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Fulham 1 West Brom 1 - Report and pictures

By Joseph Masi | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Albion remain unbeaten in the Championship after a goal from Semi Ajayi saw them secure a 1-1 draw at Fulham.

In a match where the hosts enjoyed 69 per cent possession, Fulham will feel they should have won it with Ivan Cavaleiro and Bobby Reid going close and Tom Cairney hitting the crossbar in an opening 45 minutes they dominated.

Scott Parker's side grabbed the lead in fortuitous circumstances shortly after the interval when Anthony Knockaert curled in a cross-come-shot.

That prompted Bilic to shuffle his pack with Kyle Edwards, Filip Krovinovic and Hal Robson-Kanu all introduced from the bench.

And from that point, Albion improved with Ajayi going on to net the crucial equaliser.

Report

Bilic opted to stick with the team that secured victory over Blackburn when naming his starting line-up.

Continuing in a 4-2-3-1 formation, Matt Phillips was given the nod on the right with Grady Diangana on the left and Matheus Pereira in the number 10 role.

Up front, Charlie Austin was deployed as the lone striker with Kenneth Zohore having to make do with a place on the bench.

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Fulham lined up in a 4-3-3 system with Bobby Reid coming into the midfield at the expense of the suspended Harry Arter.

In attack, Ivan Cavaleiro and Anthony Knockaert operated either side of Alexsandar Mitrovic.

'We don't know when we're beaten!' West Brom fans delighted as Baggies battle back again

It was the hosts who started the game on the front foot with Parker's side having two excellent chances to open the scoring inside the opening 20 minutes.

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First Tom Cairney produced a perfectly timed run to get in-behind the Albion defence and cut the ball back to Cavaleiro.

The Wolves loannee - 10-yards out - then arrowed a low drive towards the bottom corner, with his effort taking a deflection before cannoning past the post.

Undeterred, Fulham continued to press with Harrison Reed's brilliant through-ball sending Cairney galloping through on goal.

The midfielder then lifted the ball over on-rushing Sam Johnstone, but his effort clipped the top of the crossbar and sailed over.

Fulham were dominating in the middle of the park with Reed inventive on the ball and Cairney and Bobby Reid making dangerous runs.

In a bid to counter that, Bilic asked Romaine Sawyers to stay tighter to Cairney.

But while the change proved a positive one, it was the hosts who remained on top.

And only an excellent double stop from Johnstone stopped them from taking the lead.

First, the goalkeeper got down to parry a long-distance strike from Knockaert.

But Fulham kept the move alive with the keeper getting back to his feet to then push over a header from Reed.

Albion showed they carried an attacking threat just before the half-hour mark with Furlong sending in a cross which Austin acrobatically fired over.

The former QPR striker then sent a header from 12-yards into the arms of Marcus Bettinelli, following a Phillips free-kick.

But it was Fulham who finished the half on top with Knockaert firing wide after more good work from Cairney.

Albion came out after the interval needing to assert some authority.

But after just three minutes they were behind with Knockaert, somewhat fortuitously, curling in a cross-come-shot from 25-yards.

Bilic responded by making a double change with Kyle Edwards and Filip Krovinovic replacing Livermore and Phillips.

Fulham 1 West Brom 1: Joe Masi and Luke Hatfield analysis

And they created their best chance of the game around 10 minutes later.

After cutting in from the left-flank, Edwards found Diangana who quickly moved the ball on to Furlong.

But, on the angle, the full-back then lashed a fierce drive into the side-netting.

Bilic's substitutions - with Hal Robson-Kanu having also replaced Diangana - were making a difference with Edwards particularly bright.

And they pulled level with a little over 10 minutes remaining when Bettinelli made a complete hash of a corner.

The keeper flapped at the ball following Pereira's delivery with Ajayi on hand to nod in from close range.

Fulham should have re-taken the lead almost immediately with Mitrovic powering a header over from a corner.

But it now felt as if the game could go either way.

And Albion almost won it when Furlong met a corner only to see his glancing header sail narrowly wide.

Teams

Albion (4-2-3-1): Johnstone, Furlong, Bartley, Ajayi, Ferguson, Sawyers, Livermore (Krovinovic 59), Phillips (Edwards 59), Diangana (Robson-Kanu 69), Pereira, Austin.

Subs not used: Bond, O'Shea, Brunt, Zohore.

Fulham (4-3-3): Bettinelli, Sessegnon (Odoi 90), Mawson, Ream, Bryan, Cairney, Reed, (Bobby) Reid (Onomah 85), Knockaert, Cavaleiro, Mitrovic.

Subs not used: Rodak, Le Marchand, McDonald, Johansen, Kamara.

Joseph Masi

By Joseph Masi
Football MMPJ - @josephmasi_star

West Bromwich Albion reporter.

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