Fonte double exposes Fulham - Southampton 2-2 Fulham

Mike Hewitt - Getty Images

Set pieces prove the undoing of Martin Jol's side as 87th minute Kieron Richardson strike is matched by 90th minute equaliser.

There is no crisis at Fulham, though many others would have you think otherwise. Yes, Martin Jol's men put in a first half shift that was abysmal beyond the extreme but, with a more positive second period, carried a point away from a ground at which the Whites notoriously fail to overwhelm.

All this was in spite of an injury list that not only depleted Jol's central midfield but left Hugo Rodallega as the only possible option to lead the line - a role in which he is clearly not made for, and as much was proved today. The Colombian worked hard and did as well as we could reasonably believe he could but, what became increasingly obvious was that were either Berbatov or Petric on the field, this game would have been an entirely different affair.

Fulham had much of the possession, even in the first 45 minutes, but clear cut chances were few and far between. After scoring an early goal through Jose Fonte, who headed in from an Adam Lallana corner, Southampton sat back and pressed Fulham particularly well. The Fulham midfield pairing of Chris Baird and Steve Sidwell were hardly creative and Bryan Ruiz, specifically, wasn't proving to be the attacking influence he should be.

He was slow in possession, quite possibly over-thinking every move he made, and was extraordinarily weak in the air. I doubt he won a header throughout the whole match. He did, as always though, show glimpses of his brilliance, but they barely affected the game.

Fonte's goal should have proved a warning to Brede Hangeland and his floundering defence but Fulham's defensive ineptitude continued as Southampton scored from yet another set piece. Thankfully, the goal was disallowed after Mark Schwarzer was impeded but, for a side normally so assured and resilient at the back, Fulham were looking porous and clumsy.

In the second half, the Whites were more progressive, clearly inspired by Jol and some minor tactical tweaks. Steve Sidwell hit the post after Saints' goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga had saved a close range Hugo Rodallega header.

The pressure told before long. John Arne Riise, despite firing the original shot, is still to find his first Premier League goal for Fulham as his powerful drive, which was dragging wide, was fired into the Southampton net by their own Jos Hooiveld.

Home fans silent and away fans raucous, the game swung in Jol's favour. Saints became nervous in possession, much like Fulham had been in the first half, and were gifting the away side various chances.

Kieron Richardson, who had replaced Fulham's only lively player, Alex Kacaniklic, put a Sacha Riether cross over the bar but his moment eventually came. He fired a shot against the unfortunate Hooiveld which took the ball pasts Southampton's Gazzaniga.

It seemed we'd completed our own smash and grab after last week's reverse against Manchester City, but Jose Fonte was having none of it. It was another set piece that would prove our undoing as the defender headed in a Daniel Fox cross after a corner.

The goals was frustrating but it restored parity in a fairly even game.

There's no crisis here, so move along.

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