Any last grain of belief that we will make a miraculous recovery left me as we walked away from the King Power with another defeat on Saturday afternoon. This season I have been to 7 away games and we have lost every single one of those matches whilst scoring a measly 2 goals. I love following Fulham away, but this season it has been utterly diabolical.
I had my Mum with me for this one. We had plenty of road trips last season but this was our first one together this season. We were both looking forward to the day, even if we were both well aware that it was extremely likely that we’d be coming away empty handed. Yet, there is always that nagging hope that ‘today will be the day’.
We arrived in plenty of time and the strong wind blew us into the sports bar next to the ground for a lunchtime pint. We were both in colours and were given no problems by the locals what-so-ever. I had half expected to get taken to task over Claudio Ranieri, but I guess as somebody who has defended the Italian in various forms on Fulham Focus, I would have been able to have that conversation with an audience who idolise him without causing too much offence.
Our former Manager’s name inevitably ‘came up’ during the game as the Leicester fans to our left sang ‘you let Ranieri down’ and the 1200 of us in the corner retorted with our collective thoughts. But aside from a bit of sparring in the form of song with the home supporters, I felt our support was extremely flat. ‘We sold your end for you’ sang the Foxes supporters in reference to the fact that we sent a batch of tickets back and I personally can’t argue with the fact that this was extremely poor on our part. The Club should have done more to push this game rather than just taking it off sale. Yes, we have been dreadful on the pitch but the one saving grace has been our brilliant support and having some fun in the face of adversity. But it was just a bit of a shit afternoon all round this time.
Scott Parker named an unchanged lineup but it looked a completely different side to the one that went toe to toe with Chelsea at the Cottage last week. We were as toothless in the first half as we had been under Ranieri and we were lucky to be only one goal down at the break. Vardy made the opening goal and his intelligent runs behind the defenders were causing us problems all afternoon. He cut in from the left, drew Rico out of his goal and squared the ball for Youri Tielemans who walked it into the empty net.
Floyd Ayite replaced Ryan Sessegnon at half time and we immediately looked a different team. 6 minutes after the break, the substitute took a long ball down and went around the Leicester left back in one move, cut back inside in the box and his deflected shot rolled into the net for 1-1. Would this be a token goal or would be built on our equaliser? These questions were about to be answered.
After our goal, we were in the ascendancy for a good period in the second half. We were playing some nice football not befitting a team in our position at all. We had a couple of chances and I quietly said to Mum- ‘I fancy us here’. Shortly after I opened my big mouth, we were 2-1 down. Havard Nordtveit had been a warrior at the back for us until this point, but he misplaced a pass moments after us fans were cheering every touch after a long period of successful passes. He gave the ball to James Maddison who played Vardy in and his finish across Rico was emphatic.
4 minutes before the end, the match was put out of sight when Vardy got his second goal of the day- he didn’t really seem to get hold of his shot but it found its way into the bottom corner anyway and the all too familiar feeling of traipsing out of a football ground feeling pissed off was with us once again.
Does this result do any damage to Scott Parker? Probably not. He got the reaction from the players for the Chelsea game and hasn’t backed it up with a result at Leicester, but the argument is that this team is so poor that it’s a huge ask to build any momentum this season anyway.
With Liverpool and Man City at the Cottage up next, its highly likely that his first 4 games will have resulted in defeat. I just hope that people don’t start getting on at him off the back of this stat. This is his 10 game interview and he either passes or fails. But results aren’t the only thing to factor into the equation. When we lose, how we lose counts for plenty. That being said, if we lose all 10 games then I think it would be very difficult to give him the job anyway. I’m still hopeful that we can get a few wins out of our last 8 games and if we do, then we can take some form into next season. Equally, I hope that we can have some fun in the last few games of the season and not sit there miserably watching the lights go out.
Fulham will be back!