Burton Albion (H): Foundations for a Fortress

Sam Crosby-Browne 22nd January 2018

Sam Crosby-Browne gives his thoughts on Saturday’s demolition of Burton Albion at Craven Cottage, and takes a look at how it might be Fulham’s home form rather than their victories on the road this season, which propel the boys towards a Play-Off adventure for the second year running.

Feeling the sand underneath your feet during a morning walk on the beach, being swamped by a litter of newborn puppies or finishing a meal that began with starvation and ended in utter satisfaction – there are a finite amount of experiences in life that are just as good as watching Fulham take a team to the sword at the Cottage.

The Burton result this weekend was nothing short of a public execution of a side that came to South West London tactically set up to sit back and nick a result – instead, they were played off the park by a Fulham side who are gleaming with the kind of confidence that mirrors our fantastic, late charge to 6th place last season.

Throughout the Championship so far this season, I don’t think there has been another match which has made this big a statement around the league. This is the kind of scoreline that showed up on the Richter Scale at Full Time – and it’s been coming.

It was fantastic to see Rui Fonte grab a brace and absolutely smash the glass ceiling that has contained his confidence since the start of the season. Let’s hope that both he and AK47 can take their respective newfound confidence forward, particularly the next three fixtures where coming away with maximum points is a very real scenario.

Furthermore, Lucas Piazon is starting to reprise the kind of form he was showing before his injury and that can only mean good things and more options for Slav to consider in drafting up his Starting XI each week.

I’d hate to just give these guys a mention as the team performance overall against Burton was clearly outstanding but we can’t hide from the fact that we haven’t lost a single game when Lucas Piazon has been fit this season. If this doesn’t prove his significance to the squad then I don’t know what will.

Officially, that’s three wins on the bounce in the league, stretches our unbeaten run to 6 games and five victories without failure at the Cottage – in fact, we haven’t lost at home since the Bristol City game on Halloween. Clearly our Home form is improving and the boys are starting to enjoy time by the Thames but how we’d all love to see the Cottage become the fortress it once was…

Currently, we’ve taken 24 points from a possible 42 at home (6 Wins, 6 Draws and only the 2 Losses) and, although that doesn’t seem like a great accumulation from the amount available, the results prove that we’re progressing and making ourselves a tougher side to beat at the Cottage than in previous seasons. However, we do have a few moats and drawbridges to install before we’re looking anywhere near the side we were at Home during the 11/12 season (10 Wins, 5 Draws, 4 Losses).

The return of Craven Cottage as a fortress for Fulham will, undoubtedly, be tested and measured as we venture deeper into the season but be confident that Slav and his men have the mentality and the confidence to start laying the foundations.

Bring it on, Forest.

Sam Crosby-Browne

Fulhamish contributor based in Leicestershire. London Met Film School graduate, record collector and founder of 'The 20 Day Record Challenge' on Instagram.