Chris Coleman professed himself disappointed after Fulham twice led at Motherwell but were forced to settle for a draw following two equalisers from summer signing Alex Burns.
The Fulham boss handed a start to summer signing Jerome Bonnisel, who spent six months with Rangers last term, after he signed a permanent deal following a successful trial. The Whites went in front on sixteen minutes when Motherwell couldn’t clear a corner and Steed Malbranque squeezed in a cross from the left and Louis Saha stretched to steer a finish beyond debutant goalkeeper Barry John Corr.
The visitors might have gone two in front when a dreadful mix-up between Stephen Craigan and David Patridge allowed Saha another sight of goal but the Frenchman’s volley was smartly saved by Corr. Motherwell had been decidedly second best for much of the first half but Burns carried their greatest threat, starting a fine move that culminated in Stephen Pearson’s shot being deflected behind. Edwin van der Sar had to be decisive to punch away a Derek Adams free-kick, but the Dutchman was sent the wrong way from the penalty spot by Burns five minutes before half time after Alain Goma had pulled down David Clarkson in a panic.
Motherwell might have gone in front in strange fashion just after the break. A high ball appeared to pose little threat to the Fulham goal but Martin Djetou got far too much on a simple backheader and the scrambling van der Sar just about managed to prevent an own goal by clawing the ball to safety.
Coleman’s men were enjoying much more of the ball but it took a defensive calamity for Fulham to regain the lead. Pearson, who is expected to stay at Fir Park despite having submitted a transfer request earlier this summer, dwelt on the ball for far too long, allowing Steve Marlet to strip him of possession and surge into the area. The French forward clinically drove a finish under the helpless Corr.
James McFadden, heavily linked with both of the Old Firm this summer, came off the bench to enliven Motherwell with a classy cameo. The 20 year-old showed no ill effects from the niggling ankle injury that has plagued his pre-season and might have scored an equaliser himself were it not for van der Sar being equal to two efforts from distance. McFadden had to settle for making the late leveller for Burns, supplying a sublime pass after a lovely shimmy took him away from Zesh Rehman as Burns ensured Terry Butcher’s side secured a hearting share of the spoils.
“I’m delighted to get a result against such high-quality opposition,” said Butcher. “Pre-season friendlies are notoriously bad barometers, but we’ve been unbeaten and looked good. It was great to see James back, and I’m hopeful of hanging on to him all season.”
MOTHERWELL (4-4-2): Corr; Corrigan, Craigan, Partridge, Hammell; Lasley, Adams, Pearson, Craig (MacDonald 71); Burns, Clarkson (McFadden 67).
GOALS: Burns (pen 40, 89).
FULHAM (4-3-3): van der Sar; Leacock, Bonnissel (Green 87), Djetou, Rehman; Legwinski, Clark, Inamoto; Marlet (Buari 73), Malbranque (Boa Morte 57), Saha (Hayles 73).
GOALS: Saha (18), Marlet (60).
REFEREE: Eddie Mack