STRANGE BUT TRUE FOR KIT’S CRUSADERS
FULHAM’S hopes of survival took a massive boost as they won the strangest Football League game of the season – not that manager Kit Symons was complaining.
The match was a parade of oddities from the moment Alex Kacaniklic scored straight from a corner after 66 seconds.
Fulham then had the wrong man sent off for a handball on the line, with the fourth official putting the referee right after he had already shown the red card.
Huddersfield striker Nahki Wells had the resultant penalty saved – and then hit the post when given another chance from the spot 11 minutes later.
The first penalty was just one of several heroic moments for Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli, who made a number of fantastic saves as Town poured forward.
Substitute Seko Fofana then added a second on the break with the last kick of the game.
With fellow strugglers Millwall and Rotherham both dropping points late in their respective games, there was no doubt that this was Symons’ day.
He said:“It’s probably the most bizarre game I’ve been involved in, it’s fair to say.
“On Wednesday night against Leeds we played ten times better and were on the end of a 3-0 defeat.
“This was like the exact opposite. Obviously we scored direct from a corner in the first minute and got the second one in the last minute of time added on.
“In between, Huddersfield were by far the better team and had by far the better chances.
“We massively rode our luck and Marcus made a few great saves, and a few unorthodox saves.
“Sometimes things go your way. We’ve not had a lot go our way lately at all, so I’m not going to bemoan a bit of lady luck.”
The game took an extraordinary turn straight away as Matt Smith’s distraction allowed Kacaniklic’s corner to sneak past Alex Smithies at the near post.
Bettinelli set the tone for his excellent day on 40 minutes, turning Wells’ flick onto and around the post.
He continued his heroics in the 61st minute, denying Wells from the penalty spot after Shaun Hutchinson’s handball on the line stopped Ishmael Miller’s drive.
Referee Richard Clark erro- neously dismissed Cauley Woodrow for the infraction, before being corrected by fourth official Mark Heywood.
Wells demonstrated the fine line between bravery and foolhardiness by stepping up to the spot once again after Ashley Richards pushed Sean Scannell, only to hammer the ball against the post.
Town midfielder Jacob Butter- field put a screamer towards the top corner on 85 minutes that Bettinelli incredibly pushed onto the bar – the third time he had denied Butterfield.
Fofana then rounded off a breathless second half, waltzing into a Town half containing only Smithies and converting the rebound after hitting the post with his first effort. That lifts Fulham eight points clear of the drop zone and drags Huddersfield just a point ahead of them.
Baffled Huddersfield boss Chris Powel said: “This game never ceases to amaze me.
“What went on after minute two and before minute 96 was basically one-way traffic.
“To hit the post, hit the bar, miss two penalties, their keeper clawing everything away, every rebound falling to their player – I mean, we just couldn’t get it in.
“We can’t start games like that giving away a cheap goal as we did, but we did respond in a positive manner.
“We had numerous crosses, numerous through balls, numerous chances. It was just one of those days where everything that went at their keeper, he got something on it. It was quite an amazing game.”
GIVE US A KISS: Seko Fofana celebrates with the fans and teammates after scoring his side’s second goal and, inset, Fofana knocks the ball past a stranded Alex Smithies