Without a win a month and a defeat once again to a top six team we are creeping ever closer to the relegation zone. Next week’s visit to Millwall is going to be crucial. Our real problem is one of defensive organisation. Both goals conceded in the first half were soft and Mick McCarthy knew what to do to keep the noses of his team ahead. It may not have been in the tradition of the great sides of Bobby Robson that finished runners-up to an immense Liverpool team but it was effective. You cannot imagine his teams conceding two goals where the marking seemed non-existent.
The other difficulty is the inconsistency of youth: the two most consistent performers, keeper Bettinelli and Christensen, are simply not the players of 2 months ago. Ruiz introduced some class after coming on and hopefully he will be up for the battle next week at the New Den. Ross MacCormack pulled one back, he has now scored 12, and needs to be playing not out left but in the centre where he can cause maximum damage. Sadly Rodallega is no longer scoring for fun and cannot justify being central striker.
I was given the happy task of taking Jamie, Bob Tickler’s godson to his first game. He was a flag bearer on the pitch and it was all well organised. I told him beforehand that for years to come he will always recall Valentine Day 2015 as his first football game.
In many ways it defined what we all have had experienced over the years of following Fulham: we lost but the game experience, the friendliness of all, the sporting crowd that clapped an injured Ipswich player off the pitch, a post match drink with Garth Crooks all made for in his words a “brilliant day”.
His mother Carol seemed more engaged by the match, baffled by the failure to start Ruiz and to get going till McCormack got a goal back.