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Fulham striker Ross McCormack’s free-kick rescued a point as managerless Fulham hit back to deny Preston North End a rare victory.

Joe Garner put the visitors ahead in a cagey first period, heading in at the far post from Paul Gallagher’s cross after a well-worked short corner.

But McCormack’s goal, his fifth in his last six games, earned the hosts a draw after an improved second-half display.

Fulham drop to 13th place in the Championship, but remain four points ahead of Preston.

The visitors have won three league games all season, but their hopes of a third on the road looked good after Garner’s 11th-minute goal.

Eoin Doyle had already gone close to putting them ahead, with a shot that was parried away by goalkeeper Joe Lewis, before Garner’s header.

Garner almost added a second from long range as North End dominated.

Fulham, with Peter Grant in caretaker charge, offered little threat before the interval in a performance that angered the home support at Craven Cottage.

Moussa Dembele had an effort tipped over by keeper Jordan Pickford in their one bright moment in the opening 45 minutes, but they upped the tempo after the interval.

McCormack tested Pickford from 30 yards and then on 77 minutes he levelled the scores, curling home his 12th goal of the season from 20 yards.

Both sides pressed for a winner late on with the best chance falling to Preston’s John Welsh, who shot well over the bar.

Fulham caretaker head coach Peter Grant: “I thought the first half was difficult for us, but we made the change at the 11th hour, as you would say.

“It’s not about the personnel, it’s just about the way we’ve been training all week. When we put in Scott Parker it told in the first half.

“Even though Preston were always a danger I thought there was only going to be one winner, ourselves.

“Ross McCormack is one of the top goalscorers in the league, we have matchwinners like him. But you have to be able to win a game 1-0.”