Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday February 6 2010
Memories of last season came flooding back as Fulham carved out a 0-0 draw at the Reebok Stadium this afternoon.
It wasn`t a pretty affair, in fact for long, long periods it was a dour battle with very chances few and far between.
But, the point will be a valuable one as Roy Hodgson contemplates life, for the remainder of the season, with an injury hit squad.
After entering the match without the services of John Pantsil, Paul Konchesky, Clint Dempsey, Simon Davies, Zoltan Gera and Andrew Johnson, Roy was dealt a further blow when Bobby Zamora was also ruled out through injury.
The late withdrawal of Zamora meant that Fulham started with an unusual looking front two of Erik Nevland and David Elm. Stefano Okaka, signed on transfer deadline day, was on the bench along with Manchester United`s latest acquisition, Chris Smalling.
Having ended a run of five games without a win with a narrow 1-0 victory over Portsmouth, in midweek, Fulham seemed content to frustrate Bolton for large periods of the game today.
Both sides were guilty of conceding possession far too easily in the first half and we had to wait until almost the half hour mark for the first decent effort on target.
Bolton, through a Matthew Taylor free kick, saw Ricketts flick the ball on and Mark Schwarzer was forced to make a comfortable save. As the half eased towards a conclusion, Bolton created the next best chance of the half when a Kevin Davies header eluded Brede Hangeland only for Mark Davies to shoot wide.
If you had to award the first half a mark, you`d struggle to get past two or three out of ten.
Bolton started the second half looking a little sharper and Lee started to look a threat. Early on in the half he stabbed a chance wide and the when he exchanged passes with Cohen a delay whilst he tried to fool Schwarzer was comfortably read and Schwarzer was able to make a save.
Fulham, on a rare foray deep into Bolton territory, saw a Nicky Shorey free kick deflected over the bar whilst the best move of the match, carved out by the home side, almost broke the tedious deadlock.
A long ball to Davies saw the ball fed to Elmander but although his shot beat Schwarzer it also beat the post.
But the game was to end in controversy. Lee, one of Bolton`s better players, found Davies and when he netted there was uproar when Mark Clattenburg disallowed the goal for a foul on Brede Hangeland. Even the centre back looked a little bemused by it.
Then again bemused is quite a good word to describe the whole game. It promised much but delivered so little. A point gained though and time to move on.
Date:Saturday February 6 2010
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