Crusaders 1 Fulham 3: Matthew Briggs sets Martin Jol's men on their way

15 July 2011 12:38
Fulham take a healthy advantage into Thursday's Europa League qualifying return leg but manager Martin Jol commended the steel shown by the Irish part-timers.

'It was typically British,' said Jol. 'They made it tough for us until our goal and got tough again after the equaliser. But we concentrated for 90 minutes and that was the difference.'

Matthew Briggs scored his first goal for Fulham six minutes from half-time before Timmy Adamson levelled on 54 minutes.

On a Crusade: Matthew Briggs firesin Fulham?s opener six minutes before the break

Bobby Zamora headed the visitors back into the lead and, three minutes later, Crusaders conceded a penalty when Paul Leeman handled. Danny Murphy fired home.

Fulham's Northern Ireland defender Chris Baird said: 'I told the boys what to expect. Now we want to get back to the Cottage and finish the job.'

Head boy: Bobby Zamora (left) scores Fulham's second goal of the game

It took the London side 10 minutes to carve out their first opportunity when Damien Duff cut in from the right and shot straight at keeper Sean O'Neill. That was the first of three good chances for the Republic of Ireland international in the first period.

On the other flank, Karim Frei also impressed, cutting in from the left wing and testing O'Neill on two occasions.

Spot on: Danny Murphy puts his side well in control with a second-half penalty kick

From set-pieces Brede Hangeland was making a nuisance of himself and twice almost converted far-post headers.

After 38 minutes Crusaders squandered a series of chances to clear Danny Murphy's corner, with the ball eventually rolling out to young full-back Briggs, who rifled it back into the top left corner of the net to open his account for the club.

Shock equaliser: Timmy Adamson (left) celebrates after pegging Fulham back

Any hopes Fulham had of a straightforward second half soon evaporated as the home team came out at a rasping tempo, Adamson dragging wide after a neat turn two minutes after the restart.

The striker made no mistake seven minutes later when he brought down the ball on edge of the six yard box, beat the advancing Aaron Hughes and flicked the ball past Mark Schwarzer's outstretched hand.

The boy done good: Briggs (right) celebrates after his opening strike

Seaview erupted and minutes later it almost got even better for the home support when Adamson crashed a close-range shot off the crossbar. But just as the whiff of upset was in the air, Fulham snuffed it out, regaining the lead with 15 minutes left when Zamora rose at the near post to head home a Duff corner.

Two minutes later, Crusaders' brave resistance was ended when defender Paul Leeman handled an Andrew Johnson shot in the area to concede a clearcut penalty. Murphy converted in clinical fashion, sidefooting the ball low to the O'Neill's left.

Tough tackling: Gareth McKeown (bottom) and Andy Johnson battle for the ball

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Source: Daily_Mail