Fulham Reserves 2 Stoke Reserves 0

Last updated : 16 April 2010 By The Cottager

Fulham certainly made the brighter of the starts with Billy McKinlay's young side catching the eye with a spell of flowing football that would ultimately set the tone for what was to follow.

One such move fashioned an early chance for the returning Rob Milsom, with the captain's low strike from the edge of the box stinging the arms of veteran 'keeper Steve Simonsen.

A teasing cross from Keanu Marsh-Brown then saw Danny Hoesen turn the ball narrowly wide at the near post, with the Dutch striker unfortunate not to slide home Alex Smith's centre from the left.

There was also a return to action for left-back Paul Konchesky with his and Freddie Stoor's experience vital either side of the young central defensive pairing of Aaron Pierre and Cheick Toure - the latter of which was making his Development Squad debut.

Another making his first start for the Whites was midfielder Christopher Buchtmann, a January transfer window signing from Liverpool, and a player that impressed from the off driving forward with conviction and endeavour with display that bodes well for the future.

In fact it was from one such surge that opened Stoke's defence; however when the ball fell to a well-placed Hoesen the referee blew for offside. The German youth international then forced a smart stop from Simonsen on the half hour mark.

The visiting 'keeper got nowhere near the next effort however, with David Elm collecting the ball from Marsh-Brown's determined run and finding Hoesen on the left of the box, but his strike flashed inches over.

However, Fulham took a deserved lead on the stroke of half-time with Konchesky breaking from defence and finding Buchtmann on the edge of the Stoke box, with a clever touch to get away from Matt Cohen the youngster finished superbly into the right hand corner of the net.

Smith should have doubled Fulham's lead just before the half-time whistle blew but Fulham entered the break in control and in confident mood.

The second half started in equally positive fashion with Buchtmann breaking forward once more and slipping his pass into the path of Hoesen whose close range strike failed to find the target.

Elm cut in from the right and curled a left-footed strike at goal, but Simonsen got down well to push the ball wide for a corner. Milsom flashed over from the resulting corner.

With half an hour on the clock it was Fulham that looked most likely to add to the scoring although Pierre did well to out-jump Dave Kitson in the face of danger.

Buchtmann tried his luck from distance as did Konchesky, before Simonsen made a stunning stop to deny Smith's clever volley.

The impressive Marsh-Brown weaved some space with 15 minutes on the clock only to fire wide, while Hoesen flashed another chance past the post with just the goalkeeper to beat.

The visitors finished the game strongly with Louis Moult and Cameron Mitchell whipping in some challenging crosses but fortunately for Fulham Stoke failed to capitalise.

At the other end Hoesen did get his goal, with his cool finish on the turn all but sealing the win with five minutes remaining.

Milsom made way for Cristian Marquez-Sanchez thereafter, and the talented midfielder will have been pleased with his evening's work having missed the last year of football following a serious knee injury.

It had been almost three months since McKinlay's team had last been in action, and a welcome return this performance was with Fulham composed and positive throughout.

Fulham Reserves: Zuberbuhler; Stoor, Konchesky (Harris 70), Pierre, Toure; Marsh-Brown, Milsom (Marquez-Sanchez 85), Smith, Buchtmann; Elm (Trotta 77), Hoesen. (Subs not used): Etheridge, Payne.

Stoke Reserves : Simonsen; Hedley (Stockhall 87), McDonald, Cohen, Davies; Lund, Amdy Faye, Mitchell (Sinclair 87), Foster (Jackson 87); Kitson, Moult. (Sub not used): Parton.

Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/March/ReservesvStokeResult.aspx#ixzz0lHKEE3Ug