Symons starting to look ahead
FULHAM manager Kit Symons insists he can now have half an eye on next season after his side took a huge step towards survival with victory over already-relegated Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.
Matt Smith’s eighth-minute header was enough to secure the win which puts Fulham nine points clear of Millwall, who have three games left, but the Cottagers have a superior goal difference.
Blackpool are now without a win in their last 16 games and still require one point to equal the lowest tally ever posted since the second tier became 24 teams in 1988.
For Fulham it was a first win in ten and Symons acknowledged how crucial the three points were, irrespective of the performance.
“Scrappy, horrible, ugly game but it was imperative we came and got a win and we managed to do that,” Symons said.
“There were a couple of times where we could have scored another one towards the end but I’ll just take the three points whatever way they come at this stage.
“It’s been tough lately to say the least. It’s not been the most enjoyable.We did ride our luck a bit and we’ve not had an awful lot of luck this year to be honest so maybe it’s a little bit overdue.
“Mathematically we need one more point but this was a massive game and result for us.
“I now have half an eye on next season but as soon as it’s mathematically done the better for me.”
The hosts came close after just four minutes when Gary Madine slipped Henry Cameron clean through but the midfielder’s effort from 18 yards came back off the post.
Less than a minute later, Cameron was in behind the Fulham defence again but was denied from similar range by the fingertips of Marcus Bettinelli.
But, in the manner typical of Blackpool’s season, it was Fulham who opened the scor- ing in the eighth minute when Sean Kavanagh’s left-wing cross was nodded into the bottom lefthand corner by Smith.
Fulham continued to pressurise the leakiest defence in the Football League and Smith was almost on target again in the 17th minute, but put his header wide when six yards out from a corner.
Nathan Delfouneso came within inches of equalising after 76 minutes when he beat Bettinelli to the ball, but his effort across goal was hooked off the line by Ashley Richards. And Gary Madine almost equalised in added time but his dipping strike was superbly tipped around the post by Bettinelli.
And Blackpool boss Lee Clark was frustrated with the result, feeling his team deserved better.
“I’m frustrated for the players because we didn’t get what we deserved,” Clark said.
“I think we’ve dominated the game from start to finish. They scored with their first attack. I don’t think they’ve had many other opportunities.
“We might have even felt harshly done by had we only taken a point. It’s the story of our season really.
“There are lots of positives.The individual performances of lots of players we’ve had in the last four or five home games has been of a high standard but we’ve got to get wins on the board.
“A lot of the players are playing for their futures.We will continue to talk all the time and the players will know the decisions on them after the final game.”
TIMELY FINISH: Fulham’s Matt Smith celebrates scoring the only goal
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