Re­venge sweet says Sy­mons

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Jack Skel­ton

FUL­HAM looked ev­ery inch the con­tenders they might have been this sea­son as they stunned league-lead­ers Derby County, and manager Kit Sy­mons is con­fi­dent his side can con­tinue to air their frus­tra­tions against the top teams.

The Rams had al­ready scored ten goals in two meet­ings with their hosts this sea­son but Ful­ham went ahead as Niko­lay Bo­durov scored his first goal for the club with a deft fin­ish from a tight an­gle.

Led by a ster­ling per­for­mance from re­turn­ing cap­tain Scott Parker, the Cot­tagers har­ried the vis­i­tors through­out and claimed a de­served sec­ond just be­fore half-time as Cauley Woodrow headed in Ross McCor­mack’s floated cross.

Ful­ham’s de­fence re­mained res­o­lute af­ter the in­ter­val to frus­trate Derby’s lauded attack and the hosts went close to a third as sub­sti­tute Moussa Dem­bele struck the post late on at Craven Cottage.

This victory is Ful­ham’s first tri­umph over their op­po­nents since 2005 and was a first win in seven games, giv­ing Sy­mons be­lief his side can cause fur­ther up­sets against high-fly­ers Wat­ford and Bournemouth this week.

“It’s only three points but it’s a big three points be­cause of who it was against and how we did it,” said Sy­mons.

“We were very res­o­lute de­fen­sively and we pressed them high up the pitch.

“It’s iso­lated in­ci­dents in games that have re­ally cost us this sea­son – not tak­ing our chances when they come along and con­ced­ing cheap goals.

“If I thought we weren’t good enough, I wouldn’t get as an­noyed as I do but I know we can beat any­one on our day.

“This sets us up nicely as it’s a tough run of games so to come out with a pos­i­tive re­sult gives us con­fi­dence.

“But can do and will do are two dif­fer­ent things and we need to get out there and put in more per­for­mances like we did here.”

Derby were given their first warn­ing of Ful­ham’s at­tack­ing threat in the 24th minute when McCor­mack slid in Ryan Tun­ni­cliffe, but the mid­fielder snatched his ef­fort wide.

But the hosts took the lead on 30 min­utes as Bryan Ruiz’s blocked ef­fort fell to Bo­durov and the de­fender’s pre­cise flick with the out­side of his right foot evaded keeper Lee Grant’s dive.

Ful­ham lost Lasse Vi­gen Chris­tensen to in­jury just be­fore half-time but ral­lied to dou­ble their lead as Parker surged for­ward, feed­ing McCor­mack, whose floated de­liv­ery was met by Woodrow at the back post.

De­spite Rams boss Steve McClaren mak­ing two changes at half-time, his side never trou­bled Ful­ham goal­keeper Mar­cus Bet­tinelli, while McCor­mack twice went close as Dem­bele also struck the post.

McClaren said:“We’ve played at a high level for the ma­jor­ity of the sea­son but we came up against a Ful­ham team who looked at their league po­si­tion and knew they needed a re­sult.

“They got blocks in, stopped crosses and de­fended with their lives, so full credit to Ful­ham – we wouldn’t have scored if we had been play­ing un­til Tues­day.

“We’re go­ing to have one or two more bad days at the of­fice this year but the key thing is we just shake it off and go again this week.We missed an op­por­tu­nity here but there will be oth­ers and we hope we take the next one.”

US­ING HIS HEAD: Cauley Woodrow scores the sec­ond goal for Ful­ham

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

JOY: Ful­ham cel­e­brate the opener

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