Fulham draw with Charlton in feisty derby

Fulham 2 Charlton 2

Fulham had to settle for a share of the spoils despite a strong finish to a feisty London derby at Craven Cottage.

Aleksandar Mitrovic’s 62nd-minute leveller cancelled out Charlton’s hopes of what would have been a fine victory in west London.

The Whites were aiming to keep up momentum from the very impressive 4-1 midweek victory at Reading, a complete team performance.

Manager Scott Parker made a couple of changes from the Madjeski Stadium, with Steven Sessegnon and Ivan Cavaleiro returning with Denis Odoi and Bobby Reid dropping to the bench.

Fulham were eager in attack throughout the early stages but despite plenty of industry by Cavaleiro and Mitrovic in particular they found the Addicks – three paces behind the hosts in eighth place – well organised. Mitrovic did have a 22nd minute penalty claim when he appeared to be held back but Tom Lockyer but the Charlton defender escaped censure.

Fulham lost their usual rhythm in parts and were prone to leaving themselves open to the occasional counter-attack; keeper Marcus Bettinelli making a smart save in the 32nd minute from Jonny Williams left sided, angled shot. Eventually Stefan Johansen fired a speculative shot which was easily saved by Dillon Phillips, before Mitrovic headed over from six yards as the Whites shook off some lethargy.

It made little difference and the threat from the visitors paid of when they went in front in the 40th minute. Conor Gallagher, the Addicks’ loanee from Chelsea, swept home superbly from 12 yards following a good cross from the left by Jake Forster-Caskey, and expertly headed down into the midfielder’s path by Mahmadou-Naby Sarr.

Parker’s response at the start of the second half was to make a double substitution, bringing on Bobby Reid and Harrison Reed for Harry Arter and off-form Sessegnon.

The changes worked for a spell as the game burst into life in a twelve minute spell. Fulham equalised with a superb goal – Cavaleiro exchanged passes with Reid on the half way line in the 54th minute before driving forward and curling a superb shot into the roof of the net.

The home fans euphoria hadn’t subsided when Charlton went in front just two minutes later. Williams worked a pass inside the penalty area to Darren Pratley, whose precise cross was headed carefully over Bettinelli by Bonne.

The Cottagers’ responded to great effect though, and both Bryan and Mitrovic crashed efforts off the bar. They proved to be the precursors to Fulham’s second – Mitrovic stabbing home in dramatic fashion after Phillips parried Cairney’s header from Reid’s left sided cross.

The impressive Charlton keeper then turned over a Reid 18-yard shot as Fulham pressed strongly for a winner in the closing stages, while Cairney flashed a volley inches wide. However all the latter dominance and efforts ultimately proved futile.

Fulham: Bettinelli, Mawson, Ream, Bryan, Sessegnon (Reid, 45), Knockaert, Arter (Reed, 45), Johansen (Odomah, 87), Cairney, Knockaert, Mitrovic.
Subs not used: Odoi, Le Marchand, Kamara.