After back-to back wins and a draw against Sheffield Wednesday, Fulham came unstuck in the second half at Brighton, which meant our trip to the seaside ended in defeat.
Despite our inconsistency this season, Fulham are 10th in the table and dreams of a top-six finish are far from over. Brighton was always going to be a tough fixture, but Fulham were dominant in the first half. In all honesty, if it hadn’t been for the heroics of former Whites stopper David Stockdale, we would have had more to show than Kevin McDonald’s opener when the sides went in at half-time. Sadly, lapses in concentration at the back in the second period allowed Sam Baldock and Glenn Murray to smash strikes past David Button, and Brighton took the spoils. Although the game finished with a disappointing result, I have to give a big thanks to the 2,500-plus away fans who were absolutely outstanding from start to finish.
The atmosphere they created was amazing, and if that could continue today then Craven Cottage will be rocking! Fulham will have their work cut out for them this afternoon, though, as they prepare to take on an in-form Reading side, now managed by former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam. I’m very impressed with the side Stam has created, and in winning their last five games, the Royals are right in the hunt for one of the automatic promotion spots. Garath McCleary is also in red-hot form, while midfielder Danny Williams will be a tough opponent. The American has made a name for himself over the last few seasons as a stand-out player in this division. With his tenacity and commanding presence in the heart of their midfield, Tom Cairney and Stefan Johansen may not be granted the time they’ve had in recent weeks when they have the ball. While I appreciate it’s been a rollercoaster ride for Fulham fans, we’re still a team in transition. I know it’s easy to think of bigger things after we win a couple of games, but it’s a long season. The more time this side spends playing together, the better we will be. We have some truly outstanding talent in this squad, and once we find our consistency, there’s no reason why we can’t compete for the top six. But if we fall short of it this season, then we’d have built a tremendous foundation to have a successful campaign next year. Today will be an almighty test against promotion candidates, but with your support, the lads could grab a result today.