Fulham draw West Brom 1-1 - Match Recap

Clive Rose

Sometimes a draw feels like a win (0-0 at Stamford Bridge last year). Sometimes a draw feels like a draw. But often, a draw feels like a loss. This is one of those times. Giving up an equalizer in stoppage time really made this game feel like a loss.

When the match started, the Fulham squad seemed well aware of the position they had put themselves into. They seemed much more creative and pushed forward much better than they had so far this season. Richardson and Kacaniklic had some great play on the left, Parker was making some nice through balls, and both Kasami and Ruiz put in some dangerous crosses. All without West Brom posing much of a threat.

It took until the 22nd minute for Fulham to finally break through. The aforementioned Richardson and Kacaniklic combo lead to Richardson winning a corner. Kacaniklic whipped in a good ball which Senderos was able to head down and Sidwell was able to volley it into the net. Say what you will about Sidwell's ability on the ball or propensity to pick up cards, he somehow always seems to be in a good place to score on set pieces.

In the 29th minute West Brom had their best chance when Almafitino crossed in a ball that Brunt headed on goal. Stockdale was right there to save it however. West Brom's most dangerous attacks all seemed to be long crosses from very wide or shots from distance. In the 36th minute Brunt tried the most extreme example of a shot from distance when he attempted to score on a 40 yard free kick, hoping to catch Stockdale unaware. It might have been a good idea, but needed to be executed perfectly; thankfully it was not.

The second half continued in much the same way as the first. Kasami in particular was playing very well. Putting in a cross that could have been called for a handball and then winning the ball back at the top of the box and playing Berbatov in for an apparent goal that was called off for being barely offside. In the 57th minute Ruiz played Berbatov in brilliantly (this time on side), but a good save denied Berbatov from doubling the lead.

In the 65th minute another great ball from Ruiz to Berbatov set up the prettiest almost goal you'll see in a while. But the sideways volley went just over the bar. Just after that Richardson, who had a very good game, was subbed off for Amorebieta. You would think that bringing on an extra defender would calm the game down, but it actually seemed to open up with chances flying at both ends of the pitch. Another goal was pulled back for offside after Ruiz hit the bar and Sidwell was in an offside position.

After Ruiz rolled his ankle in the 88th minute, Duff came on and shortly after West Brom were able to equalize with a header off a corner. And that's how the game would end, a very disappointing 1-1 draw.

I'm not sure how I feel about this game. I thought Fulham thoroughly outplayed West Brom. And only a defensive lapse on a set piece was their undoing. I felt that the team looked much better than they had in the past and seemed to have some ideas as to how to attack. The defense was much better with Richardson playing well on the left. But the fact remains you need points in fixtures like this. You can't dominate at home and settle for a draw against a club you will be fighting for position against. With the Chelsea away match looking like a difficult one to get a result from, Jol is going to need to get results in the next few fixtures. If the team doesn't earn 7 or 8 points from Cardiff and Stoke at home and Crystal Palace and Southampton away, things are going to be dire. 7 points from the next 5 fixtures is the minimum I'll need not to panic.

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