Late Wolves goal prevents crucial Fulham win


Romain Saiss’ 84th minute equaliser snatched a point for Wolves as Fulham continued their poor run of form as the two teams played out a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage.

Claudio Ranieri’s men entered the game on the back of a five-game winless run, a stat that the Italian manager would have been keen to avenge before the new year lest he have to produce more footballing heroics, albeit on a smaller scale.

The early exchanges began tentatively with both sides fostering decent half chances.

Adama Traore cut inside on the edge of the penalty area before shooting on Sergio Rico’s goal, however the former Middlesbrough man’s effort was scooped over the bar.

A moment later Wolves could have fallen behind as captain Alexsandar Mitrovic rose highest to meet a corner but his headed attempt was just wide.

The hosts began to grow into the game as Ranieri gesticulated wildly from the touchline, demanding organisation and concentration in a match he knew his side stood a good chance to take all three points.

Mitrovic passed up a second chance with 17 minutes gone. This time the Serbian striker latched onto the end of an Andre Schurrle pass but his effort was guided well over Rui Patricio’s crossbar.

Alexsandar Mitrovic (left) endured a frustrating day in front of goal for the hosts (photo credit: Premier League).

The visitors were scrambling to obtain any meaningful possession as white shirts came at them in waves, the organisation of the home team starving the Wolves front three of any service.

Mitrovic continued to look dangerous and even had two more chances in quick succession at the midpoint of the first half. First a tame header was comfortably held by Patricio before Cyrus Christie worked some space on the right and flashed in a low cross into the six yard area. The Serb attacked the ball but his flailing limbs could not connect and send the ball into the back of the net.

The link up play between the Fulham captain and Schurrle was causing their midlands opposition issues such was their blend of power and movement, yet the deadlock remained late in the first 45 minutes.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad were clearly still feeling festive as they continuously gifted Fulham chances. Mitrovic squandered yet another as the former Newcastle United man collected a loose ball from a poor Wolves clearance in the penalty box. The forward worked the ball onto his favoured left foot but his powerful effort was save by the onrushing Patricio.

Wolves started the second half much brighter and could have even gone ahead just after 50 minutes when Raul Jimenez headed over from a Jonny cross.

Jimenez then tested Rico from long range with the Fulham goalkeeper dealing with the effort uncomfortably before Joe Bryan hooked the ball clear.

Raul Jimenez had chances to bring Wolves level but could not take them (photo credit: Premier League).

Both managers made changes in a bid for the game’s first goal. Espirito Santo introduced Helder Costa and Ivan Cavaleiro, but it was the substitution of Ranieri which was the most inspired as it brought about the opening goal.

Alfie Mawson headed a Jean Seri free-kick into the six yard area where Patricio challenged Denis Odoi. The former got nowhere near the ball and it fell to substitute Ryan Sessegnon, who had only been on the pitch five minutes, and the young Englishman slotted home from close range with 17 minutes remaining sending Craven Cottage into a frenzy.

The visitors went hunting for the late leveler and got their reward six minutes from full-time. Joao Moutinho found Cavaleiro with a clever pass before the Portugal midfielder sent in a low cross which caused havoc in the Fulham penalty area. Bryan was helpless as Costa applied heavy pressure on the defender. The ball then rolled fortuitously to Saiss who tapped the ball into an open net.

As the final moments of the game became more stretched both teams hunted a late winner, and each had chances to claim all three points. Wolves bombarded the home box with crosses with orange shirts flooding forward to meet the imminent cross.

Meanwhile, Mitrovic did brilliantly to control a long ball while three defenders surrounded him. He then barged past Ryan Bennett and clipped the ball over Patricio and with the ball trickling towards the bottom corner Conor Coady scrambled to make sure the game stayed and finished all square.


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