Ed Note: This arrives later than usual. Fell asleep due to a hard day at work. Sorry!
Wow. Like wow. Like wow! After a seven-goal madness at Craven Cottage, Fulham ended up on top against Middlesbrough, with McCormack finishing off a hattrick in injury time for a 4-3 win.
Boro opened the chances five minutes in when Patrick Bamford won a free kick from Michael Turner. The ball made its way to Grant Leadbitter, who flicked and launched a volley towards goal, but the ball was tipped by Marcus Bettinelli. This was met with an attempt from Ross McCormack, however his shot from distance easily missed the target. A low effort from Jelle Vossen as the game ticked toward the 15 minute mark.
The game got really, really close to a goal six minutes later, when Danny Guthrie won possession from 30 yards out, before slipping in Rodallega. The Colombian made a nice shot on goal which Konstantopoulos just managed to push away from the post. The next opportunity came from Boro in the 26th minute, George Friend's shot from outside the box missing the far post by just a yard. Albert Adomah was given the first yellow card of the game shortly after for his challenge on Sean Kavanagh as he made a clearance. McCormack was given a chance in the 40th minute, when he won a free kick 30 yards from goal, but the Scotsman couldn't curve the ball far enough as it shot round the wall and went off target. Kavanagh was given a yellow shortly after for pulling back on Ryan Fredericks.
And then it was one. In the minute of added time, Bryan Ruiz played a corner with Guthrie, crossing dangerously to Shaun Hutchinson, who nodded towards Turner, who then nodded past Konstantopoulos for the goal. Boro came back ready to avenge the goal, with Lee Tomlin making a strong run that Jazz Richards had to make a crucial block to stop. It was almost 2-0 when a volley from Bettinelli met McCormack, who ran down the right flank and crossed over to Rodallega, his header somehow being clawed away by the Boro keeper. Tomlin had another chance in the 53rd minute, shooting just wide.
Then it was two. McCormack was given a penalty when he was pushed over in the box by Daniel Ayala, before slotting the ball into the bottom right corner to score his second goal of the day. Ben Gibson was given a yellow before 60 minutes for a lunge on Rodallega. Boro head coach Aitor Karanka then made a triple substitution to try and swing the game in the visitors' favour. Adam Clayton, Jelle Vossen and Fredericks came off for Adam Reach, Kike and Adam Forshaw. Reach made it 2-1 almost instantly when a ball fell kindly to him, and his volley found its way past Bettinelli and into the net.
And then instantly after we had another chance to score. Rodallega was bought down in the box by Friend, who was sent off for his troubles. McCormack then took the penalty, tapping it into the opposite corner to make it 3-1. 3-1! The Scotsman then went to celebrate with Hugo, who was being treated as the kick was taken, to chants of "Hugo, Hugo, Hugo" by the fans. Aw.
Tomlin met a corner in the 70th minute but his header was cleared off the line. Rodallega was fouled. The resulting free kick from McCormack met the Colombian, but the flight of the ball was misjudged and his header sailed very far over the bar. Boro fought back to make it 3-2 when Adomah's cross met the head of Ayala, who nodded into the net. Kit Symons then substituted Guthrie for Seko Fofana. In the 78th minute Rodallega moved around the box before launching a low shot that Konstantopoulos had to drop down to save. A great cross from Reach made its way to Bamford, but unfortunately his shot just sliced wide across goal.
Cauley Woodrow came on to replace Bryan Ruiz afterwards. With seven minutes remaining, a corner from Boro resulted in the ball dropping at the feet of Ayala, the defender almost bending the shot into the corner, before it missed by just a few inches. A counter-attack from Fofana and Woodrow ended up with Rodallega playing in McCormack, but the shot that was supposed to be curled ended up launching straight over the bar. A clearance by Tim Hoogland almost ended up making it 3-3 when the ball bounced off Ayala and headed for goal before Bettinelli slapped it away for a corner. Rodallega recieved a standing ovation when he was replaced by Matt Smith.
In interesting fashion, Boro tied it up when a ball from Tomlin was flicked on by Kike. (I swear this is his name. I SWEAR.) Shortly after this, Forshaw almost made it four but his low drilled shot was saved by Bettinelli. Konstantopoulos decided to go up for a corner in stoppage time, before it backfired as Michael Turner cleared the ball to McCormack, who then beat his man in the centre-circle before racing toward goal. The goalie had made his way back by this time but the Scot made his way round before slotting the ball into the net, finishing his second hattrick of the season, and giving us a well-earned three points.
This might be the longest match report I've done. Anyway! We face Norwich City next Saturday at Carrow Road in our final game of the season. COYW!