Jul 28 2012 By Greg Burns at Adams Park
Wycombe 0-3 Fulham
A STUBBORN performance was not enough to stop Wycombe going down to pre-season defeat at home to Fulham.
Gary Waddock's Blues faced a tough afternoon against the Premier League side but will take encouragement from keeping the score respectable – largely thanks to goalkeeper Nikki Bull who pulled off a string of second-half saves for his team.
The visitors had to wait until the final five minutes to seal the win when Brian Ruiz smashed in a superb free-kick to break Wanderers' long resistance before substitute Steve Sidwell tapped in a third.
Wycombe continue to look more solid than last season and were always going to struggle to carve open a strong Fulham side playing their first pre-season game in England.
Wanderers welcomed the top-flight side to Adams Park for their first home pre-season game of the summer as they look to step up their preparations for the big kick-off next month.
A decent away following came out to support the west Londoners and see new signing Mladen Petric impress and net a first-half winner.
Boss Martin Jol named a strong side for the clash with goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, defender Brede Hangeland and midfielder Moussa Dembele some of the stars on show.
Waddock may also have given a hint at his starting XI for the trip to York on August 18 by making just one change from their goalless draw at Luton with Stuart Lewis coming in for Matt Bloomfield in midfield.
Fulham dominated possession – as you would expect with 55 places separating the two sides last term - but their only chance in the opening 10 minutes fell to new striker Mladen Petric who drilled a low shot well wide as Wycombe held firm.
But the Croatian international only needed one other sighter to put the Whites ahead when he curled a superb first-time effort past a full-stretch Bull on 18 minutes.
Wycombe were blunted as an attacking force but continued to show the organisation and defensive grit they have displayed in the last few games with Grant Basey and skipper Gary Doherty throwing their bodies in the way of shots as the half wore on.
Their only real effort on target was a wayward shot over the bar from Lewis 10 minutes before the break while Petric continued to threaten by forcing Bull into a low near-post save from a curling free-kick.
The game continued in the same pattern after the break with Alex Kacaniklic wasting a good opportunity when he mistimed his curling effort and sent it straight into Bull's arms on 51 minutes.
But it was wave after wave of attack by Fulham and a second goal looked inevitable with Bull called into action again on the hour mark as Mesca raced clear and moments later when Brian Ruiz tried a cheeky chip from outside the box.
Both sides rung the changes as the game played out with Fulham forward Marcello Trotta receiving a warm welcome when he came off the bench to return to the club that he scored eight goals in eight loan games for last season.
But Ruiz and Sidwell netted late on to cap a tough afternoon for Waddock's men who did show good fitness levels after being forced to chase the ball around Adams Park for long spells.
With QPR visiting on Tuesday, they can probably expect more of the same but will hope to trouble Rob Green in the Hoops goal more than they did Australian Schwarzer between the sticks for Fulham.
WANDERERS: Bull, McCoy, Doherty, Stewart (Johnson 63), Basey (Dunne 63), Oli, Lewis, Spring (Bloomfield 63), Wood (Angol 75), Logan (McClure 75), Beavon (Grant 63).
Subs (not used): Ingram.