A stoppage time equaliser from substitute Cauley Woodrow saved a point for Fulham against Huddersfield Town this afternoon – as the home fans called for the head of manager Kit Symons.
Nahki Wells had clinically driven the visitors in front in the second half, but Woodrow struck with seconds remaining – reacting quickest in the area after a long ball dropped kindly for him. The young striker’s predatory finish didn’t prevent a loud chorus of ‘Symons out’ from sections of the Craven Cottage crowd, with pressure building on Symons – at the start of his first full season in charge having succeeded Felix Magath – as the Whites have failed to win any of their first four games.
The chants against the previously popular former defender, who won two promotions as Fulham raced through the Football League on their way to the top flight, began after only eighteen minutes following another ropey start from the hosts. Jacob Butterfield, the subject of a couple of failed bids from Derby earlier this week, was denied by Andy Lonergan after lining up a long-range effort and, although Harry Bunn was quickest to the rebound, he couldn’t force the follow-up home.
Fulham were fitful in attack again – after an insipid first half at Hull in midweek – only threatening when Dan Burn was denied by a sharp save from Joe Murphy. They had no joy breaking down a well-organised Huddersfield defence so summer signing Jamie O’Hara had a go from distance, with Murphy making another excellent stop. But the visitors were winning the midfield battle with Butterfield coming close to break the deadlock after a fine shimmy but his drive was kept out by Lonergan.
Chris Powell’s side continued to look the likelier scorers after the interval with Sean Scannell spurning a good opportunity after a fortune ricochet left him with a shooting chance, but the winger’s weak effort was easily fielded by a busy Lonergan. Fulham didn’t create much in open play with Ross McCormack’s dead-ball deliveries the only thing that seemed to discomfort the Terriers’ defence. The Scot found Moussa Dembele with a floated free-kick but the French forward’s header was repelled by Murphy.
Huddersfield went straight up the other end to take the lead. Wells demonstrated his goal scoring prowess by racing onto a beautiful Bunn through ball to fire past Lonergan with ease. As the boos began to ring around Fulham’s historic home, things almost got worse for Symons. Scannell was denied by a brave Lonergan save – with the goalkeeper colliding with his near post in keeping the ball out – and, from the ensuing corner, former Cottagers’ centre back Mark Hudson headed inches over from inside the six-yard box.
It looked like it was going to be another painful defeat, especially when Murphy magnificently tipped behind a curling Tom Cairney free-kick in the first minute of added time. Salvation arrived in the final seconds of stoppage time. Dan Burn, by now playing as an additional centre forward, flicked on Nikolay Bodurov’s hopeful ball and Woodrow lashed an instinctive finish beyond the inspired Murphy. Huddersfield were crestfallen at coming so close to registering their own first league win, but Powell will take many more positives from their performance than his opposite number.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Lonergan; Richards, Hutchinson (Bodurov 10), Burn, Voser; Cairney, Christensen, O’Hara, Kacaniklic (Woodrow 74); McCormack, Dembele. Subs (not used): Joronen, Ream, Tunnicliffe, Kavanagh, Pringle.
GOAL: Woodrow (90).
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-3-3): Murphy; Smith, Hudson, Lynch, Davidson, Butterfield (Dempsey 80); Whitehead, Hogg, Scannell (Miller 77); Wells (Cranie 90), Bunn. Subs (not used): Vaughan, Wallace, Lolley, Allinson
BOOKED: Hudson, Davidson.
GOAL: Wells (63).
REFEREE: James Adcock (Nottinghamshire)