Focus Fives: Friday Night Football

FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Image: Rex Features

It’s not always ideal when Fulham games are moved to a Friday night and this weeks visit of Middlesbrough is already our sixth Friday fixture of the season! However, our recent record suggests that the players respond positively to the change and love a bit of TGI Fridays.

For this week’s Focus Fives, Tom Cotton looks back at our five Friday night games so far this season to demonstrate how kind they have been to the club of late.

Huddersfield 1-2 Fulham (16/08/19)

Image: Rex Features

Our first Friday night game of the season ended up being our second win in three games and our first away win of the season. It wasn’t easy though; after a flat first half from both sides, it was clear Fulham’s firepower would begin to dominate as the Terriers tired. We struck first six minutes into the second half thanks to a fortuitous clearance which turned into a dangerous cross to the far post right on top of the goal line, giving Mitrović the simple task of bullying their keeper and defender to a tap-in with his head. Huddersfield hit back five minutes later as a Karlan Grant header was saved by Bettinelli but deemed to have crossed the line making it 1-1. From then on it was a matter of if Fulham could respond as Huddersfield clung onto the point. In the 79th minute, that pressure told as Cavaleiro curled home a quality team goal to secure the win and put the final nail in the coffin for Jan Siewart who was sacked after the game. 

Cardiff 1-1 Fulham (30/08/19)

Image: Gareth Everett/Huw Evans Agency

There was always going to be a bit of bite in this fixture after our competitive rivalry over the past two seasons for promotion and survival. Parker’s men started well but after failing to take our chances, Cardiff struck first in the 42nd minute through a Josh Murphy goal only to be cancelled out by Aleksandar Mitrović on the stroke of half time. We were in the ascendancy and unlucky not to be leading midway through the second half, but the game turned on its head completely when a furious Harry Arter was sent off for simulation in the 68th minute which saw us on the back foot for the rest of the game. But despite some odd bookings for time-wasting, and a clear penalty appeal for a foul on Mitrović being waved away, we held out to secure a point in what can only be described as a heated Friday evening down in the Welsh capital.

Fulham 2-0 Wigan (27/09/19)

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We came into this game looking for a first win in four after a feisty 1-1 draw at Hillsborough where like West Brom at home, we led for most of the game. But that winless run was to come to an end as goals from Joe Bryan just two minutes into the second half and an 83rd minute Tom Cairney goal saw off a struggling Wigan side under the lights at the Cottage.

Fulham 2-1 QPR (22/11/19)

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No Mitrović, no chance. That was the feeling coming into this fixture with Mitro serving a one-game suspension. But cometh the hour cometh the Abou! Most people assumed Bobby Reid was the obvious replacement to lead the line in the Serb’s absence, instead, Parker opted to go with the physical presence of Fulham’s forgotten man and he stepped, proving to be the match-winner. A poor start for the Cottagers gave QPR the lead through Jordan Hugill in the third minute of the game but Mark Warburton’s side had developed a habit of burning out and throwing away leads which is exactly what happened on this Friday evening. We turned the game on its head through two well taken Kamara goals and displayed a good enough team performance to suggest we can cope without Mitro for the odd game here and there.

Swansea 2-2 Fulham (29/11/19)

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Our latest Friday night encounter was at the Liberty Stadium where we faced a strong Swansea City side. We took the lead through an Aleksandar Mitrović double in the first half but the Swans didn’t go down without a fight. A 65th-minute goal through George Byers gave them hope and they were unlucky not to get at least a draw out of the game as Marek Rodak came of age with a series of fantastic saves. We held out to secure our fourth win in a row and looked set to mount a serious chase on the top two, before our form dipped again during December, demonstrating our inconsistency.