Fulham’s under 21s began their Premier League International Cup campaign with a creditable point after a goalless draw with Valencia Mestella at Craven Cottage last night.

The stalemate was much more watchable than the scoreline suggests with plenty of sublime Spanish skill on show and Steve Wigley’s own ball players getting into the contest the longer the game went on. Fulham’s starting line-up included several of the starlets from their encouraging start to the PL2 campaign, with Luke Harris deployed in the number ten role behind Olly Sanderson, and skipper Ollie O’Neill starting on the left wing. Stefan Parkes, on the bench for the first team on Saturday, replaced Ibane Bowat at left back.

Valencia enjoyed more of the ball in the first half but clear cut chances were at a premium. Matt Dibley-Dias, scorer of a sensational goal against Everton at Motspur Park on Friday, nearly found Sanderson with a clever cross but his ball drifted beyond the Fulham striker. The visitors looked dangerous in the final third themselves with Parkes clearing ahead of Jesus Perez after a prolonged spell of possession for the side in yellow.

Miguel Angel Angulo’s side then had two good chances to open the scoring before the fifteen minute mark. Firstly, Yarek Hernandis headed wide after the hosts had failed to clear a free-kick and forward Mario Musy sent a free header wide of goal having been found by a fabulous cross from Diego Lopez. Fulham responded with a surging run from Harris before O’Neill turned his marker superbly to find the Welsh midfielder only Harris to drag his snapshot past the post with defenders putting him under pressure.

The Spaniards continued to carry a threat after the break with Rodrigo Rodrigues bursting away down the right flank before Parkes recovered to make an important block. After a lovely link up between Luciano D’Auria-Henry and Harris almost led to a Fulham opportunity, Charlie Robinson covered brilliantly at the other end to prevent Vicente Esquerdo from finding the net. From the ensuing corner, Lopez stabbed agonising wide as the home defence dozed.

Fulham’s rearguard – which had coped admirably with patient probing from the visitors all night – was now looking fragile. D’Auria-Henry was caught in possession having just won the ball back, but Alberto Sanchez sliced horribly wide when well placed. The hosts were then grateful for a heroic piece of defending from Connor McAvoy for keeping their clean sheet intact. The Scottish under-21 international bailed out George Wickens, who had failed to hold a low shot from Musy, by denying Sanchez, who seem certain to slot a late winner in the empty net.

Fulham pushed for a winner late on, with substitute Martial Godo looking dangerous down the right flank. Callum McFarlane, another substitute, came closest to scoring – swivelling to volley O’Neill’s header goalwards, but he couldn’t direct his finish on target. This was an encouraging point for Wigley’s side, with a number of previous regulars in the under-21 set up out on loan. Valencia’s ‘B’ side, including a number of over-age players last night, have lost just one of their six fixtures so far this season and are now unbeaten in four matches.

FULHAM UNDER 21s (4-2-3-1): Wickens; D’Auria-Henry, Parkes (Bowat 68), C. Robinson, McAvoy; J. Williams (Godo 65), Pajaziti; Dibley-Dias, O’Neill, Harris; Sanderson (McFarlane 83). Subs (not used): McNally, Tanton, Okkas, Šekularac.

BOOKED: C. Robinson, McAvoy.

VALENCIA MESTELLA (4-2-3-1): Manuel; Iranzo, Muñoz, Tárrega, Gasiorowski; Ribeiro, Santiago (Gozálbez 72); Lopez (Serra 61), Farofa (Gonzalez 72), Esquerdo (Alemañ 61); Musy. Subs (not used): Bernard, Joseda, Mari.

BOOKED: Santiago.

REFEREE: Gary Parsons.