Concorde Club, Cranford.
Team: Hudnott, Paul, Williams, Sandro, Arthur, Hamalainen, Crichlow, Comley, trialist, Manning, trialist
A 1-8 defeat for the U18’s at the hands of Fulham the previous day had necessitated ChrisPTenner, Clive Kingham and I, to adjourn to the Club bar after the game!
So it was back again to Cranford to see the U21’s take on the South-West London outfit. I bumped into two Fulham fans on the bus and later met up with Rollercoaster Ranger as planned.
It was another outing for Sandro, who was looking really lean and impressive with some solid tackling, making clearance headers, and peppering the ball around the pitch.
Rangers started off the better side and a good opportunity was created when Brandon Comley cut into the box and belted the ball across the six-yard box. Whether it was a cross or a shot, unfortunately, there was no one on hand to finish it off.
Then it was Fulham’s turn to open the scoring when a cross into the six-yard box only just evaded his well-placed team mate.
A productive move from the home side saw a good ball played to an overlapping Gianni Crichlow, who proceeded to shoot low past the far post.
At the other end, a Fulham player was put through one-on-one with Conor Hudnott, who did just enough to divert the ball away from danger as he was going down.
With a couple of minutes remaining and as the ball bobbled about the box, Ryan Manning saw his fine shot bounce off the crossbar.
Rangers had certainly edged the first-half, but it remained goal-less.
After the break, Paul Hall switched goalkeepers with Joe Lumley replacing Conor Hudnott.
Despite having his shirt tugged, Ryan Manning forced his way through and then saw his shot chested away by the Fulham custodian.
On 55 minutes, the visitors took the lead with a flicked header following a corner from the right flank.
With an hour of the match completed, it was time for Sandro to leave the field, and Michael Anastasiou replaced him. A further two changes were also made with Adams and Kakay coming on for Chris Paul and one of the trialists (Lopez?) respectively.
The visitors doubled their lead with around 20 minutes to go when their big No.10 turned his marker and picked his spot.
The R’s did deservedly pull a goal back in added time after Gianni Crichlow’s shot was palmed out by the Fulham keeper and Brandon Adams then followed up from close range.