Fulham’s style earns point against Rangers substance
The Cottagers were forced to play a QPR style match in the first half and for the early part of the second, the hosts’ pressing meant they struggled to play pleasing on the eye football that is their trademark.
Patience was rewarded as they grew more influential the mo the game opened up to claim a share of the spoils.
Tom Cairney finally makes his mark in more ways than one
Rangers did their homework well on Fulham’s playmaker, subjecting him to some tough tackles and starving him of the ball for long periods in the first half.
He gradually worked himself free of the pressing game implied by the hosts to claim the assist for the equaliser, but was lucky to stay on the pitch for a stoppage-time shove on Ryan Manning which should have seen a red.
Penalty pain strikes again
Chris Martin’s first-half miss was the latest in a collection of misses for the Whites from the spot this season. The playoff challenge may depend on finding a reliable scorer from 12 yards.
The game exploded in added on time with a touchline scrap between players and coaching staff - and then seconds later on the pitch.
Now the facts...
An otherwise trouble free game ended with only a yellow for Fulham's Tom Cairney when the referee could have shown a clutch of cards to both sides.
Sensibly, Keith Stroud blew for the end seconds after that - and in truth the incidents were out of keeping with the rest of the game.
Fulham asked all the questions - but QPR had most of the answers.
The better football side passed for fun, but Rangers spirit deservedly saw them take a share of the spoils after Ryan Manning celebrated a debut goal only to see it cancelled out by Chris Martin's second-half equaliser.
It was just as well for the Derby loanee, after Alex Smithies saved his penalty on seven minutes.
His guess right in both senses saw him divert Martin's kick around a post. It was the third time this season against the Whites and against three different takers.
Whites must be sick of the sight of him.
And it got worse before it got better for Whites.
The 20- year-old Irishman has signed a two-and-a-half year extension, tying him to the club until the summer of 2019.
Sylla dithered on the right after Kalas let the ball go under him, but defender and keeper were back to smother a ponderous drive at goal from the Rs striker.
An even worse blunder led to the goal.
McDonald was cornered and all but tickled the ball towards Button. Manning picked up the stray, and clipped it passed Button whose despairing hand only slowed the ball's progress over the line rather than stop it.
The 20- year-old Irishman only signed a two-and-a-half year extension, tying him to the club until the summer of 2019 yesterday.
Fulham pressure finally found a release valve when the irrepressible Cairney carved out an inch and fired left footed to see the ball deflected off Nedum Onuoha and then Martin and passed Smithies.
Aluko saw a great effort tipped over, and sub Conor Washington needed David Button to save at the second attempt, before all hell let loose right at the death and out of a blue cloudless sky.
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