The Fulham captain came off the bench to add creativity to the home midfielder and produced a peach of cross to provide the equaliser for Tosin Adarabioyo with just six minutes left. He felt Marco Silva’s men deserved a half time lead having watched an absorbing contest from the sidelines initially. Cairney told FFCTV last night:
“I think it was a proper game of football. Atmosphere, intensity, chances, tackles – everything you want in an entertaining game. Had a bit of drama, opportunities missed, goals we should have scored. It was entertaining for fans. I feel like when you were playing in a top of table clash, you need to score when you were on top. We needed to score first half, we deserved to score. They cleared it, last ditch tackles and we were so unfortunate to go in 0-0.”
The midfielder acknowledged the quality of the training ground that led to Dominic Solanke’s opener seconds after the interval.
“It was quite surreal actually. On one hand, you’ve got to give a bit of credit to Bournemouth because it was a great move and a great pass. From our point of view, it’s a little bit sloppy, it’s sleepy, not seeing the run. You have to give a bit of credit to them for the goal.”
Cairney was pleased to tilt the contest back towards Fulham with a high-energy cameo after replacing Jean-Michael Seri with twenty minutes to go and most of the league leaders chances came through the movement and vision of their number ten.
“I came on, 1-0 down, you come on the pitch you feel like you need to make an impact and make something something happen. They were getting deeper, just tried to get around the box, hopefully get a shot off and get a goal. I was hoping Kebano was going to score when I put him in, that would have been nice, but it was great for Tosin to get his first goal. The ball worked to the edge of the box on the right hand side, when you see Mitro and Tosin in the box you just need to feel it in there. It was a good ball and a great header.
He praised Fulham’s fans for creating such a red hot atmosphere and another memorable moment at the Hammersmith End.
“Oh, it was brilliant. The atmosphere was the best it has been this season by far – and that’s without a stand. Imagine if it was full? It would have been an absolute joke. It is an amazing feeling, kicking to that end. It feels like they are sucking the ball into the goal when it is like that. It was a good moment.”
Cairney felt Fulham could have nicked it in the closing stages, but he believes there were plenty of positives to take from a dominant display.
“I feel like if the game went on five minutes longer we could have scored another. They were getting deeper and deeper and we were piling the pressure on. I think overall you’ve got to be happy with the performance, the intensity and possession we had. Obviously, it’s three draws in a row, which obviously we don’t want, but you’re top of the league, you can’t be too greedy. Nothing’s won and lost in December. We keep going.”
Marco Silva’s side were on the front foot for much of the contest but had to settle for a point as Adarabioyo’s glancing header six minutes from time cancelled out Dom Solanke’s opener seconds after half time. Adarabioyo told FFC TV after the final whistle:
“It’s still a point gained. It’s another point on the table, unfortunately we couldn’t get the three points but we keep going. It was just another one of those games were we created a lot of chances. I think we had 24 shots, but we didn’t manage to get the goals we needed.”
The former Manchester City man was disappointed with the way Fulham conceded to a training ground move seven seconds after the restart, but felt his side’s response showed how determined they way not to give up any ground in the promotion race.
“It was quick after half time. It was obviously something they had worked on, it worked out perfectly. Again, on our side we have to sniff that out better. All the boys were on it today. We were motivated to get the three points, we only managed to get one but again it was great to get a point.”
The centre half was overjoyed to finally score his first goal for the club, guiding home a terrific cross from Tom Cairney and played down the significance of his mocking of Solanke’s trademark bow and arrow celebration as the Bournemouth striker is a close friend.
“Definitely. Hopefully, it will be the first of a few. The ball was around the edge of the box for a while, checked my shoulder tried to move into a bit of space and the ball lands onto my head, just flicked it on and it went in at the far post. To finally get the goal was really good. It was a great moment. Dom Solanke is one of my best friends – so it was just a bit of banter.”
Adarabioyo’s target remains keeping Fulham clear at the top of the table as the Whites begin to contemplate the festive fixtures.
“It’s another a point, we’re top of the table and we keep moving. It’s very tough to go ten games unbeaten. Hopefully, it can continue.”
Marco Silva insisted Fulham deserved more than the draw they got against Bournemouth in the top of the table Championship clash at Craven Cottage this evening.
The hosts dominated much of an absorbing contest but fell behind right at the start of the second half with Dominic Solanke finishing off a sensational Bournemouth move from the restart. Silva was bitterly disappointed with how his side conceded the goal, but hailed their powers of recovery to wrestle a point back at the death. He told his post-match press conference after the final whistle:
“A good game, two strong sides on the pitch. We didn’t change anything like we are doing so far. They came here with a different strategy, they changed a little bit the formation, to be a little bit more compact in that middle zone, the way they tried to build with four midfielders instead of three and just two players in the attack line.
“First five minutes, we took some time to adapt and after that we start to control the game. We knew before the match we could not lose the balance because they will be strong in that moment. First half was a bit more balanced with the chances that we created and I think we deserved more, we deserved a clear 2-0 lead in the score at half time.
The only thing I didn’t like, we lost for two seconds our focus and discipline in our organisation and they punished us. We cannot concede a goal like we conceded from the kick-off, our backline slept completely in the moment. But I’m proud really of the way they reacted. I’m really proud of our fans and how they helped us and pushed us.
What we did against a really strong side, the stats are there. We pushed them back, there are 10 players around their box and we created chances and chances to score. At the end we scored, we clearly deserved more from the game. We were the best team on the pitch.”
The Fulham head coach hailed the impact of his substitutes, Tom Cairney and Bobby Decordova-Reid, who added greater incisiveness to the Whites’ attacks in the final twenty minutes. Cairney created Fulham’s equaliser and Silva was delighted with how his changes made the difference.
“Both players made a big impact in the game. It is something we planned, Tom and Bobby made a big impact on the game and we expected that. Tom with his quality, Bobby to put a bit more fresh legs in that right side with Harry Wilson, and we started to create a lot of problems for them.”
Tosin Adarabioyo picked the perfect moment to break his Fulham duck as the towering centre half’s late equaliser spoiled Scott Parker’s return to Craven Cottage. Bournemouth looked poised to leave SW6 with all three points and move above Parker’s old club at the top of the Championship courtesy of Dominic Solanke’s stunning strike and some dogged defending, but Adarabioyo’s glancing header from Tom Cairney’s clipped cross handed the Whites a share of the spoils.
On the balance of play, that was the least Fulham deserved. They fashioned the clearer chances and – after being stung by Solanke’s superb finish seven seconds into the second half – laid siege to the Bournemouth goal. The Cherries, already indebted to goalkeeper Mark Travers for a string of superb saves, paid for Parker’s pragmatism as they were unable to cling onto their slender lead. Cairney, cast aside by Parker in Fulham’s survival bid last season when the captain felt he was fit enough to play a part, came off the bench to add creativity in midfield and it was no surprise when he unlocked the visiting defence with a clever ball that Adarabioyo guided beyond Travers’ despairing dive.
That Fulham were behind at all, having dominated an engrossing first half, probably had something to do with Parker’s meticulous preparation and the inside track on his former employers. Straight from the restart, for which the away side had been sent out early, Philip Billing lifted a bill over Tim Ream and Denis Odoi for Solanke, who outmuscled the latter, and finished majestically past Marek Rodak. The goal briefly discombobulated Fulham but rather than go for the kill, Bournemouth were content to sit on their narrow lead – and that negativity proved costly.
Fulham’s brightest spark throughout was the lively Neeskens Kebano, another player overlooked by Parker during his time at Craven Cottage. The Congolese winger ran Bournemouth ragged down the left flank, with Lewis Cook and Jack Stacey both booked for cutting him down. Kebano twice drew excellent stops from Travers inside the first fifteen minutes before being denied by a brave block from Stacey as he sought to turn home Fabio Carvalho’s cross. The visitors’ goal was living a charmed life – as illustrated by the way Steve Cook somehow blocked twice in quick succession from Mitrovic and Carvalho after Kebano had cut open the away defence.
The home side were incensed that there were not awarded a penalty when Wilson was tripped inside the area by Solanke and Tim Robinson also only opted to book Lewis Cook for his wild, knee-high lunge on Kebano. Bournemouth operated mostly on the counter attack with Rodak saving smartly from Adam Smith before Solanke sent a free header wide and drove a low effort past the far post after accelerating away from Adarabioyo.
But Solanke grabbed his goal in eye-catching fashion seconds after the interval, firing clinically into the top corner after Fulham’s defence had been caught out by Billing’s brilliant vision. Kebano quickly tested Travers again at his near post and Wilson’s rising drive whistled just past the angle of post and bar as Bournemouth dropped deeper and deeper. Aleksandar Mitrovic, well marshalled for the most part by the visiting defence, skimmed the crossbar with a header from a Jean Michael Seri free-kick before heading a short corner into Travers’ arms.
Cairney immediately perked up Fulham’s attack after arriving off the bench, with one lovely pass sending Kebano clean through on goal – only for Travers to successfully narrow the angle at his near post. The Scottish midfielder then delivered a free-kick right on Mitrovic’s head only for Travers to palm away again before Kebano somehow screwed the follow-up into the side netting from four yards out. Just when it looked like it wasn’t going to be Fulham’s night, Adarabioyo flicked home another fabulous Cairney delivery to the delight of a roaring Craven Cottage – and an ecstatic Marco Silva on the touchline. The delightful defender mocked Solanke’s bow and arrow celebration, even if he was more interested in getting back to the centre circle.
Fulham pushed for a winner during four minutes of added time, but they had to settle for a point that preserved their position at the top of the Championship table. Kebano summed up their disappointed, sat on the turf after the final whistle, reflecting on a pulsating contest. Perhaps more pertinently, he was clutching his hamstring. Silva will hope his lively winger isn’t seriously injured as he begins to contemplate the Christmas programme.
The Football Insider suggests that the Whites, Norwich City and Bournemouth are all considering making a move for the Dutch goalkeeper in January to capitalise on the Rams’ financial difficulties. The 29 year-old is out of contract at the end of the current season – and, therefore, may be available for a cut-price fee with Derby, who have been hit by two points deductions for financial irregularities this season, in administration.
Roos has been in superb form for Derby during a difficult campaign, with one of his five clean sheets coming in last week’s goalless draw at Craven Cottage. Wayne Rooney’s men have conceded just seventeen goals in sixteen matches. The former PSV Eindhoven youngster has spent most of his career with Derby and has extensive experience of English football through a number of loan spells. Roos has made 87 appearances for the Rams and is now firmly established as the number one at Pride Park.
Whether Fulham would seriously be tempted to bring in another goalkeeper in January remains to be seen. Spanish goalkeeper Fabri, who has only made two first-team appearances for the club, remains on the books whilst summer signing Paulo Gazzaniga has been relegated to the bench by the brilliant recent form of Slovakian international Marek Rodak.