Chris Coleman was furious after Fulham were denied a win at Middlesbrough when Rob Styles awarded a last-gasp penalty to the hosts, despite the offence being clearly outside the penalty area.
Brian McBride appeared to have won three points for the visitors after a poacher’s finish late on, but Styles gave a spot-kick after Edwin van der Sar and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink collided chasing a high ball despite the incident occurring well outside the box. Boulo Zenden smashed home the penalty from twelve yards and an angry Coleman had to be restrained by his staff and players after storming onto the field at the final whistle.
Fulham were on the front foot from the off in the north east and McBride should have done better than head Mark Pembridge’s free-kick wide on eight minutes. John spurned another chance provided by the Welshman’s set piece delivery, shooting over from twelve yards before McBride – who looked offside – headed Luis Boa Morte’s cross over from eight yards.
Fulham continued to be in the ascendancy after the break. Boa Morte bent a brilliant free-kick just over the bar on the hour and Boro finally began to put some pressure on the Fulham goal after that. Hasselbaink flicked a header past the far post after connecting with Zenden’s deep cross and then claimed a penalty after going down under Zat Knight’s challenge.
Fulham finally hit the front with eight minutes remaining. Tomasz Radzinski found McBride in the box and the American’s powerful low drive beat Jones and nestled in the far corner. But, with the visitors seconds away from a rare win on the road, Styles inexplicably gave the penalty and – after minutes of protests from incredulous Fulham players – Zenden rescued a point from the spot.
MIDDLESBROUGH (4-4-2): Jones, Cooper (Kennedy 86), Southgate, Ehiogu, Queudru; Parlour, Boateng, Zenden, Downing; Hasselbaink, Nemeth. Subs (not used): D. Knight, Davies, Wheater, Doriva.
GOAL: Zenden (pen 90).
FULHAM (4-4-2): van der Sar; Volz, Rosenior, Knight, Goma; Pembridge, Clark, Radzinski, Boa Morte; John (Malbranque 82), McBride. Subs (not used): Crossley, Bocanegra, Rehman, Jensen.
GOAL: McBride (82).
REFEREE: Rob Styles (Hampshire).