BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Charlton earned an impressive point after a thrilling draw against high-flying Fulham at Craven Cottage.
The visitors led twice thanks to goals from Conor Gallagher and Macauley Bonne but were pegged back thanks to an impressive strike from Ivan Cavaleiro and a tap-in with a hint of offside from Alexsandar Mitrovic.
Some heroics from Charlton keeper Dillon Phillips ensured the South Londoners got the point that they deserved.
Fulham had enjoyed an average of 67% possession during their home games this season and set about controlling this one from the off in terms of time on the ball – with very little to show for it.
The Addicks were resolute at the back and lively on the counter throughout the first period. Macauley Bonne was narrowly beaten to a ball over the top by home stopper Marcus Bettinelli, before he was tested again by a Darren Pratley header from a whipped Josh Cullen free-kick.
Parker’s side continued to struggle with the South Londoners’ forward play as Gallagher saw an effort deflect just wide after he cut in from the right – before the Addicks missed a huge opportunity to take the lead.
Jason Pearce won the ball on the halfway line and fed Jonny Williams. The Welsh international broke into the Fulham area and drew a save from Bettinelli when he had options square – although it was soon forgotten as the Addicks led shortly before the break.
Forster-Caskey’s deep cross was nodded down by Chris Solly, into the path of Chelsea loanee Gallagher who opened the scoring on his return to west London.
Charlton held the lead at the break but a there was a flurry of goals soon after the restart.
Cavaleiro had been a handful throughout and he drew the hosts level ten minutes into the second-period with a fizzing shot from outside the area.
Parirty would only last 90 seconds. Charlton forced a corner and the set-piece was cleared as far as Pratley. The veteran midfielder lifted a teasing cross into the six-yard box when Bonne rose highest to flick it beyond the onrushing Bettinelli.
Falling behind for the second time seemed to force the hosts to step it up another gear. Mitrovic had already rattled the crossbar before he levelled the scores up again moments later.
Phillips had made an extortionary block to deny a Tom Cairney header from close-range but Mitrovic was able to muscle in and poke the rebound home – although replays showed he came from an offside position.
Fulham pushed and pushed for a winner but were nearly caught out as substitute Jonathan Leko tried to pick out the corner from range – Bettinelli just palming it around the post.
Bobby Reid came on for the hosts at half-time and he must have thought he’d won it as he powered a header at goal in added time, but Phillips made another superb block and Charlton held on to a very good point.
PHOTOS BY KYLE ANDREWS/PAUL EDWARDS
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