Fulham denied by late Albion equaliser

West Bromwich Albion 1 Fulham 1

Maarten Stekelenburg’s late error cost Felix Magath victory in his first match in charge of Fulham.

With the Whites defending desperately to protect their lead and earn a first league win since New Year’s Day, West Brom substitute Matej Vydra’s 86th minute shot was spilled over the line by the previously faultless Stekelenburg.

Earlier, the Dutchman had made fine stops to keep out Chris Brunt and James Morrison as West Brom dominated the second half.

Dejagah, who played under Magath at Wolfsburg, had marked his recall to the side with what looked like the decisive goal, until Vydra struck.

While the Czech’s goal was probably deserved based on the Baggies’ second half display, Fulham will be disappointed that they weren’t able to lift themselves off the foot of the Premier League.

Magath, who replaced Rene Meulensteen earlier this month, made five changes, including recalling Dejagah and starting with Hugo Rodallega up front.

Heitinga, one of Meulensteen’s January transfer deadline day signings, headed over from Holtby’s cross before the German drilled wide from 20 yards.

Steve Sidwell fired over from close range from Dejagah’s delivery as Fulham continued to impress.

And, after Stekelenburg had denied Thievy Bifouma in a rare West Brom attack, Fulham scored the goal their play merited just before the half hour mark.

Richardson’s cross was missed by Holtby but the ball ran for Dejagah, who drilled it low past Foster.

West Brom really applied the pressure in the second half and Fulham were initially indebted to Stekelenburg for beating away Brunt’s firmly struck left-footed shot and later saving well from Morrison’s deflected effort.

Fulham’s £11m striker Konstantinos Mitroglou was introduced on the hour mark for his long-awaited debut but he saw little of the ball as the Whites had to defend stoicly.

Just as it looked like they might keep their first Premier League clean sheet since 8 December, Vydra’s shot squirmed through Stekelenburg’s grasp and while he tried to claw it back, the Goal Decision System ruled it over the line.

Fulham: Stekelenburg; Riether, Heitinga, Hangeland, Amorebieta (Riise 52); Dejagah, Parker, Sidwell, Richardson (Burn 70); Holtby; Rodallega (Mitroglou 61).
Subs not used: Stockdale, Kvist, Kasami, Tankovic.

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