It’s a first league win for Ful­ham

The Football League Paper - - CHAM­PI­ONSHIP - By Dan Machin

CARE­TAKER man­ager Kit Sy­mons is a man who knows what he wants, and with a first league vic­tory of the sea­son secured against Birm­ing­ham City, the for­mer Cot­tager has his eyes firmly on the job full-time.

Ful­ham went seven league games with­out a win be­fore for­mer man­ager Felix Ma­gath re­ceived his march­ing or­ders.

And while Sy­mons was un­able to im­me­di­ately ar­rest their form against Black­burn last week­end, he over­saw a mid­week League Cup win over Don­caster Rovers be­fore steer­ing yes­ter­day’s come­back vic­tory at St An­drews.

Trail­ing at the break to David Cot­ter­ill’s curl­ing ef­fort, the vis­i­tors turned things around in the space of eight sec­ond-half min­utes through goals from Tim Hoog­land and Hugo Ro­dal­lega.

And while Sy­mons ad­mits there is still plenty of room for im­prove­ment, the Welsh­man knows ex­actly where his loy­al­ties lay.

“It looks like we’re get­ting a few slices of luck at the mo­ment, but I’m a firm be­liever that if you do your work in the week lead­ing up to a game then you de­serve a lit­tle bit of luck here and there,” said Sy­mons.

“I’ve made it clear from day one that this is the job I’ve al­ways wanted to do. Ev­ery­body knows that.

“But I also know that the owner is go­ing to take his time and make sure he finds the right per­son, which is what I want.

“I love the club, I have a lot of his­tory here, and I want the right per­son to be in charge.

“Foot­ball at this level is all about re­sults – and we got a very pos­i­tive one. We’ve got lots to work on though.We were pretty aw­ful in the first half and Birm­ing­ham were well

wor­thy of their lead. We turned it around in the sec­ond half.

“It was a much bet­ter per­for­mance and I think we de­served the win.”

Both sides started brightly, with Ross McCor­mack test­ing Dar­ren Ran­dolph with a fierce free-kick while Cot­ter­ill dragged a shot wide.

Ro­dal­lega had a chance to break the dead­lock mid­way through the first half but he fluffed his lines in­side the box and min­utes later Blues’ Clay­ton Don­ald­son some­how man­aged to head an ever bet­ter op­por­tu­nity wide.

The hosts got their de­served opener on 38 min­utes though when Cal­lum Reilly in­ter­cepted a loose ball and fed Cot­ter­ill who ri­fled an un­stop­pable 25-yard shot into the top corner.

Ful­ham drew level on 63 min­utes when a scram­ble in­side the Birm­ing­ham box re­sulted in Hoog­land’s de­flected shot creep­ing past Ran­dolph into the bot­tom corner.

That goal lifted the vis­i­tors and Jonathan Spec­tor’s fa­tal er­ror, when he failed to deal with a cross-field pass, al­lowed Ro­dal­lega to bun­dle his way round Ran­dolph and fire home. The striker al­most added a third but Ran­dolph saved well with his legs with the keeper also deny­ing McCor­mack late on.

Blues man­ager Lee Clark, whose side are now win­less in their last eight in all com­pe­ti­tions, said: “We’re here again. I prob­a­bly didn’t have to do the in­ter­view, just take the record­ing from the past three games this sea­son.

“We were the dom­i­nant team in the first half, one goal up, missed two guilt-edge chances, not half chances, which would have given us a cush­ion.

“Then we have a setback con­ced­ing the equaliser and we ab­so­lutely buck­led .

“The con­fi­dence drained out of us and we turned into a com­pletely dif­fer­ent team in terms of what we do on the ball and off the ball.

“It’s some­thing we ob­vi­ously have to erad­i­cate from our game but that’s got to come from the play­ers. They have to be stronger men­tally.

“We need to give our­selves big­ger leads by tak­ing our chances.

“We also need to be stronger if we have a setback.

“The sec­ond goal is so poor it’s un­true.We needed to keep play­ing af­ter we con­ceded the equaliser, keep stick­ing to the game plan.

“We should have been look­ing to get the win­ner. But we didn’t, we packed up and started giv­ing the ball away.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

HUGE RE­LIEF: Ful­ham's Dan Burn and Ross McCor­mack cel­e­brate a first win

EYES DOWN: Ful­ham’s Hugo Ro­dal­lega goes past Birm­ing­ham's Paul Robin­son

EM­BRACE: David Cot­ter­ill, right, cel­e­brates the hosts’ goal

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