Shroot strike downs Premier League Fulham
Boro notch second win of pre-season
Stevenage 1 Fulham 0
ROBIN Shroot’s late strike maintained Boro’s 100 per cent record this summer with a victory over Premier League side Fulham.
The trialist, a 72nd minute substitute, spoke prior to the game of his desire to earn a deal at Boro and the former Birmingham City man did his chances no harm with a composed finish at the far post following Stacy Long’s low cross.
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The win came at a cost though after Boro lost goalkeeper Chris Day to a dislocated little finger on his right hand. The 36-year-old picked up the injury five minutes before the break when he got down low to keep out Kerim Frei’s well struck effort and the stopper was briskly whisked off to Lister hospital to have the injury looked at meaning an early reintroduction to the Boro faithful for Alan Julian.
Day’s injury was clearly the biggest talking point of a first half that failed to sparkle despite Fulham fielding a strong side including new signing John Arne Riise and established Premier League men Steve Sidwell and Phillipe Senderos.
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One of Boro’s summer recruits, Jennison Myrie-Williams, wowed the crowd with a neat piece of skill on the halfway line to leave his marker for dead and also curled a free kick from the corner of the box inches wide of the Fulham goal.
At the other end Finnish striker Lauri Dalla Valle had the ball in the back of the net only for it to be chalked off for offside with the 19-year-old also curling a shot wide of the post.
The Fulham forward was also involved in a fine flowing move early in the second half but Marcello Trotta’s shot failed to test Julian.
It was the introduction of Long, Darius Charles and Craig Reid that seemed to shift the momentum in Boro’s favour with the latter two combining well to create an opportunity only for Charles to screw his shot past the far post.
The home fans were also given their first sight of Phil Edwards in a Boro shirt with the ex-Accrington man slotting seamlessly into the holding role. The summer signing’s only error came when he was robbed by Sidwell 30-yards out but the Fulham midfielder shot wide of the goal.
The longer the game wore on the more it started to open up and when a good early ball from Long just evaded Reid, Fulham broke quickly with Trotta forcing Julian into a save low down at the goalkeeper’s near post.
A brilliant burst from midfield from John Mousinho created an opening for Reid but the striker took one touch too many and replacement ‘keeper Csaba Somogyi closed the angle and forced the save.
It sparked a series of corners that saw a Long shot deflected over by Stephen Kelly and a Reid volley cleared off the post.
Boro weren’t to be denied, though, and they netted what turned out to be the winning goal nine minutes from time. Long, so often Boro’s creative spark, was the provider making the most of the space he was afforded down the right to play an inviting ball low across the face of the goal for the unmarked Shroot to rifle into the back of the net.
The home side still had work to do to close the game out and Julian had to be at his best to keep out Alex Brister’s curling attempt from the edge of the box. The Fulham man then tried his hand at creating, twice picking out Algerian centre half Rafik Halliche, but on neither occasion could the defender work Julian.
Graham Westley’s side now turn their attentions to Tuesday night’s long trip down to Dover Athletic looking to continue the run of clean sheets and victories they’ve enjoyed so far this summer.
Boro: Day (Julian 40m); Henry, Roberts �, Bostwick, Laird (Harrison 88); Wilson (Shroot 72), Murphy (Edwards 54), Mousinho, Myrie-Williams (Long 54); Thalasitis (Reid 54), Beardsley (Charles 54).
Fulham: Etheridge (Somogyi 46); Kelly, Senderos, Halliche, J. Arne-Riise (Harris 63); Frei (Brister 85), Sidwell �, Donegan, Smith; Dalla Valle, Trotte (Hoesen 74).
Referee: Mick Russell (St Albans)