REPORT: Fulham U23s 2 Swans U23s 1
30th January 2017
A penalty inside the last ten minutes at Motspur Park consigned Swansea City Under-23s to their first defeat in Premier League 2 (Division 2) since September 2016.
Winger Jordan Garrick gave the Swans the lead midway through the first half before an equalising goal from Fulham midfielder Dennid Adeniran minutes before half time.
Both sides came close to taking the lead with some superb play in the second half, but the result was confirmed by a Fulham penalty in the 84th minute as Welsh midfielder George Williams fired home from 12-yards.
Gary Richards and Cameron Toshack made five changes to the side that narrowly lost against League One side Coventry City in the quarter-final if the Checkatrade Trophy last week.
Connor Roberts and Adam King returned from their respective loan spells at Bristol Rovers and Southend United to start at Motspur Park.
Slovenian goalkeeper Gregor Zabret came back into the starting XI alongside attackers Botti Biabi and Jordan Garrick. Biabi was aiming to add to his tally of nine goals for the U23s this season.
Meanwhile Fulham made three changes to the side that beat Middlesbrough 2-1 at Victoria Park earlier this month with defenders Marlon Fossey and Adetyo Edun coming into the starting XI, alongside midfielder Dennis Adeniran.
FULHAM U23s: Jesse Joronen, Marlon Fossey, Adetayo Edun, Joshua Smile, Aron Davies, Mortiz Jenz, Lucas de la Torre, Dennis Adeniran (Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson, 62), Joshua Walker, Mattias Kait, George Williams.
UNUSED SUBS: Taye Ashby-Hammond, Jerome Opoku, Mikolaj Kwietniewski.
SWANS U23s: Gregor Zabret, Tyler Reid, Connor Roberts, Ryan Blair, Keston Davies (Capt), Joe Rodon, Jordan Garrick, Adam King (Adnan Marić, 75), Botti Biabi, George Byers, Owain Jones (Aaron Lewis, 88).
UNUSED SUBS: Lewis Thomas, Tom Plezier, Liam Cullen.
Fulham attacked from the kick-off as they looked to make home advantage count to continue their unbeaten league run at Motspur Park.
Defender Marlon Fossey and midfielder Lucas de la Torre saw their crosses from the wing blocked by the Swans defence as George Byers tested Fulham keeper Jesse Joronen inside the opening ten minutes.
Fulham's attack mean't Swans' keeper Gregor Zabret was called into action to deny chances from Welsh youngster George Williams before Dennis Adeniran fired goalwards minutes later.
Despite those chances it was Swansea who took the lead just before the half hour mark as a cross from the left flank fell kindly for winger Jordan Garrick inside the area for the 18-year-old to rifle home his first U23s goal of the season.
A diving header from Adam King almost put the young Swans two goals up minutes later as midfielder Joshua Smile made a goalline clearance.
Swansea soaked-up the pressure well in the final third but Fulham equalised minutes before half time as midfielder Dennis Adeniran fired home a cross from German midfielder Mattias Kait.
HALF TIME: Fulham U23s 1 - 1 Swans U23s
Both sides raced out of the blocks for the second half, but Swansea were forced to soak-up early chances from Fulham as Kait was denied a chance on goal.
Swansea were spared going behind minutes later as a cross from Williams on the left found goalscorer Adeniran only for the midfielder to lean back at the crucial moment to sky the ball over the bar.
The Swans grew back into the game with a golden opportunity to take the lead on 55 minutes as George Byers' through ball unlocked Fulham's defence to play in Adam King only for the Scottish midfielder to fire wide from inside the box.
Three minutes later Swansea hit the post as King's pressure on Fulham's defence forced Edun's clearance to cannon off the midfielder and almost into the net.
But Fulham replied in attack as Edun made-up for his error minutes earlier with a powerful strike from the edge of the area that looked to be headed into the top corner before being denied acrobatically with an impressive one-handed save from Gregor Zabret.
Both sides continued to play out an entertaining second period until Fulham were awarded a penalty for a push on Kait in the box. George Williams stepped-up to fire Fulham into the lead from 12-yards.
Swansea rallied and almost levelled minutes later as Owain Jones' low drive from the left was denied on the line and deflected over the bar by Aaron Davies.
Despite constant pressure from the Swans in the closing stages, Fulham held on to take the win in front of their home fans at Motspur Park.
Photo's by Matthew Stone