Fulham set for play-offs despite Brentford draw

Fulham 1 Brentford 1

Dan Bentley’s penalty save earned Brentford a share of the spoils in the last west London derby of the season – but Fulham will be in the play-offs barring a mathematical miracle.

Tom Cairney had given Fulham an eighth minute lead, tucking home after Ryan Sessegnon had laid the ball into his path across the penalty area.

But Nico Yennaris levelled for Brentford against the run of play, latching on to Konstantin Kerschbaumer’s pass and slotting home.

Cairney was then presented with another opportunity to restore Fulham’s lead on the stroke of half-time when Yoann Barbet’s woefully mistimed sliding tackle caught Stefan Johansen – but Bentley kept out the spot-kick, the ninth that the Whites have missed this season.

Both goalkeepers were kept busy in an end-to-end second half, but neither could find a breakthrough.

ollowing Fulham’s opener, Brenford attempted to respond with Lasse Vibe’s shot being turned away by Whites keeper Marcus Bettinelli – chosen once again ahead of ex-Brentford stopper David Button.

Fulham though had further chances – Floyd Ayite saw an effort gathered by Bentley and then blazed wildly over the bar when played through on goal.

So it was somewhat out of the blue when the Bees levelled on 33 minutes, Yennaris showing the composure Ayite had lacked at the other end.

Bentley’s penalty save kept the two rivals level at half-time and he denied Cairney again after the break, this time from open play, while Johansen curled wide.

The introduction of Florian Jozefzoon sparked a spell of Brentford pressure and Bettinelli turned away the substitute’s shot at his near post, while twice keeping out efforts from Vibe and comfortably saving from Romaine Sawyers.

A big roar from the home fans greeted news that seventh-placed Leeds had drawn 3-3 with Norwich, all-but guaranteeing Fulham a play-off spot – but victory for Sheffield Wednesday means Fulham can finish no higher than sixth.

Fulham: Bettinelli; Fredericks, Kalas, Ream, Malone; McDonald, Johansen; Ayite (Kebano 78), Cairney, Sessegnon (Piazon 59); Aluko.
Subs not used: Button, Odoi, Madl, Parker, Cyriac.

Brentford: Bentley; Clarke, Dean, Barbet, Field; Yennaris, Kerschbaumer (Westbrook 76); Jota, Sawyers, Canos (Jozefzoon 61); Vibe.
Subs not used: Bonham, Bjelland, Egan, Hofmann, Shaibu.