FULHAM 2 – 5 DERBY COUNTY
Fulham caretaker boss Kit Symons bemoaned his side’s concession of a goal on the stroke of half-time, as Derby County produced a stunning turnaround to win 5-2 in the Capital One Cup.
The Cottagers were confidently poised against the Championship leaders, with a brace of strikes from Moussa Dembele giving them a 2-0 lead with moments of the first half remaining.
But Chris Martin reduced the arrears for Derby when he smashed home a penalty on the stroke of half-time – the first of the visitors’ five goals in a stunning 20 minute period.
“In the first half we were well and truly in it, but the goal on the stroke of half-time gave Derby a huge lift and top teams don’t need lifts like that,” said Symons.
“We nullified them in the first half but the second half was a different story, and Derby punished us.”
The Cottagers’ temporary manager, who had his name supportively chanted by the Fulham fans throughout the clash, managed to joke about his side’s poor recent record against the East Midlands outfit, after a 5-1 defeat at the iPro Stadium in August.
“We scored two, so that’s progress” he added.
The story may have been very different for the hosts, as Dembele was gifted two first-half goals. The first came courtesy of a mishit backpass from Derby full-back Craig Forsyth, before another defensive mix-up allowed Bryan Ruiz to feed Dembele for his second.
With seconds remaining before the break, Tim Hoogland handled Omar Mascarell’s whipped free-kick, and the resulting spot-kick was confidently converted by Martin.
The start of the second period provided evidence for Derby’s lofty league position, as quick-fire strikes from Johnny Russell and Simon Dawkins put them at the front.
Jeff Hendrick’s six-yard finish stretched the advantage, before Dawkins produced a clever near-post flick to complete the rout on 65 minutes.
Like his opposite number, Rams boss Steve McLaren recognised the importance of Martin’s late first half penalty.
“The goal just before half-time gave us a lifeline,” he said.
“The second half was more like us, we showed good character and played some good football. It was a devastating period.”
Picture courtesy of treevis, with thanks