Football: Ince kills off Fulham's resistance

Liverpool 3 Fulham 1

IT WAS not destined to be a triumphant return to Anfield for Kevin Keegan and Peter Beardsley, but Fulham were by no means disgraced in going out of the Worthington Cup to the club for whom they both played with such distinction.

It took an unlucky own goal and a penalty to begin the process of turning an unconvincing Liverpool performance into a winning one. In-between, Fulham claimed the goal of the match from its most enterprising player, Paul Peschisolido, and that was the least they deserved for a thoroughly creditable effort.

Keegan, confined to a more static role than usual by his recent neck operation, had nothing to be ashamed of in the display of his current side. Beardsley, almost as big a favourite with the Kop, was hailed as a hero whenever he began warming up. He was brought off the bench for the last few minutes, but by then his side was out of contention.

For a long time, however, Fulham's assumptions that Liverpool had turned the corner by putting five past Nottingham Forest at the weekend looked distinctly premature. Their five across the back proved harder to break down than Forest had been and, particularly in Peschisolido, they had the pace and tenacity to unsettle the Liverpool defence.

It took Simon Morgan's misfortune to set the home side on their way. David Thompson, one of Liverpool's occasionals given a Worthington Cup outing, had a lively game, but his shot from outside the area eight minutes into the second half hardly looked likely to find a way through. But it looped wickedly off Morgan's outstretched boot to leave Maik Taylor completely stranded - the stroke of luck Liverpool needed to lift the growing pressure.

Peschisolido's response was one of the best goals Anfield will see this season. The Canadian appeared to be going nowhere when he sized up his chances from beyond the angle of the penalty area, but he unleashed a magnificent dipping left-footer that found Brad Friedel's top corner.

The score stayed level for just three minutes. Michael Owen took on the Fulham defence before he was tripped by Gus Uhlenbeek, who had earlier cleared a Paul Ince header off the Fulham line. Robbie Fowler, who scored all five when these sides last met in this competition, tucked away the penalty.

Fulham still looked capable of getting back on terms until Ince, a driving force and a threat in the air all night, put it beyond doubt by meeting Steve Staunton's free-kick and giving Taylor equally little chance.

Liverpool's joint manager, Gerard Houllier, was realistic enough to acknowledge that it had not been "a comfortable performance".

"We have to give credit to Kevin's team," he said. "They were very well organised and difficult to beat. We knew we had to keep the pace and tempo in the game; in the long run they would leave some space and make a mistake."

Liverpool (4-4-2): Friedel; McAteer, Carragher, Staunton, Bjornebye; Thompson, Ince, Murphy (Harkness, 73), Berger; Fowler, Owen (Dundee, 83). Substitutes not used: James (gk), Kvarme, Riedle.

Fulham (5-3-2): Taylor; Uhlenbeek, Coleman, Morgan, Symons, Brevett; Davis (Smith, 89), Collins, Haywood; Lehmann (Betsy, 83), Peschisolido (Beardsley, 83). Substitutes not used: Neilson, Arendse (gk).

Referee: P Jones (Loughborough).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?