Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Sunday April 19 2009
Fulham continued their good recent away form with a resolute defensive showing up at the Riverside Stadium to earn a share of the spoils.
Whilst many were hoping for a third successive away victory on the trot it has to be said that a return of 7 points out of a possible 9 on the road belies the problems we were suffering from earlier in the season whereby we couldn`t buy a decent result away from Craven Cottage.
Okay, so we may have lived dangerously with Mark Schwarzer proving that he is still a top-notch keeper with a string of fine saves but then again we could have, as the game approached its final moments, pinched all three points.
Sadly, the point, depending on how you view matters, did nothing to suggest we`ll be the last Premier League team to make the inaugural Europa League next season.
As suspected Roy Hodgson went for his tried and trusted starting eleven for the trip to the Riverside of Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Davies, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey, Johnson and Zamora.
Middlesbrough, desperately seeking to pull away from the relegation end of the table, created the better chances with Aaron Hughes doing well to block a Downing shot and then to repeat the feat when Alves threatened.
At the other end Zamora could have opened the scoring for us but couldn`t quite connect and perhaps it was an indication of how our luck might be going with regards to scoring when Andrew Johnson saw his shot deflect against a post and roll along the line before being hacked clear.
After the break, Middlesbrough went up through the gears trying to force that opening goal but Schwarzer, on his return to the Riverside, thwarted attempts from Tuncay, Downing and McMahon.
Luck also went our way when Etuhu survived claims for a penalty after he appeared to block a shot with his arm but the storm had been weathered and as our hosts tired we could have snatched a win.
Dempsey saw a shot go wide, Zamora just failed to reach an enticing cross and a block from Bates prevented the same player from settling the game late on.
Honours even and still all to play for as far as qualification for the Europa League goes.
Date:Sunday April 19 2009
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