Liam Donnelly’s last-gasp equaliser stole a point for Fulham’s Under 21s as showed great spirit to deny West Brom all three points at the Lamb Ground in Tamworth this evening.
A young Whites side looked destined for defeat after Albion took the lead two minutes into the second half through a fine header from full-back Robbie McCourt. The hosts appeared to have done more than enough to secure the victory and could have put the game beyond Peter Grant’s team but Samir Nabi failed to hit the target after being found by an excellent cross from Jonathan Leko.
Albion were made to rue that miss when Fulham found an equaliser with virtually the last kick of the game. Donnelly, in his first start for the Under 21s since he returned from a loan spell at Crawley, poked home from just two yards out after a scramble in front of goal. The home side protested that goalkeeper Jack Rose had been fouled in the build-up to goal, but Fulham’s equaliser was allowed to stand and Rose was sent off for continuing his complaints after the final whistle.
The game was also notable for the early than expected return to action of midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe, who has been sidelined since injuring his knee in the draw at MK Dons in November. The former Manchester United man came through 59 minutes unscathed, whilst England youth international Dennis Adeniran delivered a composed display on his first start for the under 21s. Fulham’s best chances fell to Stephen Humphrys, who saw a first half header well held by Rose, and Josh Smile, who had a speculative second half strike from range.
WEST BROM U21s: Rose; Ezewele, Howkins, Barbir, McCourt; Elbouzedi (Nabi 71′), Sweeney, Nabi, Field; Ward (Edwards 78′), Leko. Subs (not used): Ross, Scrivens, Smith.
FULHAM U21s: Norman; Sheckleford, Elworthy, Donnelly, Pino; Tunnicliffe (Kwietniewski 59), Smile; de la Torre, Adeniran (Thorsteinsson 73), Redford; Humphrys. Subs (not used): Dawber, Walker, Davies.