clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Match Recap - Fulham 1-1 Derby

A spirited display from Fulham on a blustery day at the Cottage, but still no win for Jokanovic

Ker Robertson/Getty Images

Jokanovic is still chasing his first win after a 1-1 draw against Derby, but fans left a blustery Craven Cottage encouraged by a spirited display.

Fulham lined up with a straightforward 4-4-2. Ince was given a debut alongside O'Hara in midfield and there was a return for Amorebieta who was installed at the heart of defence alongside Burn. McCormack and Dembele started up front as if the transfer window had never happened. New signing Labyad started, and finished, on the bench.

It was clear from the beginning of the game that players were instructed hassle Derby all across the pitch. This alone showed a hunger that was lacking at Fulham under Symons, and the fans were grateful for it. Derby had the better of the first 15 minutes, clipping the crossbar with a header from a dangerous cross form the impressive Russell.

In one of Fulham's first passages of play, a gentle sweeping move involving Dembele, McCormack, Cairney, Christensen and the overlapping Garbutt resulted in a drilled in cross which was rather comically ran into the net by two blundering Derby players. The fans didn't mind and the goal sparked Fulham into account. Better passages of play followed, interspersed with a more aggressive Fulham.

Amorebieta made an excellent return to the side, winning a rather vicious battle with the burly Martin, putting him onto the floor three times in the first half. The odd rash challenge is par for his course, but on this showing, Jokanovic has made a shrewd "signing" by bringing him back from his loan.

Dembele and McCormack linked up well in the first half and will be disappointed that they were not able to convert some of the opportunities the game and the swirling winds gave to them.

On the stroke of half time, an efficient and effective move led to a ball over to the top, volleyed cross and an unstoppable volley from Bryson. This was harsh on Fulham, who had the better of the game since the goal. 1-1 was a fair result on the balance of play.

Despite playing into the wind, Fulham put in a decent second half performance. Ince was substituted at half time after an ok debut. Cairney moved into the middle and Kacaniklic played on the right. Fulham had largely lost the midfield battle in the first half, sitting unnecessarily deep given that Baird was playing a similar role for Derby. O'Hara was uncharacteristically wasteful on the ball and the game largely passed him by. Cairney however came to life in the centre of midfield and on this showing it would be difficult not to keep him there. He was excellent in possession, driving us forward and being composed across the pitch.

Kackaniklic was also a positive introduction. He caused problems each time he went forward, showing quick feet and desire as he toiled to create chances. After another flowing move, he had Fulham's only shot on target in the second half, which was saved quite easily by Carson.

Smith replaced Dembele and showed good link up play with McCormack to play him through on two occasions. Unfortunately McCormack's shot was blocked in one instance, and his touch let him down on the next. McCormack put in an industrious performance today and on another day he could have scored a couple of goals. He was particularly wasteful in the final minutes of the match when substitute Parker put him through with an incisive pass. McCormack struck the side netting with a rash shot, rather than squaring the ball to Smith.

Prior to this, Derby had come very close on a number of occasions. Lonergan produced two terrific saves, tipping over from distance and made the save of the game denying Russell who was clean through after Richards had misjudged a long ball over his head.

The impressive Cairney had fans on their feet in the 88th minute, as he breezed forward and unleashed a curling shot that was destined to be the winner, only to go agonisingly wide.

A defeat would have been cruel on Fulham, but was very possible in a pulsating last 15 minutes. Despite having very few shots on target, there was a lot of positive play for the fans to be encouraged by. QPR next week and on this showing, Fulham will go into that game with a sense of belief.

The answer today was not blowing in the wind. But at least Fulham under Jokanovic seem to be asking the right questions.