Another week, another 1-1 draw for Fulham after holding a lead late into the season. Martin Jol must be surely sweating his job now as last match it’s Newcastle and now West Brom. An early Steve Sidwell goal was cancelled out in injury time by a Gareth McAuley header as West Brom finally get their first point and goal of the young season.
Three disallowed goals for offsides doomed the home side, and the defense broke down at the death to share the spoils.
The first 15 minutes were relatively dull, with the passing between the sides a bit sloppy. Dimitar Berbatov and Victor Anichebe both lurked up front for their respective sides, but neither had a serious go on goal.
Chris Brunt had a go on goal from a long way out before the 20-minute mark but it swerved wide of David Stockdale’s net.
The first real chance came on a corner in the first half, where Fulham have looked dangerous before. The ball came in to Senderos who laid off a header to Steve Sidwell, who blasted a half-volley into the back of the net off Boaz Myhill’s fingertips for a 1-0 Fulham lead.
Things opened up after the goal,. Fulham maintained the midfield possession, and it led to a chance for Berbatov in the 33rd minute. He put the ball into the back of the net but was turned away by the offsides flag, and replays showed he was a good few feet on the wrong end of the defense.
After halftime the flag again denied a Berbatov goal, on a much tighter call but yet again correct as Pajtim Kasami threaded a ball through the West Brom defense until the Bulgarian’s arm just barely betrayed him.
The Baggies answered, as Anichebe latched onto a through ball past Brede Hangeland but a strong David Stockdale confidently denied the equalizer.
The second-half excitement continued in the 57th minute as Bryan Ruiz found Berbatov on a long distance ball, but it was Myhill’s turn to make a strong save coming out to challenge the Belgian. It was a frustrating day for the former Manchester United striker. He again came oh-so close in the 66th minute when a lofted ball from Ruiz but Berbatov’s acrobatic volley sizzled just over.
The final 10 minutes proved equally exciting. Nicolas Anelka went down in the box via Senderos, but the referee denied the penalty shout. In the 83rd minute Fulham came inches away again as Alex Kacaniklic cut a ball back for Bryan Ruiz who’s shot shook the crossbar. The ball shot straight down but not into the goal, and it fell for subsitiute Hugo Rodallega who put the ball into the back of the net but the linesman’s flag denied Fulham a goal for the third time on the day.
As Bryan Ruiz went down with what appeared to be a leg injury and was stretchered off, the referee added six minutes of stoppage time, plenty for the visitors to make it level. That they did, as Gareth McAuley headed in a corner by Chris Brunt and it was misery again for Fulham against the league’s bottomfeeders.
Fulham – Stockdale; Riether, Senderos, Hangeland, Richardson (Amorebieta, 67′); Sidwell, Parker; Ruiz (Duff, 90′), Kasami, Kacaniklic; Berbatov (Rodallega, 77′).
West Brom – Myhill; Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Amalfitano (Sinclair, 63′), Mulumbu, Yacob (Morrison, 63′), Brunt; Anelka, Anichebe (Berahino, 68′).