FA Cup Round 3 – Leicester City 2 FFC 2
This time last year we faced Leyton Orient with a huge injury list and I had a foreboding that we would lose. I though about putting money on Orient (at 9/1) to try and pre-empt this disaster but in the end didn’t make it to the bookies. I felt sick when I saw the final score line of Fulham 1 Orient 2. So here we are in January again, with another huge (possibly worse) injury list facing a team very capable of knocking us out. I headed straight to Ladbrokes to put a fiver on a Leicester win at stingy odds of 2/1 and thereby ensured Fulham lived to fight another day.
Game 22 - West Ham United 3 FFC 3
Boa’s been sold to the Hammer’s and I’m not sorry that he’s gone. The last straw for me was his lack of effort when forced to play left back against Reading. Boa’s still a great player but I felt over the last season and a half he seemed to have lost his drive, and often looked like he didn’t want to play for us anymore. I hold no grudge though and am happy to look at the good times he gave us, and there were many. I am however, amazed that the club finalised the deal prior to our match and thereby let him play against us! In the end it probably didn’t matter but it looked like a cock up waiting to happen. This game was another in the continuing series of "end-to-end games with Fulham snatching last minute equaliser’s". I’m not sure it’s good for my health but so far I like it. Today’s hero was an unlikely Philippe Christanval on 90 + 3. Love it!
FA Cup Round 3 Replay - FFC 4 Leicester City 3
OK so a temporary halt to my self-imposed ban. Hey tickets are only £17 and we’ve already lasted longer than the last two years. A midweek game gave me the opportunity to hit the pub prior to kick-off, and in particular give the Bricklayers Arms a try. A great little pub, though one that, in future I will probably have to allow more than 10 minutes to get to the ground from. A brisk walk though Bishop’s Park (greatest walk to a ground in the country surely?) and as we approached the Hammy End the unmistakable muted cheer of the opposition scoring. Arse! 0-1 and we’re not even in the ground yet. Thankfully the beer helped temper my nerves and we sat back to enjoy a classic cup tie. Big Brian struck to pull us level just past the half hour mark, before another spot of calamitous defending allowed Leicester to sneak a header in at the far post and take a 2-1 lead at half time. Montella made his home debut as the teams restarted, and the anticipation was palpable. Couldn’t wait to see how good he really was, but not before we are stunned again as Leicester fire in a hopeful shot from midfield that flies into the top corner to give them a 3-1 lead. The beer’s still working though and I’m not worried. 51 minutes and Michael Brown fires a low cross in front of the goal that Montella clinically dispatches, 60 minutes and a deflected corner again finds Montella at the far post to rise and head home for 3-3. Game on! MONTELLA – WHOOOH-OH-OH-OH! We love him already, a genuine fox in the box, with real quality. Leicester do get back into the game though and there are a few nervy moments. With time running down, I’m holding on for Extra-time and the chance to go for a quick wee, when Wayne Routledge (who has also had a great game) jinks his way into the Leicester half. Seemingly completely trapped by three defenders, he seems to have blown it before drawing a foul as one of them needlessly pulls him back. However as the lino furiously flags the ref (Alan Wiley who also did very well tonight) plays advantage, Routledge somehow slips between all three players, picks up the ball the other side, maintains his composure and slots away the winning goal. OH YES!!! (Oh my bladder!) A great night and a great result.
Game 23 - FFC 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1
Another patched together team with Routledge unable to play against his main employers. Boca has to move into midfield with Pearce returning to the defence. A Montella penalty on 84 minutes looks like giving us three well needed points, before a dubious equaliser sees us draw our sixth Premiership game in a row, and potentially leaves Chris Coleman with an FA charge to face. Still we are now unbeaten for nine games, and that can only be a good thing. We do need to pick up points in the league, but I think its better that we make ourselves hard to beat.
FA Cup Round 4 - FFC 3 Stoke 0
With Simon Davies and Alexey Smertin signed this week we finally look like a team with a squad again, and did a professional job on a Stoke side who could very easily have upset us. Great to see McBride start up front with Montella, they are my dream pairing, and both scored in the first half to set us on the way. I can’t believe we could possibly afford the transfer fee or wages of Montella full time so i guess we just need to enjoy him while we can. Radz, who is fast becoming one of our more consistent performers, notched a third before the hour and the job was done. Roll on Monday and the 5th round draw.
Game 24 - SheffieldUtd 2 FFC 0
Midweek game, up North, on a cold night, in January, playing a rough tough tackling side?
We were never gonna win .................. we didn't.
Game 25 - FFC 2 Newcastle 1
This is the first game I miss due to my "self-imposed ban". Bit of a cheat really as I was off for a boozy weekend in the Isle of Wight, but hey, anything for the good of the team. Appalling mobile reception on the Island mean my supposed "frequent text updates" don't come through as often as I would like from my friends at the match, but eventually the news reaches me that Helguson and McBride have scored to make it 2-0 and I am dancing in the streets of Ryde! The late consolation means nothing, and I am even more excited to read the following morning about the "surging run and pass" from Diop to set up our second goal. Crikey it's like we've gone from first eleven men in boots get a place in the team to a mighty squad of experienced internationals. Three well needed points and I'm smiling again.