12 yards out. He turned it round the corner and Rodak sprawled superbly to deny Henry James what looked like a certain goal.
The Slovakian was called upon once more five minutes later as the Swans launched a quick counter attack. Daniel James looked to bend one in the far corner from 20 yards but Rodak was equal to it and made the save diving to his left.
Raheem Hanley rattled the post for the Welsh side in the 66th minute with a ferocious 35-yard effort. Left with space advancing forward, the number three unexpectedly unleashed his long range effort that looked in all the way but crashed back off the upright.
It was a slower start to the second half for Peter Grant’s men and the Manager completely changed the front-line with two substitutions in ten minutes either side of the hour mark. Aaron Redford and Josh Walker looked to bring fresh energy as they came on for Williams and O’Halloran, who both played considerable parts just five days ago.
Chances were harder to come by but Fulham’s defensive solidarity was on display twice in as many minutes late on. McBurnie found space on the edge of the box but was denied by an excellent last ditch block by substitute Liam Donnelly, before a cross from the left found its way to the back post. Only Jordan Evans’ intervention to turn the ball behind stopped Swansea taking the lead.
That dogged determination was rewarded when the hosts grabbed a late winner. With two minutes added on, Fulham piled men forward for a wide free kick into the box. The Swansea defence cleared but only as far as Smile who was waiting just outside the box. His well-timed strike flew past Vickers to give Fulham their second win in just five days.