If there was ever a great opportunity to keep Leeds and West Bromwich Albion from running away from the pack at the top of the Championship, then this Fulham tie away to Preston who have not managed a single goal in four games should have been it.
Instead, with no Cairney to lead this frustrating team, Fulham looked like a team of amateurs who had never played together.
It was no surprise that Preston ended their recent goal famine. If they had to choose a team to play after such a run, then Fulham must have been their dream opponents. A reckless challenge from Odoi, for no reason known to man why he made it in the opponents’ goal area, Fulham were down to ten.
A goal down and nothing to show going forward at all, Fulham made Preston look good. This was not the case. The home team were showing why their recent form was so poor, but must have been amazed at how a side in third place could be so easily pushed aside and bereft of any attacking ideas or defensive qualities.
Even after the infamous Keith Stroud levelled the teams with a straight red for Preston’s Rafferty, it made no difference to the way the match was heading.
It wasn’t long into the second half before Preston scored their second, putting the game to bed. There was no way Fulham would find their back into the match. Even a deflected goal for top striker Mitrovic after 81 minutes could do nothing to help the Cottagers scrape a point. It would not have
been deserved on this abysmal showing.
Scott Parker has shown with his refusal to change Fulham’s possession style of play when necessary, this team cannot make a serious challenge for automatic promotion. The very best they can hope for once again, is a play-off place. If they fail to adapt their style, however, then mid-table a finish is where they will end up.