Two goals from Hungarian forward rescues West London pride...
A brace from Zoltan Gera helped Fulham to a 2-2 draw with Swedish side Halmstad, while Blackpool required penalties following a 2-2 stalemate against Kilmarnock to progress into the semi-final of the Joma South West Challenge Cup.
Halmstad 2-2 Fulham
Fulham’s caretaker manager Ray Lewington fielded a starting side which included eight players who participated in last season’s UEFA Europa League Final.
The Whites took an early lead after just eight minutes when Zoltan Gera headed home Simon Davies' deflected shot.
Both sides enjoyed a plethora of chances early on, Fulham’s Danny Murphy providing the source of inspiration for the visitors.
Halmstad currently sit 10th in the Swedish Allsvenskan and having already played one competitive game following their break in the season due to the World Cup, they looked the fresher of the two teams.
The home side levelled in the 24th minute, Fulham’s goalkeeper David Stockdale was unable to gather a long-distance strike and the ball broke into the path of Joe Sise, who had the easy task of slotting the ball into an empty net.
Two minutes later the 20-year-old struck again and gave Halmstad the lead, Sise met an Anel Raskaj pass and smartly finished low past Stockdale.
The Fulham goalkeeper was called into action before the close of the first half, providing a fine reflex save from Marcus Olsson’s strike.
Halmstad began the second half on the front foot and were unlucky not to add to their lead with Amir Kujovic hitting the bar with a strike from the edge of the area.
Damien Duff’s lively play on the wing resulted in Fulham’s equaliser in the 58th minute. The Irish international dribbled past Joalim Wrele and slid the ball to Gera, whose 20-yard drive could not be kept out by Karl-Johan Johnsson.
Fulham pushed for the win in the closing stages, the American striker Eddie Johnson forcing a fine save from the Halmstad keeper.
Fulham: Stockdale; Kelly, Baird, Hughes, Konchesky (Smith 62); Duff (Riise 70), Murphy (Dikgacoi 70), Greening, Davies (Elm 78); Gera, Zamora (E Johnson 70).
Kilmarnock 2-2 Blackpool (Blackpool win 5-4 on penalties)
Meanwhile, Blackpool have an opportunity to win a piece of pre-season silverware as they beat Kilmarnock 5-4 on penalties in the semi-final of the Joma South West Challenge Cup.
Ian Holloway’s men surrendered the lead twice against the SPL side but spot-kicks from Rob Evans, Keith Southern, Ian Evatt, Brett Omerod and goalkeeper Matt Gilks secured the victory.
Trialist Francis Jeffers created Blackpool’s opening goal as he slid the ball into Jason Euell’s path and the veteran striker finished neatly.
Kilmarnock equalised from a Jamie Hammil penalty in the 53rd minute.
Blackpool regained advantage in the 71st minute as youngster Lewis Almond received a clever pass from Ishmel Demontagnac and from ten yards out, slotted past the Kilmarnock goalkeeper.
Craig Bryson levelled again for the Scottish side to take the tie to penalties but Blackpool held their nerve to sweep through to Saturday’s semi-final.