Team: Kenny, Orr, Young, Hall, Ferdinand, Derry (Smith), Faurlin, Taarabt (Campbell), Barton, Wright-Phillips, Bothroyd (Mackie)
Subs Not Used: Murphy, Perone, Buzsaky, Helguson
The September heatwave continued as we gathered inside the Rutland Arms before the match. With Rangers impressive performances away from home thus far and various other factors taken into consideration, the mood generally was upbeat. Fulham got their noses in front early on and when they went 2-0 up you just had the feeling that it was going to be one of those days. Actually it could of ended up even worse ! The only positives for me were the introduction of Jamie Mackie and, even by Rangers standards the incredible support from the R’s following. As we trudged back along the Thames Path my thoughts went back to that terrible day in August 1965 when another one of our neighbours, Brentford, thrashed us 6-1. All that there was left to do was head to the Dove for a pint or two.
Bloody awful ! We were dire and it was a distressing afternoon. I have no recollection of any set-pieces, but based on the Villa game, that would have made no difference. The only people that came out of it with any credit were the R’s fans who kept singing to the end (unlike the library dwelling home support). At least we have a break now until the Blackburn game. Let’s hope that we take advantage of this to get some shape to the team and in particular to learn how to take set-pieces etc etc.
I have just been taking a look at Twitter. Tony Fernandes was saying that Fitz Hall has done his hamstring. Rodney Marsh was praising the R’s fans and saying that Rangers are his team despite his two spells with Fulham. Also there are rumours of Taarabt throwing a wobbler after being subbed at half-time and the result was our heaviest league defeat to a London side, Fulham’s first Premiership hat-trick and a general view that it could have been 10-0.
Andrew Johnson’s hat-trick helped Fulham secure their first Barclays Premier League win of the season in resounding fashion against West London rivals QPR. While some feared the Cottagers may struggle with a hangover from their midweek European exertions, they impressed from the offset and dominated throughout against their neighbours from less than three miles up the road. Johnson handed the home side the lead after just 79 seconds and their strong start continued when Danny Murphy slotted home from the spot midway through the first period.
QPR looked poor in the rivals’ first meeting since 2001 and hopes of securing their first win over Fulham since 1983 were all but curtailed just before the break when Johnson tucked away his second of the afternoon. The 30-year-old ensured he would leave Craven Cottage with the match ball in the 60th minutes when latching onto Murphy’s quick free-kick, before Clint Dempsey and Bobby Zamora wrapped up the 6-0 rout.
The London derby started off at ferocious pace, with Shaun Wright-Phillips’ curled 20-yard effort forcing Mark Schwarzer to save within the opening minute. Fulham immediately launched an attack at the other end and broke the deadlock. Moussa Dembele played a neat one-two with Zamora before unleashing a fierce drive that Paddy Kenny could only parry onto Johnson, who finished with ease.
The rapid start to the match continued and the Cottagers came close to doubling their lead immediately afterwards as Fitz Hall almost flicked into his own net from Dempsey’s squared ball. The United State international then saw a goal-bound effort blocked by a last-gasp challenge by Bradley Orr and, as the home side’s onslaught continued, Johnson came agonisingly close to netting his second of the afternoon after firing a volley inches wide from a Zamora header in the 17th minute.
However, Fulham did not have to wait long to score their second as Kenny upended Johnson in the box and referee Andre Marriner awarded a 20th minute penalty, which skipper Murphy duly converted. The Hoops were struggling to cope with the home side’s attack-minded philosophy and unable to turn their fleeting attacks into goal-scoring opportunities. Fulham, meanwhile, showed no signs of a post-Europa League hangover and looked impressive in attack, with Steve Sidwell coming close in the 37th minute.
And just one minute later, Jol’s side grabbed a third of the afternoon as Johnson turned home Zamora’s cross after keeping a cool head during a melee in the box. QPR looked shell-shocked as they trudged off at the break and came out with two new faces as DJ Campbell and Tommy Smith replaced Adel Taarabt and Shaun Derry. Warnock’s attempts to gee up his side looked to be working at the start of the second period, with both Wright-Phillips and Alejandro Faurlin getting away shots. However, Fulham were soon back in their stride and Kenny was forced to acrobatically save a Zamora effort in the 58th minute.
Sidwell had another attempt from the resulting corner and moments later Johnson ensured he would leave Craven Cottage with the match ball when he latched on to Murphy’s quick free-kick. Fulham did not rest on their laurels though, and after Zamora fired just wide, the striker laid the ball off to Dempsey to make it 5-0 with an exquisite finish.
QPR’s first top-flight match against Fulham got even worse in the 74th minute when Zamora was rewarded for an industrious performance with a deserved goal, slotting home past a hapless Kenny. The only moment of joy for the 3,000-odd visiting fans came just before Zamora’s goal as they welcomed back striker Jamie Mackie, who came off the bench for the first time since suffering a double leg break in an FA Cup tie with Blackburn in January. The former Plymouth striker skewed a shot wide as the game came to a close, while at the other end fellow substitute Bryan Ruiz saw an angle drive fly just wide before Marriner called time.
Simon Peach – The Independent
(The top two pics were taken by Ariel Friedlander and used with her permission. The bottom two were taken by Martin Percival and he too gave his approval)