Fulham dropped down to 21st in the Championship after their winless run stretched to six games when they were held to a frustrating draw at Birmingham City this afternoon.
Looking to bounce back from last weekend’s demoralising late defeat at the hands of relegation rivals Bristol City, Slavisa Jokanovic’s side dominated the first half and went ahead through on-loan midfielder Rohan Ince. He squeezed a low shot into the bottom corner beyond Tomasz Kusczak, who might have been disappointed not to have kept it out, but Blues drew level in the second half when defender Michael Morrison headed home a fine cross from David Cotterill.
The home side could easily have won it in the dying stages when David Davis saw a speculative shot come back off the post and Clayton Donaldson blazed the rebound wildly over the crossbar. The three points could have boosted Birmingham’s play-off hopes, but they remain in ninth – some six points off the top six.
Fulham were on the front foot from the off, determined to banish the memories of their mugging by Bristol City, and the recalled Emerson Hyndman missed a great opportunity to give the lead before veteran midfielder Scott Parker also wasted a glorious chance of his own. It looked like those misses wouldn’t matter when Ince fired home from the edge of the box after being teed up by Cairney.
Birmingham were fitful in attack during the first period, only really extending Marcus Bettinelli in first half stoppage time – when the Fulham academy graduate made a splendid save to keep out Jonathan Spector’s header from a Cotterill free-kick. Blues were level ten minutes after the interval when Welsh winger Cotterill delivered another excellent cross and Morrison headed emphatically beyond Bettinelli.
Fulham, now definitively in a battle for Championship survival, have won just twice in fifteen games since Jokanovic was appointed as the permanent successor to Kit Symons. It is quite a taxing challenge for the enigmatic Serbian coach, who guided Watford to promotion to the Premier League last season.
BIRMINGHAM CITY (4-3-3): Kusczak; Caddis, Grounds, Morrison, Spector; Kieftenbeld (Maghoma 53), Davis, Gleeson; Toral (Vaughan 75), Cotterill (Buckley 81), Donaldson. Subs (not used): Legzdins, Robinson, Solomon-Otabor, Shotton.
GOAL: Morrison (56).
FULHAM (4-4-2): Bettinelli; Stearman, Ream, Madl, Burn; Parker, Ince, Hyndman (Fredericks 75), Cairney; McCormack, Dembele (Smith 87). Subs (not used): Lonergan, Richards, Garbutt, Hutchinson, O’Hara.
BOOKED: Parker, Madl, Hyndman, Dembele, Bettinelli.
GOAL: Ince (38).
REFEREE: Darren Handley (Greater Manchester).