Manor Solomon must be getting close to a starting spot. The Israeli international curled home a splendid strike – his third goal in as many matches – to secure a point for Fulham against Wolverhampton Wanderers, who had utterly dominated the first period, in a game of two halves at Craven Cottage last night.

Julen Lopetegui’s side, who began the evening only three points above the dreaded drop zone, passed their hosts off the park in a first half that saw Fulham, who were fortunate to come away with all three points at Brighton last weekend due to a decisive last intervention from substitute Solomon, continue where they left off on the south coast. Whilst the Whites looked lethargic and below par, Wolves were purposeful in possession and the visitors’ switch to a front two posed plenty of problems for a home defence that had been particularly miserly since the winter break.

Behind the two strikers, Matheus Nunes and Pablo Sarabia found plenty of space between the Fulham midfield and back four. Sarabia, signed for what looks like a bargain £4.4m from Paris Saint-Germain last month, should have scored his first goal for Wolves just after the twenty minute mark when he found plenty of space in the penalty area after intelligent interplay along the right flank from Raul Jimenez and Nelson Semedo only to shoot tamely at Bernd Leno.

But Fulham failed to heed the warning and the sharp Spaniard opened his account only a couple of minutes later. Antonee Robinson couldn’t cut out a clever cross from Nunes, thereby allowing Jimenez to head the ball into Sarabia’s path and the midfielder fired low in the bottom corner – past Bernd Leno’s despairing dive. It was the first goal that Fulham had conceded in the Premier League in 338 minutes since Harry Kane rifled into a similarly unerring finish at the Hammersmith End to pilfer all three points for Tottenham back on January 23rd.

Wolves, with Mario Lemina a combative presence in midfield on his return to the Cottage, pressed the Whites relentlessly and kept the ball brilliantly in a first half showing that underlined just how much progress they have made under Lopetegui. They could have extended their lead before the break but Ruben Neves shot wastefully over after Nunes and Hugo Bueno had worked a good opening for their skipper. Marco Silva admitted Fulham were well below the standards he demands from his team and they only belatedly threatened towards the end of the first half having seen Joao Palhinha pick up a tenth booking of the season, which will rule the influential midfielder out of their next two league fixtures. Jose Sa saved smartly from a Carlos Vinicius header and Andreas Pereira’s free-kick on the stroke of half time, but Silva was sufficiently perturbed to send on Solomon and Sasa Lukic at the start of the second period.

Wolves continued where they had left off before the break with former Fulham younger Max Kilman looping a header from a Neves free-kick onto the roof of the net, whilst Jimenez missed two glorious chances in quick succession. The tall forward nodded a Bueno cross over the bar before glancing a devilish delivery from Sarabia fractionally wide of the far post. It took some embarrassing play acting from Sa, who fell to the turf theatrically clutching an apparently seriously injured shoulder after claiming a high ball under the merest of pressure from Vinicius, to enliven both the Craven Cottage crowd and their team.

There was then little sympathy when both Mathias Cunha, who had to be stretchered off and replaced by Adama Traore, and Sarabia hit the deck in quick succession with Fulham failing to put the ball out of play. As Lotepegui seethed on the sidelines, the Wolves players confronted their opponents and Michael Oliver struggled to keep control. The home side suddenly snapped into a few tackles and the intensity went up a few notches. It took only five minutes for Fulham to level matters, as Solomon surged infield from the left wing and bent a brilliant finish past Sa – and his stiff shoulder – from the edge of the area.

Wolves nearly found an immediate response when Craig Dawson’s header from a Nunes free-kick was well blocked by Diop, before Oliver and the video assistant referee Michael Salisbury ignored Fulham appeals for a penalty after Ream went to ground in the box at a home set-piece. Having been dominated in the first half, the Whites were now looking the likelier winners. Andreas Pereira took aim for distance but found the Hammersmith End rather than the top corner before another superb run from Solomon was snuffed out by the Wolves rearguard.

Midway through eight minutes of stoppage time, substitute Harry Wilson stood up a superb cross from the right and Vinicius looked to have headed in another winner to rival his SW6 derby settler last month but Sa’s right hand preserved a deserved point for Wolves, who won’t have any problem in avoiding relegation should they replicate the guile and spirit shown in this display. The share of the spoils means Fulham have reached 39 points from 25 games – the best return from a newly-promoted side since the top flight switched to a twenty-team competition. For that alone, the Hammersmith End was right to acclaim Silva as a genius even if the head coach was disappointed with this showing from the Whites.

FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Leno; Tete, A. Robinson, Diop, Ream; Palhinha, Reed (Lukic 45); Decordova-Reid (Solomon 45), Willian (Wilson 83), Pereira; Vinicius. Subs (not used): Rodak, Kurzawa, Adarabioyo, Duffy, James.

BOOKED: Palhinha, Pereira.

GOAL: Solomon (64).

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS (4-4-2): Sa; Semedo, Bueno, Dawson, Kilman; Lemina, Neves, Sarabia (Podence 76), Nunes (Moutinho 76); Cunha (Traore 60), Jimenez (Costa 84). Subs (not used): Bentley, Johnny, Ait-Nouri, Collins, Gomes.

GOAL: Sarabia (23).

REFEREE: Michael Oliver (Newcastle-upon-Tyne).