Fulham and Charlton Athletic played out a dour goalless draw at Craven Cottage this afternoon.
The visitors are likely to be the more disappointed of the two sides as the result leaves them two points outside the top six and Alan Curbishley’s side clearly dominated the contest. Fulham might feel fortunate to have emerged with a point on the balance of play, but the draw maintains their six point cushion above the drop zone.
Charlton made the brighter start with Danny Murphy freeing Paul Konchesky on the left but Shaun Bartlett fluffed a good chance from the full back’s low cross, allowing Liam Rosenior to clear from underneath his own crossbar. Zat Knight had Fulham’s first two openings – going close with a header and then a thumping shot in quick succession. Minutes later, Edwin van der Sar sprung into action to deny Bartlett from close range with a fabulous reaction save as the South African international looked certain to break the deadlock.
Both sides threatened before the interval with Rosenior getting well forward and nearly picking out Andy Cole in a crowded penalty whilst Konchesky headed into the side netting having snuck into the penalty area unmarked. The second half was an altogether more cagey affair. Claus Jensen, booed throughout by the travelling Charlton fans, whipped in a trademark free kick that Alain Goma nodded towards goal and Dean Kiely made a smart save. van der Sar kept out a strike from Kishishev before Kiely made a brave block from Luis Boa Morte.
Curbishley’s side kept pushing for a winner and van der Sar pulled off a brilliant save to prevent Konchesky from breaking the deadlock with a screamer from the edge of the box. Fulham’s final chance fell to Boa Morte, who was kept quiet for most of the afternoon, but the Portuguese winger’s shot was blocked by Hermann Hreidarsson.
FULHAM (4-3-3): van der Sar; Rosenior, Bocanegra, Knight, Goma; Diop, Clark, Jensen (John 73); Malbranque, Boa Morte, Cole. Subs (not used): Crossley, Legwinski, Radzinski.
BOOKED: Boa Morte, Goma, Cole.
CHARLTON ATHLETIC (4-4-2): Kiely, Young, Perry, El Karkouri, Hreidarsson, Konchesky, Kishishev, Murphy, Holland, Thomas (Johansson 75), Bartlett. Subs (not used): Fish, Euell, Jeffers, Andersen.
BOOKED: Kishishev, El Karkouri.
REFEREE: Steve Bennett (Kent).