For a while there it looked like it was going to be a good day, but the result fairly reflected the game, and as Fulham had two decent penalty shouts turned down, I won’t argue with the outcome, however disappointing.
For the first 10 minutes, Fulham looked like there would walk the game, but in truth, passed the ball very nicely up to the point of needing to take a shot on goal, where they were largely ineffective. Then Van Damme got an unlikely goal for Wolves from a lovely ball by Doyle. After that, Fulham still looked like they’d walk the game, but still they couldn’t get the goal, and Wolves gradually came into the match.
Before the match I stated my doubt about Van Damme as an attacking threat. More fool me, because he had a good first half, with the goal to prove it. His substitution for Fletcher in the second half did not help the team defensively, and ultimately did not come off, with Wolves conceeding within 5 minutes of the restart. It was not a good goal to let in, but the second was worse. For Berra to give away the free kick in the first place in the 91st minute was silly, for the ‘wall’ to completely abdicate it’s responsibility to stay together and try and get in the way of the ball was ridiculous. Most people learn lessons the hard way, so let’s hope there’s one learned here: Don’t jump unless the ball is going over your heads, and don’t jump apart. Perhaps someone can write that down.
So, we left Craven Cottage disappointed by the nature of the defeat, if not with any real argument with the scoreline. The positives were that Doyle looked much sharper, Foley much more in control, and Jarvis very good in patches. Ebanks-Blake worked hard, and we pulled together a few decent attacks. On the negative, Mancienne did not have a very impressive return and all in all we punted and lost the ball far too much, giving away possession and letting Fulham pass the ball forward through the midfield with ease at times. Hahnemann had an amazing season last year but made a few poor decisions today again.
A lot of the post match talk has – again – been about Wolves being, to use one of the politer descriptions ‘over-physical’. I understand the Fulham fans may have sung something along these lines (probably not ‘Wolves – they’re over-physical’, however: I don’t know what exactly, because personally all I heard from their end all game was ‘You’re not singing anymore’. Ok, and ‘Come on Fulham’, once). Anyhow, I digress. Seven yellow cards, one red does not look good. However, I defended the team last week and will continue to do so for as long as it’s true – whatever the stats say, Wolves did not play dirty.
It’s wasn’t shocking to see Berra sent off, as he’s too regularly to be seen with his arms around the opposition, but that’s more stupidity that bullying. It was bad to see Zamora’s injury under a tackle from Henry, and I wish him a swift recovery, but no one can seriously argue that was anything other than very unfortunate. The majority of the other yellows were debatable but, whatever the case, we’re going the way of getting a very bad reputation with referees and opposing fans. There’s nothing that can be done about that, however, except continue to try and play strong but fair (in Berra’s case, today, I’m placing the emphasis here on ‘try’ – try not to be so clumsy would be another good bit of advice for a number of players.)
Next up Spurs away: three points last time around.