16 games. That's all that hangs in the balance between promotion and another season in the- never mind, it's way too early for that.
Fulham were sadly beaten 3-1 by Bolton Wanderers at their Macron Stadium today. Shaun Hutchinson was the first to provide a goal, but a first half ET equaliser, and 2 goals within the last 10 minutes of the game shot Bolton up and straight past the Cottagers.
The game got off to a fair start, with good attempts from Hugo Rodallega, Seko Fofana, and of course, Ross McCormack in the first 10 minutes of the first half. Not to say that there weren't any attempts from the home side, however, as Bolton managed to squeeze in a few attempts from right back Josh Vela and and Midfielder Liam Feeney, the latter of which forced Bettinelli into action, punching away a cross. There was a handball situation where Nikolay Bodurov blocked Eiður Gudjohnsen close range shot in the 13th minute, but referee Gary Sutton decided to ignore it.
The main break in the game occured in the 21st minute, where Lasse Vigen Christensen managed to recieve the ball after a botched attempt at the near post by Bodurov, the ball coming from Ross McCormack's corner. LVC passed from the edge of the box to Alexander Kačaniklić, who then skillfully tapped the ball to Hutchinson, the young Scot proving a light finish from 6 yards.
Another few attempts came from both teams, Kacaniklic almost passing through to Rodallega, unfortunately however the Swede hit the pass with little power at the perfect time. Ross McCormack again got a chance on goal to make it 2-0 in the 32nd, as Christensen’s dummy let Jack Grimmer's cross find Number 44, but the effort was off to the side.
Bolton almost equalised when Ryan Tunnicliffe let down his posession, but Bettinelli managed to parry away Gudjohnsen’s 20yard attempt. McCormack and Rodallega sped through the Bolton defence, and a clever one-two almost gave another chance on goal, but, with the shot underpowered, skipper Andrew Lonergan made a one-handed save.
A late first half penalty shout for handball against Bodurov occured when he again found himself in the way of Gudjohnsen's cross to right back Vela. However, the defender's hands were found to be by his sides, and the handball wasn't given.
Gudjohnsen had played great during the first half, and his chance came in the 44th minute when teenage midfielder Saidy Janko’ cross found the Icelandic forward six yards out. This goal bought Bolton's attacking momentum forward during the second half.
The second half featured Bolton launching a full scale attack, as striker Adam Le Fondre took his first shot at goal on the 52nd minute, but fired wide, and Vela’s long-range strike was deflected and flew past the post. From the resulting corner, Le Fondre launched a volley toward the net which beat Bettinelli but Konstantinos Stafylidis was there to deny the shot with a goal-line clearance.
More attempts came from Bolton as David Wheater and Le Fondre both took attempts on goal, Bettinelli scrambling from side to side to stop both attempts.
Substitutions for this half came from Fulham as Kit Symonds brought on Scott Parker, Cauley Woodrow and George Wiliams to replace Fofana, Rodallega and Kacaniklic, respectively.
The game-winner and extra goal came in the last 10 minutes of the game, the first coming from Janko's 25-yard shot after the Trotters' pressure finally paid off. The nail in the coffin happened in the 89th minute, when Bettinelli's miskick left Le Fondre with an easy finish to make the score 3-1.
This game was the first that Bolton won against Fulham in eight years, and helped move them up to 13th place on the table, while Fulham dropped down to 18th. With 17 points between 18th place and playoff contention, the Cottagers face Ipswich Town on Saturday at Craven Cottage. COYW!