Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Sunday December 23 2007
It`s strange how you can climb two places up the table on the back of a score draw!
A while ago we were contemplating the necessity to get six points out of the two home fixtures against Newcastle and Wigan; we actually got only a solitary point.
However, after the sacking of Lawrie Sanchez on Friday, a point has sort of put a glimmer of a smile back on my face. Okay, we may have two hard away trips to follow but the performance yesterday offered hope.
The player`s were not shell shocked at how events had unfolded instead they gave their full support to Ray Lewington and on any other day would have walked off with three points but then again hasn`t that been the story of our season so far?
Lewington made very few changes in the starting eleven; only the re-emergence of Carlos Bocanegra in place of Dejan Stefanovic caused the merest ripple amongst the Craven Cottage faithful.
The game started competitively with Fulham looking the livelier of the two teams. Indeed, the often much maligned Titus Bramble had to be at his best to deny us magnificently blocking crosses from both Bouazza and Murphy.
Kirkland, in between bouts out due to injury, was also called upon to deny Fulham; one particular save saw him block a Davies shot after a neat ball from Murphy.
Davies then saw his free kick produce a great chance for Kamara but somehow he contrived to screw it wide form all of six yards.
Things were looking good and the Craven Cottage crowd could sense a home win, it seemed only a matter of time before Fulham would take the lead.
Sadly, perhaps it began to sink in it wasn`t going to be when Konchesky strode purposely forward from his own half, with the ball, and crashed it against the bar from all of thirty-five yards. Was it going to be one of those days?
At 0-0 at half time all those all too familiar fears about losing games in the second half began to surface and with twenty minutes to go they were realised when Wigan took a shock lead.
It came through Marcus Bent, a player who had scored a hat trick last weekend. A corner was played into the middle and when Baird couldn`t head it sufficiently clear Bent pounced to net the loose ball.
Fulham could have wilted but refused to and were on level terms eight minutes later. The goal came from Clint Dempsey, his fifth of the season after Kamara miss-hit a cross that the American turned home neatly from fifteen yards out.
As the game moved towards its conclusion Fulham could have snatched a victory. Healy saw a header go wide whilst Kamara had a chance hacked off the line.
Like I said earlier, it might only have been a draw but the fighting spirit displayed gives us all a little hope ahead of the festive programme.
Date:Sunday December 23 2007
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