FULHAM survived a furious late onslaught to take a rare point at Arsenal – but how close they came to going one better.
The Whites are still searching for a first away win against the Gunners after more than 100 years of trying, and thought they had finally cracked the enigma code with eight minutes to play.
But then Thomas Vermaelen – whose 65 th minute own goal had raised hopes of a famous win – made amends for his earlier error by heading in a deep cross from Theo Walcott.
Given the relentless pressure that goal brought on in the final minutes, it has to been seen as a good point in the end for Martin Jol's men.
A scruffy own goal it may have been which put Fulham ahead, but none of the 3,000 who travelled up from west London will care too much about that.
Danny Murphy played a delicate chip forward that John Arne Riise raced on to, but before the defender could get his shot away, Vermaelen obligingly stepped in to beat his own keeper.
If the key to hopes of an historic first win at the Emirates was keeping the on-fire Robin Van Persie quiet, then Fulham must have believed this might be their day when the Dutchman – scoring a goal a game at the moment – cut inside two defenders and drilled a low shot that Chris Baird, on the line, somehow kept out.
Equally important was the fine instinctive save made by Mark Schwarzer to keep out a Johan Gjourou header from a corner.
Fulham, always well organised, survived a couple of scary moments in the first half, but were never cut to ribbons, in spite of the home side's anticipated monopoly of possession.
Schwarzer made a wonderful one-handed save to keep out an Aaron Ramsey toe-poke early on, but would have had little chance had the young Gunner not skied the chance of the half from inside the box.
It came after Walcott had fired the after-burners to give Riise and Murphy the slip in one electrifying movement.
But Jol's men were given plenty of reason to believe they could lay claim to an historic win – Bobby Zamora turning Vermaelen to fire over from just outside the box and Moussa Dembele stinging the palms of Wojciech Szczesny after Clint Dempsey had found the Belgian overlapping on the left.
Line-up: Schwarzer; Baird, Hangeland, Senderos, Riise; Ruiz (Kasami 76), Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey: Zamora (Johnson 78), Dembele. Subs not used: Etheridge, Briggs, Frei, Gecov, Hughes.