ROYALS FEEL MOUSSA MAGIC
Fulham kick into gear to overturn two-goal deficit
STEVE Clarke felt compelled to bite his tongue in the dressing room after a second-half blitz saw Reading’s five-match unbeaten run in the league go up in smoke.
The Royals went to Craven Cottage third in the Championship table and goals from Lucas Piazon and Orlando Sa – against his former club – either side of the break put them well on top.
However, a Moussa Dembele-inspired Fulham kicked into life and within eight minutes of Sa’s goal, they were ahead.
Ross McCormack and Alexander Kacaniklic found the net either side of a Dembele strike and the man-ofthe-match added a fourth to ensure the Cottagers’ run of three straight draws came to an end.
“I didn’t say anything to the players,” revealed Reading boss Clarke.
“After the game, sometimes in a moment like that it’s better to say nothing, walk away, watch the game, reflect calmly on the game and speak to them when you have a better frame of mind.
“I didn’t trust myself to speak after the game in case I said something that maybe I would regret later.
“When you go 2-0 in front you should go onto win the game. We conceded three goals in six minutes and it changed the complexion of the game completely.
“For some reason we switched off. Within a minute it was 2-1, we didn’t react well to that and then it became 2-2 and before you can do anything it’s 3-2 against and the whole picture of the afternoon has changed.
“I’m obviously disappointed with the way we conceded the first goal. I think we had good control up until then.
“But we allowed the game to get away from us very quickly. It’s not like us and it was disappointing.We have to move on.”
Reading took the lead in the 13th minute with a sharp counter, when Matej Vydra played an exquisite first-time ball to Piazon who coolly slotted past Joe Lewis.
Fulham then had a penalty shout waved away just before half-time when McCormack was barged over by Michael Hector, but nothing was given.
Reading moved further ahead three minutes after the break when
Sa went on a marvellous solo run and finished across Lewis into the far corner – but the fightback began almost instantly.
McCormack collected a loose ball on the edge of the area before he flicked the ball up to himself, swivelled and fired the ball past Ali Al-Habsi.
They equalised four minutes later, Lasse Vigen Christensen squaring the ball across the six-yard box for Dembele to bundle it into the net.
Remarkably Fulham went in front soon after when Dembele played a brilliant through ball to Kacaniklic, who finished with aplomb. And they wrapped things up 17 minutes before the end when Paul McShane’s misplaced pass allowed Dembele to play a fantastic one-two with McCormack and calmly finish past Al-Habsi.
“We needed to get a win and we did,” said Fulham manager Kit Symons.“I would have rather gone about it in a slightly easier fashion, but still delighted to get the three points and score four very good goals.
“The least you can expect from any Fulham team or any team of mine is to have a real go and show 100 per cent commitment and effort. We went 2-0 down at the second half and I was thinking that had gone out of the window, but the boys dug in. As soon as we got the first goal, which we took well, we looked a real threat and a force going forward and scored three more very good goals.
“I’m a Championship manager and I think if you win you’re alright but if you lose you get stick and your job is under threat.
“That’s how the industry is really. It’s a really difficult job and that’s the nature of it. I’m under no illusions. It’s not easy.”
DEMBELE DOUBLE: Fulham’s Moussa Dembele celebrates with Lasse Vigen Christensen
SMART ALEX: Fulham’s Alex Kacaniklic scores their third goal