So Fulham’s play-off jinx of no win in 7 games continues but all is not lost. Derby have to defend a one goal lead away from home and I doubt if they can go another 90 minutes without stopping us from scoring. The temptation for Gary Rowlett’s men will be to defend and niggle but the two-fold danger is of conceding an early goal and a yellow or red card preventing a final appearance.
I did not think Fulham played as badly as some critics and fans (at Fulham the two go together) thought. We dominated the possession with 74% and the second half laid siege to the Derby goal. Kevin MacDonald was desperately unlucky when his long range shot struck the bar and Tom Cairney hit two efforts well, one saved the other just going the wrong side of the post. Curtis Davies did a superb job of containing Alex Mitrovic. The two Ryans – Fredericks and Sessegnon – were not as effective as normal whilst Floyd Ayite flattered to deceive. The problem that any opposition have is that to constrain Fulham’s fluid passing game requires enormous physical efforts and after an hour spaces begin to appear. The second half siege will be a bombardment at the Cottage next Monday though we must be on our toes for any counterattack.
Derby exposed Fulham’s weakness to the deep lateral cross. We simply do not have enough tall defenders and Cameron Jerome easily out jumped Matt Targett for his far post header to score. Similarly the crucial goal scored by Brentford was conceded by Targett being out jumped. Yet I is still believe that Derby have not done enough to win the tie and before a frenzied Cottage we can do it. Remember the last big game that Fulham had to overhaul a two deficit … Juventus.