Friday 22nd January 2016 ko 19.00
FA U21 Professional Development League 2
FULHAM 1 (Humphrys 24)
WEST HAM UNITED 3 (Parfitt-Williams 38 86 Cullen 74p)
Att 189 at Motspur Park Training Ground
Team Sheet and Programme FREE
There can’t be many clubs who have use of two iconic grounds but Fulham are fortunate to be in that category. While their main ground Craven Cottage should be near the top of any serious attempt to “Do the 92,” their training ground at Motspur Park in New Malden should not be missed either.
Even the name is interesting, derived from the 17th century Mot family’s ownership of a farm here. The area was known to be prone to gorse, or furze growth and Mot’s Furze slowly became corrupted into the name of today. The farm became a market garden and so the suffix “Park” was added in the 19th century. The gardens have long since stopped growing vegetables and the spaces became used as parkland and sports grounds. The BBC had their sports ground here, and just north is the Joseph Hood Memorial Park, Motspur Park FC play there.
Fulham bought the former University of London Sports Ground here in 1999 and have converted it into a training ground. That said, I do hesitate slightly in using the term, “Convert.” The original ground was constructed in 1928 and the main building that incorporates the stand is a classic piece of Art Deco from that time. Yes, the club have added modular offices and the like but the lion’s share of fabric here is original. Even the floodlights here are temporary, perhaps planning permission here in leafy suburbia is not easily obtained?
The main pitch is so obviously a former athletics stadium, as lovely as the stand is you are a fair distance from the pitch. Those traditional good looks have attracted the movie makers, you can see Motspur Park in films such as “Chariots of Fire,” “The Games” and “The Four Minute Mile.”
Like any high-level age-based game, it is always worth checking that spectators are allowed. Here Fulham allow all their season ticket holders in for free and charge £3 to everyone else. You simply report to the Portakabin at the end of the drive, and collect your teamsheet. If you want the A4 sheet programme you download it from the Fulham FC website. Other than that, there’s all the facilities you expect but in practical terms there is only one viewable side, and some of the seats do have restricted views. There is no parking for spectators within the ground on matchdays.
Reece Oxford’s name lept out from the teamsheet. The West Ham defender became the club’s youngest ever debutant being 16 years and 198 days when he appeared in the Irons’ Europa League First Qualifying Round game at home to FC Lusitanos in July 2015. He played with confidence and no little class but Fulham made the better start and deservedly took the lead when Josh Smile turned on the afterburners on the right wing before crossing beautifully for Stephen Humphrys to stoke home.
That roused the visitors and finally the famous West Ham passing game clicked into place. Bermudan Djair Parfitt-Williams equalised just before half-time, and the visitors were noticeably more fluent after the break. Ian Pino Soler fouled Parfitt for a penalty converted neatly by Josh Cullen, before Parfitt-Williams capped a man-of-the match by crashing Cullen’s cross home for his side’s winner.