Fulham striker Ross McCormack snatched a late equaliser for managerless Fulham in a 2-2 Skybet Championship draw at crisis club Bolton after Zach Clough’s brace threatened to give the bottom side only their second win of the campaign.
McCormack netted a stunning 85th-minute free kick for his 14th goal of the campaign following Clough’s quickfire second-half double.
On-loan Everton defender Luke Garbutt fired the Londoners’ ahead on a day the death of Fulham great Jimmy Hill was announced.
Fulham led 1-0 at half-time through Garbutt’s first goal for the Cottagers but should have already sewn up the three points.
After a sterile opening 25 minutes of a game played in driving rain and swirling wind, the visitors imposed themselves on a Wanderers side short on wins but even lower on confidence.
But it needed a customary error by French defender Prince-Desir Gouanoto give Fulham a leg-up with the opening goal. Guilty of allowing the ball to bounce unnecessarily, the centre-half was punished by McCormack who laid the ball back for Garbutt to strike a low right-footed shot beyond Ben Amos from 20 yards.
It was the left-back’s first goal since scoring for Colchester in a 2-1 defeat against Crewe in December 2013.
Fulham almost doubled their advantage after 33 minutes only for Alex Kacaniklic’s curling left-footed shot to graze the top of Amos’ crossbar.
Wanderers were caught out again three minutes later by Dean Moxey’s error. But after outpacing Prince, Moussa Dembele skied a right foot effort from 18 yards over the bar.
Fulham were now dominating and Kacaniklic was just off target with another attempt before Wanderers finished the half with a rare flourish as Jay Spearing’s shot cannoned behind off Richard Stearman for a corner.
Trotters boss Neil Lennon opted not to make changes at the break and Wanderers forced the first chance of the second period with Gary Madine’s close range header.
Clough, back after a dislocated shoulder to start his first home game since September 15, then fired free kick into the gloves of Andy Lonergan. And top scorer Liam Feeney did not miss by much as Wanderers kept up the pressure.
After failing to make the breakthrough, they almost slumped 2-0 down. McCormack’s pass gave Kacaniklic a free run on goal but the Swede’s eventual weak effort was blocked by Amos. Bolton celebrated the reprieve by equalising in their next attack.
Mark Davies provided the assist and Clough finished from 12 yards for only his second goal of the season. Fulham’s response was to take off Garbutt and Dembele for Cauley Woodrow and Ben Pringle.
But with 16 minutes left, Wanderers took the lead. Winger Feeney delivered a low, teasing cross and Clough bundled the ball home from feet rather than yards.
Clough was later substituted to a standing ovation only for McCormack to spoil the youngster’s moment. McCormack hit the bar in stoppage time while 37-year-old substitute Emile Heskey drilled his own late effort wide of the target.