Fulham were held away from home for the second match in succession as plucky Crewe Alexandra claimed a point at Gresty Road tonight but Paul Bracewell was more worried by the injuries suffered by strikers Geoff Horsfield and Paul Peschisolido.

The Whites were counting the cost of losing two of their key goalscorers inside the first 22 minutes. Canadian international Peschisolido, Fulham’s first million-pound player, limped off having injured an hamstring in the early stages and he was swiftly followed by Horsfield, who came off worst in a clash with Crewe defender Chris Lightfoot. Bracewell admitted afterwards that the pair could miss Saturday’s meeting with Norwich City at Craven Cottage.

Fulham, stung by defeat to Wolves and a frustrating draw at Huddersfield on Saturday, began brightly imposing themselves on this contest from the off. It was no surprise when the Cottagers drew first blood in the tenth minute with Chris Coleman climbing highest to head home after the hosts had failed to clear a corner from Steve Hayward. Former Crewe midfielder Wayne Collins then wasted two good chances to extend the visitors’ lead – and the Londoners were made to pay in the fourth minute of first-half injury time.

Marcus Bignot’s cross into the area was deflected into the path of Colin Little and the Crewe striker rolled home a first-time finish from six yards out. Little was twice denied by Maik Taylor in a very open second half, but the Alex were arguably fortunate to escape with a point after several late Fulham flurries. Jason Kearton came to their rescue with a wonderful save to deny Lee Clark and sprawled at the feet of Hayward after the midfielder latched onto a flick on from Karl-Heinz Riedle.

Crewe manager Dario Gradi was delighted to claim a point. He admitted after the final whistle:

“I thought Fulham had the edge over us, and their quality wore us down a bit.”

CREWE ALEXANDRA (4-3-3): Kearton; Smith, Wright, Bignot, Lightfoot; Sorvel, Street, Lunt; Little, Cramb, Jack. Subs (not used): Welsby, Macauley, Unsworth, Charnock, Smith.

BOOKED: Cramb.

GOAL: Little (45+4).

FULHAM (5-3-2): Taylor; Uhlenbeek, Brevett, Morgan, Symons, Coleman; Trollope, Hayward, Clark; Horsfield (W. Collins 22), Peschisolido (Riedle 14). Subs (not used): Hahnemann, Neilson, Davis.

BOOKED: Brevett.

GOAL: Coleman (10).

REFEREE: Mike Cowburn (Lancashire).