Fulham lose in stoppage time 2 - 1 on a penalty kick. Mikel Arteta scored the penalty to give Everton the victory. Fulham had the lead at the half. Erik Nevland scored in the first half for Fulham. In the second half, in the opening minutes an own goal by Chris Smalling tied the game at 1 - 1. As stated earlier, very late in stoppage time Everton got their winning goal. There might be some controversy leading up to the final goal of the match. Right before the play that led to the penalty, it looked like Saha might have kicked the ball out of bounds. The assistant indicated that it went off Chris Smalling. This led to a throw in deep in the Fulham half. The play after the throw in saw a header by Saha inside the box go to Cahill. He was swiped by a kick from Chris Baird. A penalty was called and a goal was scored. Fulham lose 2 - 1 at Goodison Park.
Despite the result, Fulham fans should be proud of there team today. There were many changes made to the lineup. There were 9 changes to the starting team. Players like Bjorn Helge Riise, Erik Nevland, Kagisho Digkacoi, John Panstil, Nicky Shorey, Jonathan Greening, Chris Smalling, Stefano Okaka and John Pantsil got a chance to play. To their credit they played hard and gave a huge effort. Even though they did not come away with any points, you could tell the team battled the entire match.
The half began with some real good pressure from Everton. In the very first minute, Tim Cahill had a great strike from just outside of the box. It is saved by Schwarzer. In the second minute, Bilyaletdinov's strike hits the post. This was a from a great pass from Hibbert.
Fulham followed this up with decent pressure. They forced two corners in succession. This happened in the 8th minute of the match. However, shortly afterwards the flow of the game would go back to the advantage of Everton.
They had a few more chances in the first half. In the 11th minute, a cross from Arteta Leads to a header from Cahill. His header goes wide of the net. in the 21st minute, Chris Smalling loses the ball in the box. Thankfully for Fulham Yakubu's shot goes wide. In the 23rd minute, a shot by Cahill right outside of the box is wide.
Fulham would start to move slightly forward. In the 26th minute, a Nevland shot on the left side of the box is blocked by an Everton defender. In the 27th minute a Dikgacoi shot off of play from a corner just goes over the net.
Fulham's chances were not many in the first half. However, they would take advantage of an Everton mistake. In the 35th minute, Baines tries a pass back to Tim Howard. It is intercepted by Erik Nevland. He strikes the ball past Howard. Surprisingly Fulham are up 1 - 0. Fulham actually tried to make it 2- 0. In the 45th minute, an Okaka pass leads to shot by Clint Dempsey. He was right in front of Howard. Unfortunately his shot goes over the net.
There is no question that Everton controlled the play of the game in the first half. It took a mistake by Everton for Fulham to take the lead. Fulham lead at the half 1 - 0.
The second half began with great pressure from Everton. It did not take them long to get the equalizer. In the 49th minute, a ball is deflected off of Chris Smalling and into the net. The play started with a pass from Arteta that goes to Anichebe. Initially it looked like he headed the ball into the net. However, after a review of the play his header was then deflected to Smalling and the ball went into the net. The game was now tied 1 - 1.
Everton would have some great pressure in this second half. Fulham actually got very fortunate starting in the 70th minute. First, Jonathan Greening's header almost goes into his own net. If it did Fulham would have given up 2 own goals. The very next minute, a Saha header bounces off of Clint Dempsey and just goes wide. This was play off of a corner kick. Fulham were very lucky in both situations not to give up a goal.
Fulham now would have two great chances of there own to score. First, in the 74th minute, Clint Demspey makes a nice run. He runs into the box with the ball. He was defended well by Baines and did not get a shot off. He was led by a nice Erik Nevland pass. Second, Stefano Okaka had the opportunity of the match. In a counter attack, Fulham were flying down the field. The play was started by a great long pass from Dempsey that went to Eric Nevland. He then passed it to Okaka who probably shot it too quickly. Tim Howard ended up making an easy save. Okaka was one on one with Howard. He might have rushed his shot.
The action would lead up to the dramatic finish of this match in stoppage time. There would be 3 minutes added to the end of the game. Everton actually had one other great chance to score early in stoppage time . A Louis Saha header hits the side of the net.
As we were getting to the very end of the match a controversial play happened. It looked like Louis Saha knocked the ball out bounds deep in the Fulham half. The assistant said it went off of Chris Smalling. This led to a throw in. As the play went on Louis Saha headed the ball back towards the net. Chris Baird took a swipe kick and hit Tim Cahill. The referee called for a penalty kick. Mikel Arteta scored the final goal of the match past Mark Schwarzer . Fulham lost a heart-breaker 2 - 1.
Even though Fulham lost this match the club battled and played hard. They showed great effort today. It was an unfortunate result for the Cottagers.