Slavisa used mostly the same lineup as he did versus Newcastle. The big change was Scott Parker taking over for Ryan Tunnicliffe. If there were any surprises it was that Jozabed was not in the 18, and Marcus Bettinelli was not healthy enough to make the squad.
Matt Smith caused all sorts of problems in the middle. He had a pretty good case for a penalty early on in the match, he got the first touch on what became Fulham’s first goal. He also won a header that by all rights was incorrectly called back. He also nearly curled one in after combining with Aluko in the 60th minute. He was able to finish a rebound of his own shot after a superb run by Tom Cairney. He contributed on defense and put in a great all round shift before being replaced by Cauley Woodrow.
The pace of this squad is really great to see. Ayite and Aluko are able to run with the ball and get behind the defense. Their pace also allows them to pressure quickly after turnovers.
When momentum in the match changed at the beginning of the second half, Fulham needed to do better at just keeping possession. Scott Parker and Kevin McDonald especially need to be better at just knocking the ball around and slowing the game down. They seemed to figure this out after about 10 minutes of the second half, but the first bit of the second half caused some unnecessary nervousness.
After the second goal, Fulham let off the gas again and let Preston back into the game with a quick counter attack goal. With a two goal lead, you shouldn’t really ever be countered.
With Cairney taking set pieces; Madl, Smith, and Kalas in the box; and Aluko around to poach, Fulham are probably going to score quite a few goals from them this year. Every corner they had was a legitimate scoring chance.
The Preston man of the match has to be their keeper. Anders Lindegaard seemed to make quite a few great saves. This game easily could have gotten out of hand in Fulham’s favor if it wasn’t for him.
Fulham tried to give the game away in the 87th minute with some static defending after clearing a corner, but their equalizer was ruled offside.
Once again Scott Malone had a pretty good game. He didn’t do a lot to stand out, but he didn’t really have any gaffes. If he’s our backup up left back, I’m happy.
Fulham have played three games in eight days. They haven’t lost any of them. They have four more games in the next 14 days. How long can they keep this run going?