Send your news, photos and videos by texting bucksfreepress to 80360 or email
Classy Fulham ease past Blues
FULHAM had to wait to seal things as they dominated this afternoon’s friendly with Wycombe Wanderers.
For long periods it looked as though the London side would go home with just a 1-0 win as they created and missed several hatfuls of chances.
It looked like Mladen Petric’s classy finish would be all they’d manage until a stunning free-kick from Bryan Ruiz and a Steve Sidwell tap-in made sure the final scoreline reflected the pattern of play.
On the positive side the Wanderers defence played with an assurance that was so sadly lacking at times last season - they won’t face international quality strikers every week in League Two so this match will stand them in good stead.
Fulham went in front as Moussa Dembele wriggled clear down the left before laying into Petric’s path, and his tidy curling shot gave Bull no chance.
The Croatian had come close on two previous occasions, doing superbly to rob Grant Basey before hammering wide and jabbing a second effort just past the far post after strike partner Bryan Ruiz had held the ball up for him.
It was no less than Fulham deserved as their slick passing oozed Premier League quality and the Wanderers defence had their work cut out trying to deal with it.
To their credit the trio of chances that Petric had were all Fulham managed in the opening quarter of the game, but strikers Richard Logan and Stuart Beavon had to drop deeper and deeper to get the ball.
When Blues did attack they left themselves open to a counter attack and Basey had to put in a great tackle to stop Petric from adding to his total as the Cottagers broke rapidly following a spell of Wycombe pressure.
The home supporters had to wait a full 35 minutes before seeing their team create a chance. Beavon intercepted a wayward Dembele pass and freed the tenacious Sam Wood, and he and Logan combined to create the space for Stuart Lewis but the midfielder’s shot was always rising well above Mark Schwarzer’s crossbar.
Fulham were well on top though and could have extended their lead as Mesca stole in ahead of Basey and clipped his shot just over and Bull dived to smother a low, skidding free-kick from dangerman Petric.
He carried on where he left off after the break as he worked his way to the byline before pulling it back for Mesca, but the Guinea midfielder made a total hash of the finish and ended up returning the ball to Petric, who had stepped off the pitch after delivering his cross.
Alex Kacaniklic fired straight at Bull after breaking free before Matt Spring hammered the ball out of the ground from 25 yards.
Petric was withdrawn on the hour mark, along with Kacaniklic, just after Mesca had forced Bull into making a good save with his feet after breaking clear of an overworked Wanderers defence.
But despite his withdrawal Fulham were continuing to create chances and John Arne Riise shot narrowly wide from an acute angle when pulling it back to substitute Kerim Frei might have been a better option.
Next to have a go was Ruiz as he intercepted Gary Doherty’s pass before placing a delicate lob over Bull’s head. It looked destined for the back of the net until a cat-like save from the Blues keeper turned the ball over.
Wycombe’s keeper was soon back in action as he beat away a stinging drive from former Real Madrid midfielder Mahamadou Diarra, before the biggest round of applause from the home fans welcomed the introduction from the bench of last season’s loan star Marcello Trotta.
He won a free-kick 20 yards out that Ruiz superbly curled around the wall and into the top corner as Fulham finally managed to double their advantage.
A minute later they had a third as Steve Sidwell tapped home from a matter of feet as Blues failed to cut out Sascha Riether’s cross from the right, but in between the two goals Dennis Oli had got past the visiting defence before slicing it straight at Schwarzer.
Wanderers: Bull, McCoy, Basey (sub Dunne), Doherty, Stewart (sub Johnson), Oli, Lewis, Spring (sub Bloomfield), Wood (sub Angol), Beavon (sub Grant), Logan (sub McClure). Substitutes not used: Ingram.