Ful­ham kick into gear to over­turn two-goal deficit

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Ben Brown

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.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

DEM­BELE DOU­BLE: Ful­ham’s Moussa Dem­bele cel­e­brates with Lasse Vi­gen Chris­tensen

SMART ALEX: Ful­ham’s Alex Ka­caniklic scores their third goal

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