Fulham earn point with battling draw at Reading

5 Mar

Fulham still hover too close to the Sky Bet Championship relegation zone for comfort after battling for a 2-2 draw at Reading.


Fulham: Fulham earn point with battling draw at ReadingFulham: Fulham earn point with battling draw at Reading

Moussa Dembele gave them an early lead but they found themselves 2-1 down at half-time as Reading fought back.

Hal Robson-Kanu stroked in a penalty and then added a second with a header from close range.

Despite having to survive severe pressure in the second half, Fulham won a penalty on the break that leading scorer Ross McCormack converted to ultimately earn them a point.

Fulham had seen little upturn in fortunes since the appointment of new head coach Slavisa Jokanovic in December.

In his first 11 matches, Fulham won only twice. In total, they had won only three times in 21 games.

Reading, who face Crystal Palace at home in the FA Cup quarter-finals next Friday, had enjoyed better fortunes.

They had won three successive matches in the Cup and Championship and had suffered only two defeats in 13.

But it was Fulham who started the brighter, with McCormack wasting two good openings early on.

He soon made amends, though, when supplying a nicely flighted corner from the left in the eighth minute.

Michael Madl headed on unopposed at the far post and Dembele scruffily guided in his 13th goal of the season.

Fulham continued on the offensive, with home goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi forced to make a fumbling save from a fierce Tom Cairney drive.

But Reading drew level in fortuitous circumstances in the 24th minute, when Fulham defender Fernando Amorebieta senselessly barged over Robson-Kanu as the ball drifted harmlessly in a corner of the penalty area.

Referee Simon Hooper pointed to the spot and Robson-Kanu calmly sent Fulham keeper Andy Lonergan the wrong way.

Al-Habsi was again unconvincing, when just managing to save a 30-yard free kick from McCormack, but Reading nosed in front in the 41st minute.

Ola John escaped on the left and chipped a precise cross for Robson-Kanu to nod into the unguarded net.

Robson-Kanu was replaced at half-time, by Garath McCleary, due to injury but Reading almost increased their lead soon after the restart.

Oliver Norwood found Yann Kermorgant in space but the Frenchman’s angled effort flew narrowly wide of Lonergan’s far post.

Fulham appeared under the cosh but were level in the 52nd minute. Jake Cooper clumsily felled Ryan Fredericks in the area and McCormack drilled in the penalty for his 19th goal of the season.

Reading forced the pace towards the end but Stephen Quinn, John three times, McCleary, Cooper and Kermorgant all squandered presentable chances as Fulham struggled to hold on for a draw.

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