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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
Fans take a selfie with Ed Miliband in Kempston, near Bedford, on Tuesday
election 2015
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power