Fulham keeper Marcus Bettinelli made his first tentative steps back to first team action when he kept a clean sheet for the U21s in a 3-0 win at Newcastle United today.
The first-choice shot-stopper for Whites, until the night his world collapsed around him at Hull City in August, stepped out at the Magpies home for reserves and academy, and came through the game unscathed while making two world class saves.
Bettinelli made the breakthrough last season for a struggling Fulham, but when forward Matt Smith accidentally collided with him in the 2-1 defeat at the KC Stadium, both suffered medial ligament damage - with the keeper coming off worst.
Earlier he told the club's website after he was allowed to run again: "It’s been a really long road.
“It feels a long time since I was being carried off on a stretcher. It has been tough. But this was the first time I was out running in my football boots.
See Betts and the teams lead out at Newcastle, below.
“It’s frustrating and looking out of the gym window and seeing the lads training. But when I went out I was watching it (training) more than running and with Tunners (Ryan Tunnicliffe).
“Me, Matty and Jack Grimmer got known as the Brace brothers around the training ground. I was there for them and they were there for me.
“It was meant to be such a big year for me. But as soon as I hit the deck I knew I was done for a long time."