Fulham 2 Charlton Athletic 2
It’s great this division isn’t it? So proud of the boys today who fully deserved their point in front of the cameras in which Scott Minto, Lyle Taylor and Chris Powell also proudly watched on.
Fulham probably have the best roster of players in the league, and in a space of a week we have met three of the biggest promotion contenders, and we have ended it with our heads held high.
Bowyer set us up with three at the back, Forster-Caskey and Solly as wingbacks and Bonne up top on his own, owing to injuries more than anything. Scott Parker encourages his team to play out deliberately from the back, and we pushed high up the pitch in numbers from the off and swarmed all over their back four.
Bowyer had a similar plan at home to Leeds last week, but was unable to wrestle the possession, but we did today and dominated the early exchanges.
We won a couple of set-pieces but unusually they were uninspiring. We then re-worked one from last season’s play-off game and Pratley had a header saved. Williams, who was a ball energy, then had a shot saved before a dream move involving Bonne, Gallagher, JFC, Solly and then finally Gallagher, who gave us a deserved half-time lead.
The 2nd half was never going to be as comfortable. Parker, like Bielsa last weekend, changed his formation to match up with us and brought on two subs. Then Cavaliero, who I didn’t even notice in the first half, burst forward and crashed the equalizer in.
Uh oh we thought, but no. We re-start and win a corner. A low one wasn’t cleared and we kept the ball moving with Williams again influential. Pratley then put in an inch perfect cross for Bonne to rise tallest and head home. Fantastic for Macauley after his less than ‘perfect’ first goal last week.
There was a great shot on Sky just after that when Bowyer gave a quick double punch and then stood unruffled whilst in the background there was pandemonium in the away corner.
After that it was a pure battle. Mitorvic and Pearce having their own unarmed combat, and red shirts were doing their familiar throwing themselves in front of everything. Twice Fulham hit the bar as we clung on as Fulham used the wings much more effectively.
Mitrovic is a beast, and a not very pleasant one at that, but he was rewarded when sheer brute force got him the equalizer. Phillips made a stunning save seconds before, and to add salt to the wound Sky showed the goal to be offside.
We then had almost half hour to hold out. Leko replaced Williams and had a shot tipped around the post. Phillips then made two stunning saves as we survived 8 minutes of added time for a fantastic point.
Bowyer’s team does not know when it’s down. Four Herculean points from three testing games shows that we can more than mix it at this level.
Addicks at Craven Cottage:
Bow: “I think we were better first half than they were, then they changed their shape. Scotty mentioned that they never change their shape, he’s done it, Leeds did it last week – it’s a credit to what we are doing.”
Elsewhere: West Brom held on to beat Cardiff 3-2. Forest go 2nd with a single goal victory over Brentford whilst Swansea lost to Stoke, who get their first win of the season and Leeds were undone at The Den. Preston put 5 past Barnsley, Reading are a place above the Tykes after losing at Bristol Rovers. Sheffield Wednesday beat Wigan 1-0 and Lawrence scored for Derby as they beat Luton 2-0. QPR were worthy winners over Blackburn, and Karlan Grant scored as Huddersfield won again, 3-0 over Hull.
Pleased for Bonne, not easy to play up front as a lone striker especially for someone who is a WIP. Aneke and Hamed where are you? have you got season tickets for the physios room?.
As usual, we do some unfit and already injured players