By Morgan Phillips
The Whites began Saturday’s lunchtime match against Charlton Athletic in a cautious mood.
Marcus Bettinelli and Alfie Mawson seemed to be experimenting in how many times they could tap the ball to each other in the penalty area, until even they got bored with the manoeuvre.
Fortunately, an absorbing contest soon got under way with the visitors looking the more dangerous, particularly on the left side. Bettinelli superbly foiled Jonny Williams, but just before the interval a swirling cross from the left allowed Chris Solly to nod the ball to an unmarked Conor Gallagher. The Athletic’s excellent goal did not reflect well on the Fulham defence.
Scott Parker made changes at halftime and, as in previous fixtures, the team manifested more determination in the second half.
Substitute Bobby de Cordova-Reid enabled Ivan Cavaleiro to equalise with one of his left-foot specials, only for Charlton to retake the lead shortly afterwards. With almost the entire Fulham team packing their penalty area for a corner kick no one could prevent Macauley Bonne scoring with a well-placed header.
In the exhilarating six minutes that followed, Joe Bryan and Aleks Mitrovic both hit the woodwork. The Charlton keeper Dillon Phillips (no relation) then thwarted Tom Cairney only for Mitrovic to pounce on the loose ball and equalise. Fulham now looked likely winners – but Phillips made a string of outstanding saves, particularly at the expense of de Cordova-Reid.
Fulham now enter the international break just below the playoff qualifiers, which is probably a fair reflection of their season so far.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
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