Player was substituted for tactical reasons
Player was substituted for tactical reasons
Fulham beat Charlton Athletic 4-2 in a thrilling Premier League Cup encounter on Friday evening at Motspur Park to secure passage to the knock out rounds.
George Williams was in scintillating form and scored two whilst also provided an assist for Elijah Adebayo.
Matt O’Riley was the first to get onto the score sheet by smashing the leveller after the Whites went a goal down in the first half.
Fulham came into this cup game top of the group on nine points, with Charlton close behind on seven. Three points for the Whites would secure top spot with a game to spare.
The last time these two teams met, Charlton ran out 3-1 winners. Fulham were looking to rectify that result and bounce back from defeat in their last game at West Ham on Monday.
The first chance came in the fourth minute as Steven Sessegnon drove up field and darted in from the left. He found his way through a number of midfielders in red shirts before slotting a perfectly weighted pass to Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson. Dimitar Mitov, the Charlton keeper was off his line quickly and blocked his effort on goal.
Five minutes later it was Fulham once more with the attack, as the ball was played to the right of the box and Josh Smile looked up and shot hard and low. Mitov managed to get down just in time to knock his shot wide past the post.
Charlton countered and could have had a chance to get a shot away until Taye Ashby-Hammond sprinted off his line quickly to extinguish the attack by winger Karlan Ahearne-Grant who was a handful throughout the 90 minutes.
18 minutes into the match and a great chance presented itself for Fulham. Ryheem Sheckleford rolled a ball out wide of the box to Mattias Kait, who in turn put a sublime cross through the area. A scramble ensued and the ball ended up at Elijah Adebayo’s feet, he just poked it just wide as he was close to getting off the mark.
Fulham were in control of the game and put real pressure on the Charlton goal. A corner flew into the box and Adebayo headed a thunderous effort which shook the cross bar.
Adebayo caused the Charlton defence problems throughout the evening. He sprinted past his defender, tight to the touchline and whipped a cross through the box. Williams flew in but couldn’t get on the end of it as it passed him by inches and his momentum carried him into the back of the net.
Charlton worked their way into the match half an hour in, and they got a chance from a corner. The ball was put into the box and Reeco Hackett-Fairchild volleyed wildly sent his effort well over the goal.
At the other end of the pitch Kait had a chance also with a header at goal. His effort was saved and the Addicks sprung a counter up the pitch. Ahearne-Grant, who presented a danger through the contest made his way forward.
He held the ball up and offloaded it right of the box to Hackett-Fairchild, who shot with his left from 25 yards out and put it past Ashby-Hammond to give the Addicks the advantage in the match and made it 1-0, it would be fair to say it was against the run of play.
Fulham were straight into the attack as play resumed and it took eight minutes for the Whites to respond. Having won a free kick outside the box, O’Riley took the responsibility.
From the edge of the D he smashed a ball low into the wall, the ball bounced off a defender and landed back to his feet. With his second invitation he rocketed the ball into the left hand corner to make it one goal a piece.
It took less than two minutes after the goal for Fulham to take the lead. Josh Smile accelerated right down the pitch as he saw space open up in front of him.
He whipped a ball across the six yard line and Mitov rushed off his line out but this time there was nothing he could do as George Williams got an ever so slight connection on the ball and it bounced over the line to double Fulham’s lead which they took into the break..
Charlton created themselves a couple of chances through Ahearne-Grant, with two headers saved comfortably by Ashby-Hammond.
The third goal finally came in the 67th minute Adebayo picked the ball up in midfield and looked for Williams sprinting through the defence. He slotted a ball through and Williams collected for a one on one with the keeper.
He expertly shot to the right and the ball nestled in the back of the net to double his tally and give Fulham the comfortable lead they deserved.
Williams looked for his hat-trick as soon as play had resumed again, finding the ball out wide and smashing an effort into the side netting.
Charlton to their credit kept looking for ways to get back into the game and within 5 minutes of Williams’ goal they found an avenue. Danger man Ahearne-Grant attacked from the right and Ashby-Hammond came off his line to stay the offence.
Ashby-Hammond got a block to the ball but the Charlton attacker curled an effort from 25 yards out that beat the defenders rushing back to the near post to narrow the gap to one goal at 3-2.
Entering into the last ten minutes Fulham put the game out of reach for the Addicks. A wonderful through ball from O’Riley to Williams out wide, and the Welshman curled a pinpoint cross to Adebayo who nodded it across the keeper heading in the other direction.
The two goal cushion gave the Whites the lead they needed as Ashby-Hammond made a very important save with five minutes to go in the match. They saw out the game and took the thoroughly deserved three points.
A great win for Fulham saw them score four, progress to the next round, and also finish top of their group in the cup. It was a great effort from the whole team.
They next face AFC Wimbledon on Thursday in a closed game at the Cobham training ground.
Competition: Premier League Cup
Date: Friday 24 February 2017
Venue: Motspur Park, Surrey
Line-up: Ashby-Hammond; Sheckleford, Sigurdsson, Jenz, Sessegnon; O'Riley, Smile; Kait, Williams, Thorseinsson; Adebayo
Unused substitutes: Opoku, Elstone
Line-up: Mitov; Barnes, Blumberg, Bowry, Doughty (Willis 87'); Millar (Maloney 76'), Dijksteel; Lapslie, Hackett-Fairchild, Yamfam; Ahearne-Grant
Unused substitutes: Yao, Maynard-Brewer, Ndiaye