Fulham took a huge three points away at Barnsley this weekend, making it four straight league wins in a rown for the Whites. Daniel Powell picked his five crucial moments from Saturday’s game.
After a long and tiring week, what do I do at 5am on Saturday morning? Get up and ready for Barnsley away, obviously.
The Whites left it late to grab a 3-1 victory at Oakwell, with a Kevin McDonald winner sandwiched between two more from the continuously excellent Ryan Sessegnon, after Liam Lindsay had put the Tykes ahead after 30 minutes. Here are five things worth thinking about on the back of a brilliant win.
You get what you deserve…
We seem to have a talent this year in scoring late goals to give instant footballing karma to teams who are quite happy to take a point or hold onto a slim victory against us. We did it against Preston and Bolton at home earlier and the year, and this continued yesterday afternoon.
At every opportunity, particularly in the second half, Barnsley seemed to take forever to take throw-ins, free kicks, corners and goal kicks. Adam Davies, the Reds goalkeeper was by far the worst offender, moving the ball either side of his six-yard area for no reason other than to waste time; followed by a ludicrous swan dive on top of the ball after catching it under no pressure whatsoever.
There was a real sense of satisfaction seeing him boot the ball out of his goal in frustration after our shambolic second goal. The irony is, he probably contributed to two or three of the five added minutes with his shenanigans.
Barnsley were actually quite impressive in the first half, and deserved to go in leading at half time. However, we have shown quite a few times this season, that if you try and slow the game down and run down the clock, we’ll probably punish you in the end.
It’s a wonderful feeling seeing a player from your academy playing week in week out for the first team, at just 17 years of age. Not only that, but contributing with goals and assists regularly, and punching his badge in celebration in front of the Fulham support every time.
Ryan Sessegnon is an absolute joy to watch, and we should be thankful that we have got such a talent that has come up through our youth system. I obviously really hope he stays with us for a long time, and at this moment in his career I believe that is the best option for him. He’s getting regular first team football which is going to be a massive boost for his already burgeoning career.
Another brace yesterday, and yet another showing of why he is so highly rated. None of his goals are worldies, but the intelligence he has to be in the right positions at the right times should strike fear into the opposition, particularly at this age. I dread to think how good he will be in 5 or 6 years time.
It was really good to see Matt Targett make his Fulham debut at left back in the second half. I thought the Southampton loanee was assured and pretty solid. He seems to be a bit more defensively minded, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as Ryan Sessegnon is then given the freedom to attack himself, and we’ve seen what he can do going forward.
I think Targett could maybe have shown a bit more belief in himself and run a bit further with the ball before putting in crosses (he loves an early cross), but that will come with time – and for an overall debut, I thought he was decent.
Moment of Madness…
If anyone can explain to me why Dimitri Cavare deemed it necessary to barge Stefan Johansen in the back of the head, on a yellow card, then go ahead. Admittedly the tackle from Johansen beforehand was a bit wild, but it definitely didn’t warrant that kind of reaction, and the red card was deservedly shown.
Fulham were thus given an extra man for 45 minutes, and Cavare’s Barnsley team lost a game they were reasonably comfortable in. Insane.
It was great to see a minutes silence before the game for former Barnsley chairman Patrick Cryne, who sadly passed away recently aged 66 after a battle with cancer, impeccably observed by both sets of fans, followed by Tykes and Cottagers fans joining in a 66th minute show of respect by shining lights and torches in the sky. Cryne received a fitting send-off, and will be sorely missed.
Overall, it was yet another superb away day following the Whites, and we seem to be in a really good run of form, with confidence flowing and the players believing in themselves again.
Slavisa Jokanovic made a couple of questionable decisions earlier in the season but is making up for them with this impressive run we are in. Play Offs should be the minimum achievement from this season, and don’t rule out 2nd place just yet.