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Albion 2-2 Fulham (4-5 on pens)

August 28, 2013

Not a lot should surprise you when you support the Brewers, especially when you’ve seen them lose 4-7 and 5-6 at home.

I’m still trying to gather my thoughts.

I’m absolutely fucking gutted (apologies for the f-word but I really need to empathise the point!), but so so proud yet again of the Albion.

What a performance.

On seeing the line-ups I thought we had actually done more ‘resting’ than Fulham. Dyer and Edwards back in the team, whilst the Cottagers (haha!) fielded Stockdale, Hangeland, Riise, Karagounis (an absolute footballing idol of mine!), Taarabt, Ruiz, Scott Parker, Bent…

We had our work cut out.

The game started as we expected, plenty of Fulham pressure, plenty of Albion containing and very disciplined defending.

I don’t know about you lot but I love a bit of disciplined defending like we showed tonight, high concentration level’s and plenty of determination as we stood our ground and made Fulham work hard for their openings.

The way Fulham broke quickly, they just had that speed, you could tell they were a class above.

But we stood firm.

A few mis-placed Fulham passes here and there and you began to realise they were human after all, but we were unable to capitalise on much as the away side enjoyed most of the first half possession.

Then Taarabt showed a glimmer of class on the Fulham left, a quick step-over gave himself extra space and he shot low into the far corner, 1-0 Fulham, it had been coming.

We hung on until half-time.

Second half, and a bit more of the same. We’re playing the same disciplined containing game, a bit cagey, eager not to allow Fulham space to grab what would probably be a killer second goal.

The noise levels dropped, the minutes ran down; Stockdale in the Fulham goal to Hangeland, Hangeland passes it back calmly to Stockdale… hardly any Brewers pressure, they could do this all night…

70 minutes have gone, and we’ve defended admirably.

The thing is, with just 20 minutes left, we’ve hardly had much of ‘a go’, the game petering out and feeling like a pre-season friendly.

Then we finally have ‘a go’. The ball flies low into the box finding Dyer at the back post who fizzes his shot just wide on the half-volley…

Symes replaces Howe up-front, the final sub joining Phillips and Reed in the action.

The atmosphere’s changed, you sense the last 10 minutes won’t be as comfortable for Fulham as the first 80…

Jack Dyer confirms them suspicions by slamming home a right footed shot into the bottom corner, out of nowhere we are back in this!

I’m just urging us to hold on now, get to extra-time…

Symes, Hussey and co. have other ideas, breaking forward quickly every time we get the ball, the game and atmosphere unrecognisable to the one I was at in the 70-minute mark. Fulham are no longer comfortable, the Albion are no longer holding back.

A great ball is whipped in by Hussey, I think, it’s going straight to Symesy, it hits him and bounces up high… then suddenly it spins back down, and drops into the net… we all start celebrating, celebrating a celebration we will compare all other late celebrations too, but the ref has other ideas , handball from Symes and a free-kick to Fulham… let’s be honest you couldn’t argue with that decision no matter how biased a Brewer you are.

I apologise to my heart and blood pressure that it’ll have to endure extra-time, it still hasn’t forgiven me for the celebrations to Matt Patterson’s winner versus Plymouth.

Extra-time, a full-on Fulham bombardment. But young Dean Lyness is having the best game of his Albion career to date, the post and someone’s knee also helping us out in one goalmouth scramble I think, it all happened so fast… But whatever, it’s still 1-1, we are still in this.

10th minute of extra-time. I’ve never clock-watched so much in my life.

Chris Hussey has the ball again on the left, it’s a good cross, Symesy at the back post leaps…. And it’s in!!!!!!!!!! Yesssssss… Bodies fly around everywhere in celebration… Get in Brewers!… So that’s what a late goal against Premier League opposition feels like?

Wow. I try and get my breath back.

Half-time in extra-time.

The Albion players head over to the bench for a quick drink, the Fulham lads do the wise thing and stay far away from Martin Jol who is probably saying  a lot of swear words, in Dutch.

15 minutes away from our first ever win against top-flight opposition.

The second-half starts and with it yet more clock-watching.

I can’t stand still with nervous tension, why do we love football again??

I’m asking myself the question again in the 118th minute… a goal-mouth scramble takes place before Hugo Rodallega slams the ball home from the edge of the box, and someone from Honduras has never pissed me off so much.

I kind of felt like it would happen though, like us defending resolutely and holding on for the win would be too good to be true, like the drama wasn’t done for the night just yet.

Reed breaks from the centre but doesn’t connect properly for the shot, and we don’t make the most of the corner.

More nerves. It’s a good job the Pirelli isn’t an all-seater, there’s no way I could’ve sat through all this.

Full-time in extra-time.

The first ever competitive penalty shoot-out at the Pirelli Stadium, and we pray it’s in front of the Bovril Terrace.

The ref has other ideas (they could’ve tossed a coin to decide what end, I’m guessing that’s what they do?) and off upto the Fulham end Michael Symes heads with the ball, before popping back to the bench to get his shin-pads. Safety first.

Symes slots in calmly, 1-0 Brewers.

Darren Bent smashes in emphatically, 1-1.

Reed goes the same way as Symes, 2-1.

I hate penalties.

Ruiz, Costa Rica’s finest, take’s possibly the League Cup (or world’s) flukiest peno, his low shot hitting the post then going in off Dean Lyness’ arse. 2-2.

Since the 118th minute, people from North America have really pissed me off.

Can Jack Dyer be a hero again… No, I think Stockdale saved but Brede Hangeland’s head was in the way.

Reither makes it 2-3 Fulham.

Damien McCrory slams in a great peno, 3-3.

Rodallega, my least favourite North-American makes it 3-4.

Hope fades…

Hussey for Albion, 4-4…

John Arne Riise steps up. The same John Arne Riise who broke Alan Smith’s leg with a firmly hit free-kick.

Please don’t injure Dean Lyness, John…

He doesn’t, as he slams the ball home, 4-5 to Fulham, and we’re out of the Capital One Cup.

But not without 1 hell of a fight.

What a night.

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From → The Albion.

6 Comments
  1. So so close. Enough reasons to be proud of your lads, Fulham fielded a strong side by the look of it. But seriously though – the Bovril end?

  2. I’m a Fulham fan, but enjoyed reading this- a commendable lack of bitterness given the circumstances!

  3. we, fulham, were very lucky to get away with that, especially as losing to lower league opposition in cups is one of our long standing traditions.

    albion played the game well and in the spirit and, i have to admit, had i been neutral, i would have been cheering your lads on. you almost made us look like mugs.

    i just hope that big mart was kicking bottom and taking names at training today.

    well done, my hair’s even greyer after that. and best of luck for the season. if you play like that every game, then it’s promotion time and i’ll cheer you on.

  4. steve. permalink

    fulham since 1967, tried to make the game but my son got stuck in an accident and we bailed out. was actually embarassed to win, found myself almost wanting burton to win to shame our lot, even tho there were good efforts from some of our so called stars, anyway, well played albion, i watched on the internet, u were good, so best wishes for the future. steve the fulham fan, chorley, lancs.

  5. b+w geezer permalink

    I was in the away end, frustrated by our failure to make more danger out of so much possession, but admiring your side’s resolute defence. And then eventually concerned when you showed some attacking vim.

    Having followed my team in all divisions, I can remember what it must have felt like from your point of view putting up such a good show against some famous names. You have a decent team to go with your neat stadium (really like the main stand’s design, distinctly Italian), and I won’t be the only Fulham fan keeping an eye out for your results.

  6. Thankyou everyone, have had problems logging onto WordPress since I posted this so have only just been able to approve the comments you left!

    1 thing that a few of us Albion fans spoke about yesterday was how gracious Fulham were in victory. Martin Jol respected us by playing a strong team, then complimented us well after the game without being patronising. All of the comments I’ve seen from Fulham fans on here and on Twitter have again been complimentary without being patronising and it’s been nice to read.

    All the best for the season – Bradford knocked us out of last years League Cup and went onto Wembley, hope you do the same.

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