Madl sent off as Fulham lose to Birmingham

Michael Madl, Fulham.

Fulham 0 Birmingham City 1

Michael Madl was sent-off and former Brentford striker Clayton Donaldson scored the winner as Fulham’s unbeaten start ended at Craven Cottage.

The Austrian was given the first of his two yellow cards in conceding a 25th-minute penalty, but keeper David Button came to his rescue by saving Donaldson’s spot-kick.

However, Madl was not spared just before half-time when he brought down Donaldson after the striker had latched on to a loose pass, and a second yellow was inevitable.

Early in the second half, Floyd Ayite was penalised for bundling over Che Adams, with Donaldson this time beating former Bees team-mate Button.

Aside from the first five minutes, when Tom Cairney’s shot was brilliantly tipped over by Blues keeper Tomasz Kuszczak, this was a disjointed Fulham display.

Birmingham looked more comfortable in possesion throughout, and Button made a fine save to palm away a long-range shot from Robert Tesche, with Ryan Shotton heading wide from the resulting corner.

Madl’s foul on Adams gave the visitors the chance to take the lead, but Button was equal to Donaldson’s first kick.

Their task of regrouping at half-time was made all the harder when Madl, sold short by a poor pass at the back, tried to nick the ball off Donaldson’s toes but was a split-second too late.

Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic, having already replaced Stefan Johansen after just 31 minutes of his debut, brought on Neeskens Kebano at the break but before that change could have an impact, they were a goal down.

In trying to overplay at the back, they gave the ball away just outside the box, with Ayite fouling Adams in it – and this time Donaldson made no mistake.

Another foul shortly afterwards, this time just outside the box, led to a Birmingham free-kick which Jacques Maghoma drilled just wide, while at the other end Scott Malone clipped an effort just wide from 12 yards.

Birmingham could have settled it late on with a swift counter, but Button denied David Cotterill and Tomas Kalas dived to head Maghoma’s follow up away.

Fulham: Button; Odoi, Kalas, Madl, Malone; McDonald, Johansen (Jozabed 31); Cairney, Aluko, Ayite (Martin 76); Smith (Kebano 46).
Subs not used: Bettinelli, Sigurdsson, Sessegnon, Tunnicliffe.