If anything was the opposite of the famous goal glut of Boxing Day 1963, when Fulham thrashed Ipswich Town 10-1 and Graham Leggat grabbed the fastest ever Football League hat-trick, it was this game. Fulham were laboured and so limited in the final third that they barely tested Richard Wright in the visiting goal until the very last minute, when substitute Paul Peschisolido seized on a short back pass from Fabian Wilnis only to denied by a smart save from the impressive young goalkeeper.

A fourth goalless draw in a row despite boasting one of the First Division’s most formidable collection of forwards will not have impressed an impatient Mohamed Al-Fayed. Fulham’s fans have gone from watching the adventurous football of Kevin Keegan, whose side won the Second Division at a canter before he decamped to the England job on a permanent basis, to the ponderous and far too patient stuff preferred by Paul Bracewell. The current boss looks very inch a novice and you wonder just how long he’ll remain in situ at Craven Cottage.

It said everything about how comfortable Ipswich were by the banks of the Thames that were disappointed to not to take all three points having easily extended their unbeaten run to nine matches. George Burley’s side nullified their hosts having matched Fulham’s three centre halves with a similar set-up. John McGreal was outstanding at the heart of their defence, having quickly put a horrible moment where he almost sliced Barry Hayles’ cross into his own net midway through the first half.

David Johnson kept Fulham’s back line busy with a serious of shrewd runs before he succumbed to an untimely hamstring injury. Ipswich might easily have had a penalty when Richard Naylor appeared to be tripped by Steve Finnan in the area, only for those appeals to be waved away. Wilnis went closest for the visitors when his rasping drive glanced the outside of the post as it whizzed just wide of Maik Taylor’s goal.

FULHAM (5-3-2): Taylor; Finnan, Brevett (Uhlenbeek 69), Morgan, Symons, Melville; Hayward (Ball 62), W. Collins, Clark; Horsfield (Peschisolido 45), Hayles. Subs (not used): Hahnemann, Trollope.

BOOKED: Clark.

IPSWICH TOWN (5-3-2): R. Wright; Wilnis, Naylor, McGreal, Mowbray, Brown; Magilton, Clapham, Holland; Johnson (Midgley 80), Scowcroft. Subs (not used): Salmon, Venus, J. Wright, Stockwell.

BOOKED: Mowbray.

REFEREE: Andy Hall (West Midlands)