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.
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.
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.
Imagine taking a penalty away from a 16 year old lad who's one off a hatrick away from home against top of the league to miss #TimReam— Zac (@ZNearney) March 11, 2017
I'm fuming Tim Ream took penalty off 16 yr old Ryan Sessegnon that HE won for HIS hat trick in 90th min in St.James' Park vs league leaders!— Jord (@jordloftus) March 11, 2017
Villa just won 2-0 and I cannot stop thinking about Tim Ream denying a 16-year old a hat trick on a penalty he won. What a dick— 7500 To Holte (@7500toHolte) March 11, 2017
Tim Ream has just taken the ball off 16-year-old Ryan Sessegnon to stop him getting a hat-trick from a penalty.— TheODDSbible (@TheOddsBible) March 11, 2017
And missed. Good. Prick.
But Ream intervened in his own defense to explain how it was he appeared to have bullied Sessegnon out of a hat-trick.
(1/2) Not my decision folks, was completely prepared to have Sess take it. Embarrassing nonetheless. Manager took the decision.— Tim Ream (@timream5) March 11, 2017
(2/2) Cheers for the kind words though . Shouldn't take away from the great team performance away from home!! We go again Tuesday!!!— Tim Ream (@timream5) March 11, 2017
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).