Fulham. A name that make us shudder. Clare Thomas was brave enough to be one of the few to try and say, I was there. Wasn't the case sadly. Here she discusses speed bumps, funny bones and bogies.
The Curse of Craven Cottage
So, that elusive victory at Fulham continues to elude us. Even worse, we were teased into a sense of euphoria in the first half. Two goals up. Utter craziness. People marked the occasion by taking photos of the score board (OK, maybe that was just me); others just stood shaking their heads in stunned amazement. A ripple of conversation flowed through the crowd. We were going to do a win at Fulham. AT FULHAM. And we were there to witness this miracle…Then the second half kicked off. And...normality kicked in.
2-2. But, hey, we doubled the points total and goals we’d got in the previous 8 visits, so it feels like mini victory (it doesn’t but let’s keep clinging to the positives). Come on, we didn’t lose at Fulham. That’s worth a bonus point surely? Perhaps the EFL- lovers of the novel idea- should introduce a ‘bogey point’. Every team has to declare the side that has the hoodoo over them at the start of the season, and if you get a draw or even a win, you get extra points. Even Ipswich would have managed to get one this season….bless.
Apparently the word on Twitter Street at half time was that we were playing well and the defence was doing a good job. Two goals up and a clean sheet, it would be hard to argue against it. However, it’s hard to keep up with the Twitter comments when you are actually standing on the terraces watching the game live, and my opinion differed somewhat. I felt we were very lucky to be 2-0 up. Defensively we looked frail. We rode our luck, and that luck ran out in the second half. Olsson, usually as reliable as a Duracell bunny, was having a shocker. And Murphy offered so little protection to Pinto it was laughable. Actually, it was not at all laughable. Unless the laughter was because someone was whacking your funny bone (olecranon and radial nerve, to be anatomically correct) with a big, pointy stick.
As good as Ja Murph is going forward, he needs to seriously step up his defensive duties. Ivo, Ivo Ivo, Ivo Ivo, Ivo Ivo Pinto is too good going forwards to stay rooted behind the half way line at all times, and in these moments Jacob needs to switch on. Redmond suffered the same affliction. Defending isn’t what they are on the pitch to do, but it’s not all about the glory, boys. Time to get stuck in.
Despite having a veritable treasure chest of midfielders at our disposal, we contrived to lose the battle in the centre of the pitch yesterday to 102 year old Scott Parker.
The old man ran the show. Dorrans, Tettey , Brady et al were run ragged by a man who was virtually standing still, unopposed, in the middle of the park, pinging balls this way and that. We had no answer to it, especially when our very own elder statesman was taken off. There was a big gaping hole in our midfield and no one stepped up to fill it. We desperately needed someone to get on the ball in what was a very scrappy game. I’m not sure what Pritchard did wrong not to make the starting line-up, but that big gaping hole had his ball pinging name on it.
Fulham away day
Despite our hideous record at Fulham it is always one of the better away days. Maybe for me, as a resident of SW19, it’s because it’s actually a rare ‘home day’. Besides that there are great pubs, a walk through lovely Bishops Park to get to the ground and seeing lots of familiar faces on my home turf. Except that when it’s dark, the walk through the park isn’t so fun. Especially as the council have had the brain wave of putting speed bumps along the pedestrian path, which made for a pretty hazardous walk when shuffling along in a crowd. Presumably they were put in place to stop all those keen outdoor runners from achieving a PB, OAPs from speeding in their mobility scooters, and mums and dads from pushing their prams too fast. And at the game, the away end concourse was so packed (damn Norwich fans for being so loyal) I didn’t manage to find anyone I intended to meet up with at half time at all.
Still, I was at home on the sofa by 22.15 feeling sorry for all the Norwich fans on the long trek home. Then I reminded myself that long trek is my usual and much travelled journey to Carrow Road and the pity disappeared. I hope you all had a long and miserable trip.
Just to even the balance out. Sorry.
Clare tweets at @ClareBearThomas