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).

Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable