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Tim Ream apologizes for Fulham penalty snafu that denied Ryan Sessegnon a hat-trick

The former New York Red Bulls defender was briefly among the most hated players in Britain after denying Fulham teammate and wunderkind, Ryan Sessegnon, a shot at a hat-trick. But he has explained and apologized.

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The season is going pretty well for Fulham and Tim Ream. The club's form has picked up after a calamitous, winless November and it is a bona-fide challenger for promotion from the Championship - albeit still one on the outside of the top six in England's second tier. And Ream has reportedly reconciled himself to manager Slavisa Jokanovic's squad rotation policy, and is perhaps less inclined to seek out a new club now that he is a regular starter again.

Ream was part of Fulham's latest triumph: a 3-1 win over high-flying Newcastle at St. James' Park, spearheaded by two goals from 16-year-old Ryan Sessegnon.

It could have been three for Sessegnon, but he was denied the chance to bag his hat-trick when Ream stepped up to take a penalty in injury time. A penalty Ream missed.

Oops.

The miss didn't affect the result: Fulham won and made a statement about its potential in the Championship's run-in by taking down the league's leader on its home ground.

But the penalty spoiled what might have been: the youngest-ever goal scorer in the Championship (Sessegnon set that record back in August, when he also became the first player born in the 2000s to score a goal in England's professional leagues) could have had his first hat-trick.

So Tim Ream found himself in the uncomfortable position of being cast as a villain after arguably the biggest win of his team's season to date.

But Ream intervened in his own defense to explain how it was he appeared to have bullied Sessegnon out of a hat-trick.

Should Sessegnon ever again be in position to crown a match-winning performance with a penalty, seems safe to say Ream won't be asked to play spoiler on a second occasion - and Slavisa Jokanovic might find the American less inclined to follow orders next time around (if there is a next time).

Sessegnon, Ream, and Fulham are back in action quickly enough to have hope this incident is quickly forgotten. They play Blackburn Rovers at home on March 14.