Spoils shared in London derby

Craven Cottage played host to a London derby on Saturday – with the hosts needing a win to break their record points total (53). Crystal Palace were the visitors, looking to secure a mid-table Premier League finish once again.

FUL: Leno, Tete, Adarabioyo, Diop, Robinson, Palhinha, Reed, Cairney, Willian, Mitrovic, Wilson

CRY: Johnstone, Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell, Doucoure, Hughes, Eze, Olise, Edouard, Ayew

Neither side were able to get things going in the early stages of the game, and despite some individual battles, there wasn’t much to report in the opening fifteen minutes. Adarabioyo came closest from 30 yards, though his strike blazed well over.

Crystal Palace broke the deadlock just after the half hour mark via Odsonne Edouard. The Eagles struck with a clinical counter attack – Eberechi Eze played the ball through to the Frenchman, whose powerful strike was too much for Leno – giving him his fifth goal this season.

Following the goal, neither side really created anything until the stroke of half-time, when Fulham were awarded a penalty following a foul from Tyrick Mitchell on Harry Wilson. Aleksandar Mitrovic stepped up and levelled the game in the last few seconds of the half, bagging his first goal at Craven Cottage in 2023.

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Mitrovic should’ve put Fulham ahead within the opening minute of the second half after Harry Wilson found him unmarked at the back post with a clinical pass – but the Serbian’s strike went wide of the mark and he was left in disbelief that he missed.

Fulham kept piling on the pressure and were rewarded with the lead on the hour mark when Mitrovic got his second goal. Willian’s well placed free-kick was met with a header from the Serbian, which was too much for Johnstone to keep out.

Willian didn’t stop there, and almost extended Fulham’s lead with an ambitious strike. The Brazilian cut inside and struck from distance – he was only denied by Johnstone, who tipped his long-range effort onto the crossbar.

As the second half progressed, the sting was taken out of the game with some stoppages and with the game seemingly swinging in Fulham’s favour, Crystal Palace equalised. A free-kick deflected off Antonee Robinson and fell into the path of Joel Ward. The defender’s initial effort was well parried by Bernd Leno, but Ward reacted first and levelled the game in the final ten minutes.

The game fizzled out at that point with both sides having to settle for a point. Fulham will now head to Old Trafford on the final day with a win needed to break that record points total. Crystal Palace will welcome Nottingham Forest, looking to secure an eleventh place finish. 

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