The Cottagers edged themselves in front early on when Josh Walker finished off a quick counter-attack and from there they were able to keep our forwards at bay while taking advantage of our mistakes.
Indeed, after Walker missed a penalty early in the second half, the visitors put the game to bed through Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson and Stephen Humphrys, while we finished the match with three Under-16s players on the pitch in Jon Dinzeyi, Nya Kirby and Tashan Oakley-Boothe – the former duo making their Barclays Under-18 Premier League debuts.
The 3-0 final scoreline was harsh on centre-half Dinzeyi in particular, who was assured in his defending despite having no previous experience at this level.
Charlie Hayford, operating at right-back for the second game in a row, was in the thick of the early action as he curled a free-kick just wide at one end before making a vital block inside the six-yard box at the other to deny Thorsteinsson.
Armani Daly went close for us on 11 minutes – his low shot following a driving run by Keanan Bennetts appeared to be creeping inside the post but Fulham goalkeeper Taye Ashby-Hammond got his fingertips to it and sent the ball behind.
Fulham took the lead three minutes later when Dennis Adeniran launched a counter-attack and sent Walker racing through on goal, the visiting skipper lifting the ball over advancing goalkeeper Tom McDermott and into the centre of the net.
Bennetts then fluffed his lines at the far post after good work down the right by Daly, while captain Zenon Stylianides could only shoot wide after a driving solo run from midfield as we tried to carve out some clear openings.
That proved difficult, though, as Fulham’s centre-back pairing, with Adeniran sitting in front of them, made sure they were in the way of everything we threw at them in the latter stages of the first period.
Fulham might have grabbed a second goal six minutes before the break when Thorsteinsson’s free-kick wasn’t dealt with and the ball bobbled around in the box, but Elijah Adebayo hooked his eventual shot over the bar.
Ryan Loft then headed Hayford’s first-time cross from the right wide of the upright as we went in a goal down at the interval, while a similar ball in from the latter found Bennetts ghosting in at the back post five minutes after the restart – only for the attacking midfielder to hit the side netting.
Walker bustled his way through our defence on 51 minutes but was denied by a firm block at his near post by McDermott, while the same player had a chance to double Fulham’s lead from the spot three minutes later when Adeniran went to ground as he tried to nip between Bennetts and left-back Nick Tsaroulla and the referee awarded a penalty. McDermott dived the opposite way to Walker’s shot, but was relieved to see it strike the base of the post and roll away to safety.
Humphrys hammered wide from close range just after the hour mark as Fulham showed their intent to stretch their advantage and they duly did that when Ryan Sessegnon burst down the left and crossed for Thorsteinsson to head home in the 72nd minute.
It was all over seven minutes later as Humphrys turned in the box and drilled into the net from the left angle to make it 3-0, while the same player almost added a fourth shortly afterwards when he collected Thorsteinsson’s free-kick and saw his shot from close to the byline deflected onto the post.
To their credit, our young side were persistent in their attempts to break the Cottagers down and they nearly found a breakthrough with five minutes to go. Oakley-Boothe surged through the middle and picked out fellow substitute Aramide Oteh on the edge of the box, the striker staying strong under pressure to lay off for young debutant Kirby, whose shot from the left side of the area was blocked by the legs of Ashby-Hammond.
It was Kirby who had our final attempt at goal, testing the keeper from 25 yards in the second minute of stoppage time, but Fulham had done enough to end our unbeaten start to the campaign.
Spurs U18s: McDermott, Hayford, Tsaroulla, Stylianides, Marsh, Dinzeyi, Daly (Oteh 72), Duncan (Kirby 63), Loft, Shashoua, Bennetts (Oakley-Boothe 72). Substitute (not used): Austin (GK).