By Morgan Phillips
In recent years the final home match of the season has given supporters one last chance to cheer their favourites, no matter how disappointing the results may have been.
What a difference there will be when Brentford visit the Cottage on Saturday (29 April). A home victory will almost certainly lead to the playoffs.
At Huddersfield Fulham shrugged off a fourth minute penalty (for the mildest challenge by Floyd Ayite) to overwhelm a side equally ambitious for promotion. Fittingly, Ayite assisted the first two Fulham goals – another Malone daisy-cutter from the left and a penalty converted by Tom Cairney. Spot kicks are no longer a joke. Stefan Johansen, emphatically back to his best, added two more goals to give the team a 4-1 lead at half-time. And now you’ve got to believe us…
Though Slavisa Jokanovic ignores the results of rival clubs the rest of us can salute Burton Albion, and their star player Christensen, for defeating Leeds United. The final League fixture Wednesday v Fulham will still be an almighty challenge.
Everyone knows that Fulham started as a church team playing friendly matches on any available open space. In 1998, when the club’s official historians Dennis Turner and Alex White compiled a complete record of cup and league results they chose the 1896-97 season as a starting point. That was when Fulham established their own ground (Craven Cottage) and first participated in a league competition of some consequence.
The club’s opening match in the London League, a visit to Brentford, attracted little attention in the local Fulham press, perhaps because the home team won 6-1. Though Alex White had discovered the line-up, no one knew who had scored Fulham’s goal.
Over the years, working separately, Alex and I identified the scorer as Abon Hassan Sermon. Despite his exotic name he was born in Fulham on 4 August 1872 and joined the club in the 1887-88 season when it was still known as Fulham St Andrew’s.
This is the account I found in Chiswick Reference Library of the lead-up to the goal, starting with an injury to Fulham’s Freddie Holland: “Holland and Swann collided, the former being injured and played stopped for a few minutes in consequence, ‘Dr’ Hargreaves being of incalculable service in the interim. Holland was soon able to resume play. The ball was thrown up and a foul against (Brentford’s) Field resulted in the kick being placed in the mouth of goal, where Foster made an admirable save with his fists. Without any alteration in the location of play hands were given against Brentford and the ball was again placed in front of goal, Sermon putting a shot in the net which Foster had no chance of saving. This made the score Brentford 1- Fulham 1.”
However, Alex White recently came across this report in the Sporting Life: “Sermon was unfortunately badly hurt just after Wade had scored for Brentford and Fulham badly missed his services. Lindsay however equalised.”
So who was injured, Abon Sermon or Holland? Who scored, Sermon or James Lindsay? As Brentford fans would undoubtedly say, ‘What’s the difference? The winners got six.’
It would be good to reverse that score on Saturday.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
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