We came into this game on the back of 4 consecutive wins, with good confidence. It was the perfect chance to make it 5 in a row, which would have only improved the already positive atmosphere around the club.
We had won our last 4. Most people were quite positive, but there were a few doubts leading into this game. We hadn’t lost since the battering from Hull, and, of course, we all wanted to get this win to help push for the automatic promotion spots. There was only one change in the starting XI, with Knockaert coming in for AK47 on the right-wing, which was quite a controversial decision. Onomah kept his place in the team, leaving most fans unhappy, Harry Arter, Harrison Reed and Bobby Decordova-Reid still weren’t in the 18 man squad, presumably because they are still injured, and it really showed we missed some of them. Onomah hardly moved in the midfield and although Knockaert made some decent runs, he didn’t have the end product. For all the fans sake, hopefully, Parker can see what changes he needs to make in our next few games.
The game kicked off with a pretty packed Cottage, and, judging from the way we started, some nervous players. There were a couple of wayward passes in the first few minutes leading to attacks for Bristol, possibly foreshadowing the scoreline later on. Our first chance came when the City fans and our fans joined in a 1-minute applause, during the 2nd minute, for Benik Afobe’s daughter who very sadly passed away recently (R.I.P Amora). However, the chance wasn’t taken well enough by Knockaert and Bristol reclaimed possession at a goal kick. The game seemed to be going Bristol’s way, with them having the majority of the chances, and they managed to do something that we don’t seem to be able to do, and took their chance, in the 26th minute when Niclas Eliasson played in a cross to the back post as he found the head of Josh Brownhill. Odoi had cleared the earlier ball, Mawson and Ream seemed to be marking their man. However, Bryan was at fault with not following his man and giving him a ridiculous amount of space to header past Rodak. The first, of many, yellow cards came in the 40th minute after Odoi fouled Andreas Weimann on the left flank. Throughout the half, there were some poor refereeing decisions, and it only got worse. Boos echoed around the Cottage as the half time whistle was blown, mainly aimed at the referee.
The second half began with Bristol leading, but the whites were nowhere near out of this game. There were plenty of chances for Fulham to push forward but we seemed to be playing around the back as if we were the winning team. The attacks started to pick up slowly, but to slow. After multiple chants for Kamara to come on, Scott eventually gave him his chance in the 68th minute, and he started to make a few good runs and brought a big amount of energy into the match. However Bristol had another break forward and Bryan seemed to let the ball run past him, the ball was played into the box and the rest of our defence was all over the place and Diédhiou placed the ball into an empty net. More and more attacks took place for Fulham as we finally got a goal through some class Kebano play and Kamara finishing off the goal from a rebound. All of us felt Fulham were back in it and could push for an equalizer. In the 93rd minute, Kebano drove into the box, as Fulham summer target Callum O’Dowda ran into the back of him sending him sliding in the box. The stadium erupted, fans assumed we had a penalty, SURELY! But the ref had other ideas, and stood there, staring into space. The whole team surrounded him and he had completely lost control. “You’re not fit to referee” were the chants being aimed at Jeremy Simpson who then started dishing out yellow cards for the fun of it as Fulham got 4 yellow cards in the space of about 5 minutes. The ref had completely lost control of the players, Bristol City’s goalscorer, Diédhiou, decided to have a little sit-down. Mawson and Kamara decided to take matters into their own hands, and literally carried him off the pitch. The match ended with a somewhat unfair result, a striker laughing at our fans for chanting “cheat” at him, and some very tragic referee decisions still on our mind.
Although it may have been frustrating watching the referee throughout the game, it also wasn’t the most convincing performance. Hopefully Parker can see that Onomah didn’t add anything to the squad, without Kamara we lacked attacks, and Kebano is actually a great super sub. We now have two away games up next, away to Preston and away to Brentford. Although we sit in 3rd and we could say that we were unlucky, a few things do need to change.