Fulham: An Encouraging Result (Even If Man United's Tactics Were Laughable)
Whilst walking down Fulham Road after a horrific second-half showing against Southampton, I grabbed my dad’s attention and starting to list off our next run of fixtures, and things looked alarmingly bleak to say the least. Weirdly enough, I turned to him and said there will be a few freak results between now and the end of the season, little did I know it would crop up so soon.
Had someone offered me a result at Old Trafford that didn’t leave our goal difference looking more worse for wear than Mido at a buffet, I’d've ran the stretch of Stevenage Road stark naked. Luckily for the residents of the street, they were spared the horrific sight, and I was duly rewarded with rare moments of elation at a ground where success has been well and truly starved.
When the line-up was announced, those outside SW6 expected the worse for Fulham, with a number of unproven youngsters, but such a statement of intent was refreshing to say the least. To see an average age of less than 65 was encouraging, as we had started to look like an old people’s home who’d won a competition.
Our intentions were clear from the off, and the old “parking the bus” saying flew around Twitter. However, when you have a back four that has resembled the organisation and anticipation of a West Surrey Youth League Under-10s game, you find it hard to adopt another game plan. Nevertheless, I discovered a startling finding, and that was that we had the potential to hit teams on the counter. Having seen games where the beginning of a counterattack was almost snail-like, we seemed to go forward in purpose, which was thanks to the way we were set up.
Lack of effort had been one thing getting the Fulham faithful annoyed, and the desire to put in 100% was more astonishing than the result itself, with players chasing everything and proceeding to block shots left, right and centre. Such intent to walk away from Manchester with something to show was the biggest positive throughout the 90 minutes, as it has given hope we can somehow beat the dreaded drop.
The duration of the game had me set 999 to speed dial as my heart was finding it hard to cope with the constant bombardment at our goal whilst protecting a lead. With holding onto a slender lead a rarity, my body was clicked backed into normal service when Man Unitd managed to break through twice in successive minutes. What followed lead me to run around my house with my shirt off. Resembling Ryan Giggs’ celebration against Arsenal (without the chest hair), Darren Bent opened up the crazy in me by not only managing to score, but miraculously salvaging a point only Father Christmas or Alladin’s lamp could have produced.
Lack of effort had been one thing getting the Fulham faithful annoyed, and the desire to put in 100% was more astonishing than the result itself.
It was plain to see the failures of United’s ideas, with crosses pelting the Fulham area resembling militia. Once the cross count surpassed the half century, it began to become laughable. It was a joyous sight seeing the ball sail into the six-yard area and bouncing straight back out again with ease. When you are up against a defender who stands at mighty a six-foot-seven, you find it hard to understand the logic employed by Moyes. Dan Burn described it perfectly by saying he hadn’t dealt with so many crosses since his days in the Conference. Food for thought David.
Stealing a point was made better by Moyes’ disrespectful post-match interview and the meltdown from the Man United faithful, particularly after having bombarded me with abuse pre-match on Twitter and after Michael Carrick’s world class deflected shot hit the back of the Fulham net.
The reaction of Moyes et al when the second goal went in made the last-gasp equaliser oh so sweet. It goes a long way to describe the troubles they currently find themselves in when pandemonium in the stands and touchline takes precedence at Old Trafford when a goal is scored against a team who have shipped 55 goals in 25 Premier League games and find themselves at the foot of the table.
Encouraging doesn’t half describe the feeling around the club and it’s fans after the shock result, and after quite a dismal week, things appear to be on the up for once. Positivity seems to be the order of the day and the chefs currently find themselves sporting quizzical looks on their faces. Manchester United fans are embroiled in a crisis, try being a Fulham fan for a day.