Fulham 2 Derby County 5
Moussa Dembele 27,45 Chris Martin 45 (pen)
Johnny Russell 47
Simon Dawkins 54, 65
Jeff Hendrick 62
What’s the phrase ? …..game of……game of two…..that’s it ! …..game of two halves.
Rarely has the well worn phrase seemed so fitting as the Rams endured a nervy and disjointed first half only to come out for the second half of this League Cup 4th round tie at Craven Cottage and blow Fulham away with a performance of verve and tempo.
Changes ahoy for this game as in came Kelle Roos for the cup tied Jack Butland, Jake Buxton returned to the team after injury replacing Zak Whitbread and Omar Mascarell, Jeff Hendrick and Simon Dawkins replaced John Eustace, Will Hughes & Jordan Ibe.
Fulham made eight changes to their team, something that caused a certain amount of disgruntlement amongst their fans online afterwards, but it did not seem to be causing them any problems as they put the Rams under pressure from the first whistle.
No surprise that the word has got around – squeezing our midfield and pressuring our attempts to play out from the back seems to be the go-to tactic for causing us problems. Fulham certainly seem to have paid attention to the game last Saturday as they started with energy and purpose and put us under pressure.
We did not cope well with the pressure and Kelle Roos made a good early save from Dembele but he was left with no chance as Craig Forsyth played a blind back pass straight to Dembele who put Fulham ahead.
Fozzy has had a few games now where he has only shown flashes of his attacking potential and has looked shaky defensively – whether he can pull out of this dip quickly will be important as he offers the Rams a lot when he is on form.
Bad got worse quickly as Omar Mascarell accepted the ball from Roos but was surrounded by two Fulham players who knicked the ball off his toe and a moment later Dembele was on a hat-trick and we were 2-0 down.
While our play improved during the half we were still not exhibiting the kind of play we have grown accustomed to and prospects did not look good…..then with the first half coming to an end Fulham’s Tim Hoogland handballed a Mascarell free kick and Derby were awarded one of the more obvious penalties of the season which Chris Martin smashed away with feeling.
For all that the first half was troubling the second half was terrific as the Rams shot out of the blocks with pace and energy and were on terms within minutes as Johnny Russell finished a fine move, Simon Dawkins scored a peach of a goal firing into the top corner after great play from Martin & Bryson, Jeff Hendrick fired in a fourth from close range and as the cherry on the cake Simon Dawkins backheeled in the fifth before twenty minutes of the second half had elapsed.
The return of a fit again Simon Dawkins in the last game and a half has shown just why the management rate him so highly and if he can add regular goals to his game he is a potent threat.
Fulham had a young side that clearly tired but that should not detract too much from a fantastic second half performance from the Rams.