Ipswich Town vs Fulham match report: Fulham face a hard climb back to top on this showing

Ipswich Town 2 Fulham 1: After 13 years in the top flight an inexperienced side find themselves outplayed by Ipswich

Portman Road

Fulham’s first match outside the Premier League in 13 years, while it should not be regarded as definitive evidence, suggested the road back will be long and arduous. An unrecognisable young team containing eight new players were outplayed by Ipswich, who had looked almost equally lightweight in attack until the talented David McGoldrick appeared as a substitute.

Being a German coach may carry a greater cachet after this summer’s World Cup but Felix Magath must know all too well what a job he has on in west London. He will have to demand patience from the traditionally easy-going Fulham crowd. It took his side almost 80 minutes to win a corner, by which time their record signing Ross McCormack had long been substituted, having achieved nothing. A late goal by Tim Hoogland, deflected in by a defender, should not give anyone the impression that the club are on their way back. Only five clubs relegated from the Premier League in the past six years have gone straight back up. Fulham are also thinking slightly longer-term, with Felix Magath believing the future lies with the Academy and some of the players who reached last season’s FA Youth Cup final. “Spend less, work harder” is part of his Teutonic recipe for success and he claims they will prove to be the fittest team in the division.

Magath had made his dissatisfaction with Fulham’s efforts last season plain before the end of the campaign and elected to have a mass clear-out that involved almost two dozen players being released – among them Damien Duff, Kieran Richardson and Georgios Karagounis, who will not be the last – while nine were signed and a number promoted from the youth ranks.

It was still something of a risk to start with eight debutants and three 18 year-olds among a total of nine nationalities. Among that number were a whole back-four plus the goalkeeper.

The only familiar Fulham face was that of Scott Parker, the captain, whose error unfortunately led to his team falling behind. He sat deep in midfield with teenager Cameron Burgess, while Ross McCormack started up front with young Frenchman Moussa Dembele. Of Konstantinos Mitroglu, the Greek World Cup striker who cost even more than McCormack’s reported £11m, and Costa Rica’s Bryan Ruiz there was no sign, even among the substitutes.

Ipswich, who exited the top level just after Fulham joined it, were a good measuring stick for the London side, having finished last season just a little short of the play-offs in ninth place. In the match programme reclusive owner Marcus Evans gave a rare interview, in which he emphasised his commitment and described manager Mick McCarthy’s new three-year contract as the most important thing to have happened to the club this summer. Evans also wants to reduce the advantage given to relegated clubs by £60m worth of parachute payments.

Fulham could not be accused of blowing too much of that, with McCormack the one extravagant signing. Youthful promise was exemplified by Chris David, the 21 year-old Dutchman who scored a spectacular goal with almost the last kick in the Premier League last May, earning a draw at home to Crystal Palace.

He almost replicated it midway through the first half here, Dean Gerken fumbling the shot as he cut in from the right on his left foot, but then recovering to prevent Moussa Dembele knocking in the rebound. It was Fulham’s only real chance of the first half, in which they had abundant possession without any significant penetration.

They paid a price for that just after the half-hour, when Parker was caught napping by Luke Hyam, who sent Daryl Murphy through in the inside right channel. The striker evaded Shaun Hutchinson all too easily and beat goalkeeper Jesse Joronen.

To be fair, Joronen had little to do otherwise, apart from an early save from Christophe Berra’s header. The home crowd were therefore happy to see the striker David McGoldrick brought on just before half-time in place on Balint Bajner, the Hungarian who had picked up an injury on his debut. McGoldrick had struck up a fine partnership with Murphy before suffering a knee injury in February from which he is only just recovering – hence McCarthy’s decision not to start him here.

The pair immediately linked well and produced the second goal between them after 62 minutes. Murphy chased a ball down the left, crossed low and it was hacked away only as far as McGoldrick, who scored with a low drive from 18 yards.

Fulham had made their first change at the interval, surprisingly replacing David with Thomas Eisfeld, the midfielder who made a couple of appearances while at Arsenal, and they soon introducing Cauley Woodrow, another promising youngster, for the anonymous McCormack.

It was a shock when the visitors scored four minutes from time to give the home supporters a nervous last few minutes. Hoogland, probably their best player, had a left-footed shot deflected in by Ipswich’s Tommy Smith and Patrick Roberts, a 17 year old of rich promise, had two late opportunities blocked.

Line-ups:

Ipswich (4-4-2): Gerken; Chambers, Smith, Berra, Mings; Hewitt, Hyam, Skuse (Wordsworth 72), Tabb; Murphy, Bajner (McGoldrick, 44).

Fulham (4-2-2-2): Joronen; Bodurov, Hutchinson (Roberts 74), Burgess, Stafylidis; Parker, Burgess; Hyndman, David (Eisfeld 46); Dembele, McCormack (Woodrow 58).

Referee: Stephen Martin

Man of the match: McGoldrick (Ipswich)

Match rating: 7/10

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test