By Morgan Phillips
No one really expected the Fulham-Millwall match to reproduce the frantic excitement of Tuesday night’s 5-4 win at Sheffield. And it certainly didn’t.
We know what follows the Lord Mayor’s Show – and I heard a Millwall fan refer to Saturday’s teams in rather unflattering terms at the Cottage. This was a trifle harsh as the visitors had defended well and we did have glimpses of quality from Tom Cairney, Sheyi Ojo and Ryan Sessegnon. But it was easy to understand the frustration of the Lions’ fan. Draws against Sunderland and Hull, followed by a narrow defeat at the Cottage, leave his club in 19th position.
If Millwall’s players barely managed a decent shot on goal, their hosts were little better. Fulham began brightly but soon reverted to short passes in their own half – a tedious, unpopular and too often ineffective tactic.
Millwall’s defence (including former White Shaun Hutchinson) was rarely troubled. Most of the excitement occurred just before the interval when Stefan Johansen put Neeskens Kebano through. It took a courageous save by goalkeeper Jordan Archer to prevent Kebano from scoring. The resultant corner led to a penalty after Conor McLaughlin sent Rui Fonte sprawling. Oliver Norwood calmly despatched the kick.
Like Derby in the previous home match Millwall strove for a second half equaliser. George Saville hit the post, and David Button made a brave save from Fred Onyedinma. After his nervous display at Sheffield Button must have been relieved when the game ended with Fulham’s lead intact.
Significantly the club’s highlights video lasts less than five minutes, because so little of note occurred in the second half.
Coincidentally Fulham 1 - Millwall 0 was the result of the first League match that I can recall watching, back in April 1948. My memories of the day have long faded and, to judge from newspaper reports, it was a typical end of season game. Sadly for Millwall, the defeat doomed them to relegation. The only goal came in the first half when a foraging run by Fulham’s left back Joe Bacuzzi gave Bob Thomas a simple tap in.
Bacuzzi would have loved to watch Ryan Sessegnon. As for Bob Thomas he was a prolific scorer, whose goals helped the club win promotion the following season. He was not perfect of course. The Fulham Chronicle noted that he ‘would have scored more goals if he had been shooting at rugby posts’.
No change there then.
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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