We all love the FA Cup. Obviously I didn’t go to one of the bigger games, or your traditional “David vs Goliath” ties, but a match between two Championship teams was always going to be of decent quality. For someone who has only been to League 2 matches so far this season, this was a welcome change.
This was my first trip to Hillsborough, somewhere I have always wanted to go. Being in the Leppings Lane End, where the tragedy took place, it was quite a sobering feeling. It would probably have been a better day if the atmosphere has been a bit better, given that for a 39,000 seater stadium; only 15,000 of them were filled. It was good to see a lot of Fulham fans turn up though, so there was a good atmosphere in the away end.
It was quite incredible that the game only finished 2-1 given how many chances each side missed. Given that Fulham have £12 million man Ross McCormack up front along with highly-rated youngster Moussa Dembele, you would have expected Fulham to have scored at least twice. It was a very competitive match between two good teams, definitely worth the £5 entry fee. Often Wednesday charge £15 for under 17 tickets, so this was one of the only games I could have gone to, as I’m not going to pay £15 for a match between two Championship sides.
Adult tickets for Hillsborough normally top £30, which is ridiculous for a Premier League team, let alone a side from the second division. Twenty is plenty when it comes to football tickets, and it’s time the FA sees sense and imposes a cap on prices.
In terms of the game itself, it was good to see such open attacking football. Fulham probably played the better football. I thought they were better on the ball and kept possession well. It was totally against the run of play when Wednesday took the lead, and it was a hell of a goal. To see Barry Bannan, who I never thought was that good a player, belt one into the top corner from 25 yards was an incredible sight. It is a long time since I’ve seen a goal anywhere near that good live at a game.
In the end it meant very little as Fulham went up the other end and equalised a minute later. It was good to see Moussa Dembele get a goal considered he’s seen as somewhat of a massive prospect. It was a pretty scrappy goal, but he showed good composure. He needed a goal seeing that he had missed an open goal only minutes earlier, even if he was offside, but he didn’t know that.
Half time probably came at the right time for Wednesday given that we were being absolutely battered in the last few minutes of the first half. It also bought a burger, which was quite useful given how cold it was. Despite the woman at the counter repeatedly saying “pie” at my friend’s request for a burger, we did get our food in the end. He’s from Lincolnshire, his accent isn’t hard to understand. I can’t describe the food as anything special, but it was good enough seeing as the food at City-rivals United resembled saw dust.
Somehow, Fulham didn’t score in the second half. Dembele’s header from two yards out would have gone in if he’d put it anywhere else other than straight at the keeper, and Kacaniklic’s air shot also denied his side a goal. But these were nothing compared to Kacaniklic’s chance a minute later. The ball across from Tom Cairney set the winger up with a chance that if he’d just connected, he would have scored. Instead he produced a miss so miraculous it was something only Jesus was capable of, or perhaps Fernando Torres. I’m still not quite sure how he missed.
Instead, Sheffield Wednesday went straight up the other end and scored. It was a pretty good volley from Atdhe Nuhiu which did prove to be the winning goal. This was what turned out to be the last good chance of the game as it ended 2-1. In all respect to the Fulham fans, they never stopped singing, and “all we hear is Jamie O’Hara” is one of the best football chants I’ve heard in a while.
All in all, it was a very good day, and definitely worth the trip to Hillsborough. If the ticket prices go back to being the cheaper prices that they were on Saturday, I would be delighted to go back.
Rating out of 10: Not much to improve on, 9/10.