Fulham had to settle for a point at the Reebok Stadium – despite having the better of a dreary goalless encounter with Bolton Wanderers this afternoon.
Both of these sides are desperate for more potency in attack and this forgettable encounter showed exactly why. Henrik Pedersen squandered three good chances to score for the home side, whilst Facundo Sava had a goal disallowed for offside and Steed Malbranque missed a glorious opportunity to register a rare away win for Fulham. Jean Tigana’s side stay sixteenth in the Premiership table, with their hosts just a place below them – only a point above Sunderland in the relegation zone.
All of that is too close for comfort. Wanderers, with Youri Djorkaeff back in their side and new signing Delroy Facey making a first league start, did make most of the early running. Pedersen set the tone for the afternoon by failing to test Maik Taylor from eight yards, although Jay-Jay Okocha brought the Northern Ireland international into action with a threatening free-kick from thirty yards out. Pedersen then held off Steve Finnan to reach a long ball but fired way over the top.
Fulham were much stronger in the second period. Louis Saha, making a first start in six weeks, stung Juusi Jaaskelainen’s palms with a powerful volley shortly after the restart. The visitors thought they had gone ahead when Sava forced the ball over the line from close range following Saha’s clever flick on but the celebrations were cut short by an offside flag. Fulham were now dominant and Steed Malbranque held his head in horror after missing the target having been picked out by Bjarne Goldbaek.
Bolton might have won it late on but the luckless Pedersen missed another great chance having got ahead of Alan Goma to get on the end of a Per Frandsen cross. Frustration all around – and a surfeit of poor finishing – meant both sides had to share the spoils, which wasn’t ideal for either of these relegation-threatened clubs.
BOLTON WANDERERS (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen, Charlton, Bergsson, Campo, Barness, Frandsen, Okocha (Walters 83), Gardner, Djorkaeff, Pedersen, Facey (Nolan 69). Subs (not used): Poole, Whitlow, Tofting.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Taylor; Finnan, Brevett, Goma, Djetou; Davis, Legwinski, Goldbaek, Malbranque; Saha, Sava (Boa Morte 65). Subs (not used): Herrera, Melville, Collins, Hammond.
BOOKED: Finnan, Sava.
REFEREE: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).