A second half spot-kick from Neeskens Kebano secured a draw for Fulham in their latest pre-season friendly at Premier League Southampton this afternoon.
The Congolese winger coolly sent Fraser Forster the wrong way from twelve yards after Anthony Knockaert had been brought down by Moussa Djenepo to cancel out Shane Long’s tap-in shortly after half time. It was a creditable performance from Marco Silva’s side against a strong Southampton line-up at the Saints’ Staplewood training campus.
The hosts settled quickly and made all of the early running. They might have gone in front inside five minutes but Fabri made a fine save to thwart Theo Walcott after the former England forward had been played in by Che Adams. From the ensuing corner, Jack Stephens spurned a glorious opportunity to open the scoring at the far post.
Fabio Carvalho squandered Fulham’s clearest opening of the first half, starting wide when under pressure from two defenders, after latching onto a good cross from Antonee Robinson. Fabri almost gifted a great chance to Nathan Tella when the Saints midfielder closed down the Fulham goalkeeper but the Spaniard was able to just about clear his lines. The former Besiktas gloveman made a good save just before the break, tipping over Tella’s header from a dangerous James Ward-Prowse cross.
Southampton made a series of changes at half-time, but Fulham had no excuses for switching off so swiftly after the restart after Silva had elected to offer his starting eleven further minutes. Michael Obafemi, operating at left back, got forward to good effect to create the opening goal with a low cross that the experienced Long could hardly fail to convert from six yards.
Kebano sliced wide at the back post after Knockaert had conjured up an opportunity for an immediate riposte and Carvalho had an effort blocked after excellent approach play from the Congolese international. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa was unlucky not to level matters shortly afterwards when a brilliant bit of individual skill saw him latch onto Knockaert’s ball, beat his man and shoot for the far corner, only to be denied by a fine Forster save.
Djenepo had an effort deflected into the side netting at the other end on the hour mark and Tim Ream did well to scramble a Long effort away from his own goalline after the Irish striker had slipped around Fabri, but Fulham looked more threatening as the match went on. They got their reward when Djenepo’s clumsy challenge allowed Kebano to equalise from the penalty spot and Anguissa would have won it at the death with a piledriver from twenty yards but for another outstanding Forster save.
SOUTHAMPTON (4-2-2-2): McCarthy (Forster 45); Walker-Peters (Valery 45), Perraud (Djenepo 45), Stephens (Bednarek 45), Salisu (Olufunwa 77); Romeu (Diallo 45), Ward-Prowse (Armstrong 45); Walcott (Obafemi 45), Elyounoussi (Redmond 45); Tella (Long 45), Adams (Ings 45).
GOAL: Long (47).
FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Fabri; Tete (Christie 83), Robinson (Bryan 70), Mawson (Adarabioyo 56), Ream (Le Marchand 70); Francois (Seri 70), Onomah (Anguissa 56); Knockaert (Ablade 83), Kebano (Stansfield 83), Carvalho; Mitrovic (Kamara 70). Subs (not used): L. Ashby-Hammond.
GOAL: Kebano (pen 78).