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Watford survived a ferocious first-half onslaught in an incident-packed Barclays Premiership clash with Fulham to leave Craven Cottage with a point from a goalless draw.

The Cottagers were guilty of wasting a host of chances before the interval when Brian McBride, Carlos Bocanegra, Heidar Helguson and Tomasz Radzinski should have broken the deadlock.

Watford had chances, but Fulham could have snatched victory late in the game, while Watford were reduced to 10 men when Tamas Priskin was shown a second yellow card.

The match was marred by a worrying injury to Fulham goalkeeper Antti Niemi, who landed on his head after jumping high to punch clear a Watford long ball in the second half.

Niemi required treatment for seven minutes before being placed in the recovery position and stretchered from the pitch.

Watford revealed shortly before kick-off that they had signed 19-year-old striker Moses Ashikodi from Rangers for a nominal fee following a successful two-week trial.

The Hornets have suffered from a shortage of firepower with strikers Hameur Bouazza and Marlon King in the treatment room and it was hoped Ashikodi would plug the gap.

Fulham created the first chance, with Moritz Volz, who scored the Premiership’s 15,000th goal on Saturday, charging through midfield and feeding Radzinski.

The Canada international rounded Adrian Mariappa and supplied McBride, but the veteran striker could not keep his shot down.

Fulham thought they had scored in the seventh minute, but Helguson’s effort was ruled out with the Icelandic striker just offside.

Anthony McNamee headed straight into the stands after Mariappa had made ground down the right as Watford enjoyed a promising spell.

Watford keeper Ben Foster shook his head in dismay as a Fulham corner found Bocanegra unmarked at the far post with the nearest opponent three metres away.

But the USA defender dragged his shot wide and Radzinski squandered another excellent chance moments later after being sent into space by Volz.

Tenacious work from Volz and a slippery run by Franck Queudrue opened up Watford once more, but Radzinski tried to square the ball to McBride when he should have shot.

Radzinski made amends by setting up McBride, whose header sailed wide as Fulham poured forward at will.

Watford were clinging on grimly as McBride nodded off target once again and then Foster arrived in the nick of time to deny Helguson as he was about to connect with Volz’s flick-on header.

Helguson was denied by the linesman’s flag for a second time in the 34th minute when he stuck the ball in the net, but Michael Brown’s slight header appeared to have played him offside.

The only threat Watford posed was on the counter and one fast attack ripped Fulham open, McNamee escaping down the left and then picking out Smith, who nodded a glorious chance over the bar.

Tamas Priskin stabbed wide and then went close again as Watford continued to find space in Fulham’s defence.

Watford, buoyed by their success towards the end of the first half, emerged fired-up from the interval and went desperately close in the 52nd minute.

Jordan Stewart set off on a marauding run won the left and delivered a superb ball to the far side of the area, where Bangura was waiting but the midfielder hit the post.

Play was brought to a half in the 54th minute when Niemi suffered what appeared to be a serious head/neck injury.

Niemi went to clear the ball following a minor tussle between Rosenior and Darius Henderson in the area but fell awkwardly and was stretchered off, with Jan Lastuvka coming on as his replacement.

When play resumed, referee Steve Bennett awarded Fulham a free-kick, but there was no hint of foul play for the incident.

Henderson directed a gilt-edged chance straight at Lastuvka, with Watford beginning to gain the upper hand, and Fulham boss Chris Coleman replaced Routledge with Luis Boa Morte in a bid to redress the balance.

Boa Morte sent a ball across the face of goals, but McBride and Helguson both missed, and the Portuguese winger then nearly scored himself following a determined run.

Chances were falling at both ends, with Radzinski missing another sitter, but his blunder was bettered by substitute Collins John, who rounded Foster but then shot wide.

Henderson hit the post, but then Priskin was sent off for Watford after picking up a second yellow card for pulling back Queudrue’s shirt, the final meaningful act of a pulsating finish.

Fulham: Niemi (Lastuvka 61), Rosenior, Bocanegra, Christanval, Queudrue, Routledge (Boa Morte 66), Brown, Volz, Radzinski, Helguson, McBride (John 78).
Subs Not Used: Runstrom, Zakuani.

Booked: Radzinski (66,d).

Watford: Foster, Mariappa, Shittu (Mackay 34), DeMerit, Stewart, Smith (Henderson 46), Mahon, Bangura, McNamee (Francis 90), Young, Priskin.
Subs Not Used: Lee, Doyley.

Sent Off: Priskin (90).

Booked: Young, Priskin.

Att: 19,698

Ref: S Bennett (Kent).