Hawthorns stalemate means Fulham can gear up for Championship play-offs

BY DANIEL MARSH

Fulham saw their Championship automatic promotion hopes dashed after being held to a goalless stalemate at West Bromwich Albion.

The Whites knew anything but a win would extinguish their slim hopes of overthrowing the Baggies in the race for second place, and they were a touch unfortunate to go in at the break level after settling the better of the two sides in a fairly tepid first half. 

Anthony Knockaert forced a good save from Sam Johnstone in the early proceedings, before Ivan Cavaleiro’s dangerous looping header from a tight angle was hacked away near the line after more sterling work from Knockaert. Aleksandar Mitrovic also went close twice in a matter of moments from a couple of Fulham corners right on the stroke of the interval.

West Brom posed more of a threat in the second period, with the tricky Matheus Pereira at the heart of their play after switching to the left-hand flank. His dangerous cross somehow flashed beyond everyone in the six-yard box as a warning sign for the Whites early after the restart.

Chances were at a premium for Fulham in the second half but Mitrovic once again came close from a corner, before the visitors almost found the breakthrough in the most spectacular fashion – Knockaert showing superb technique, only to see his stunning volley crack against the top of the crossbar from 25 yards.  

The Whites did force a succession of corners in added time but didn’t really come close to threatening Johnstone’s goal as Scott Parker’s men were left to contemplate the prospect of negotiating the play-offs in order to make an instant return to the Premier League.


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