Fulham, once a decent side in Premier League circuit, had years of despair when they were demoted to the Championship back in 2014. However, they emerged significantly under Slaviša Jokanović last season when a late resurgence earned them the final playoff spot but failed to return to the top tier.
They, however, improved furthermore this term and despite missing out on an automatic promotion spot narrowly, the Cottagers are upbeat and determined to make their Premier League dream a reality. They travelled to Pride Park tonight to encounter Derby County in the semifinal first leg tie and were expecting a tough challenge from the fellow promotion aspirants.
The game, as expected, offered a close contest but the hosts had the last laugh as Cameron Jerome’s first-half header sealed the deal and earned a massive win prior to the return leg tie at Craven Cottage.
Below are the Fulham players rated in their disappointing defeat against Derby County.
Marcus Bettinelli: 6
Had a nervy outing with a few troublesome occasions but could have done little to deny Cameron Jerome’s thumping header that earned Derby County the all-important goal of the game.
Ryan Fredericks: 6
His cross for Ayate was sublime, but the wingman failed to direct his header on target which could have earned the Cottagers an early lead. Kept on making overlap runs but should have done better defensively, particularly against Tom Lawrence who was a threat all throughout.
Denis Odoi: 7.5
Conceded a freekick needlessly in early minutes but his timely blocks, challenges, and interceptions refrained the visitors from conceding m0re at Pride Park.
Tim Ream: 8
Failed to contain in-form Jerome during his first-half goal but was solid otherwise as he made some vital tackles and interceptions to avoid further damage.
Matt Targett: 6.5
The Southampton loanee made some impressive forward runs, whipped in a few crosses but failed to find anyone inside the box on most occasions due to the Rams defensive composure.
Stefan Johansen: 6
Had a quiet first half but stepped up after the break and created a few chances from behind with his long balls and through passes. Was replaced by Oliver Norwood in closing minutes of the game.
Kevin McDonald: 6.5
Improved his game after the break and came within a whisker of the equalizer as his stunning strike from 25 yards out rattled the woodwork.
Tom Cairney: 7
Worked tirelessly in midfield, combined with fellow attackers, troubled the Rams with his dribbling and shooting traits but failed to break their defensive resilience.
Floyd Ayite: 5
Wasted a couple of glorious opportunities, particularly after the break when he skied his volley with only custodian Scott Carson to beat. His nightmarish evening came to an end when he was replaced by Lucas Piazon late in the game.
Ryan Sessegnon: 5.5
The highly-rated left-back has mostly been utilized on the wing and started the game brightly with an early opportunity. He, however, failed to cause enough menace otherwise and despite a few smart link-up movements, Sessegnon could not offer much in Fulham’s attacking third and was replaced by Neeskens Kebano with 15 minutes remaining.
Aleksandar Mitrovic: 6
The in-form Newcastle United loanee was well-contained by Derby defence. Had some decent hold-up play early on and also saw his effort denied by Scott Carson in goal.
Neeskens Kebano: 5
Replaced Sessegnon but made no difference to the outcome despite some decent movements.
Lucas Piazon: 5
Was introduced in place of Ayite but failed to alter the fate of the game and made little impact in the final 20 minutes of the game.
Oliver Norwood: NA
Played too little to warrant a rating.
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