McCormack free-kick rescues point for Fulham

Fulham 1 Preston North End 1

Leading scorer Ross McCormack once again rescued Fulham as his superb free-kick earned the managerless Whites a point at Craven Cottage.

Preston had taken an early lead through Joe Garner’s header as they shaded a first half short on quality.

But Fulham improved after the break and had two penalty appeals turned down, before finally getting a free-kick on the edge of the box 13 minutes from time.

McCormack stepped up and curled the ball beyond the grasp of Preston keeper Jordan Pickford for his 10th league goal of the season.

Fulham were worthy of the point in the end, though they were booed off at half-time after a lifeless display.

Preston’s wing-back system allowed them to exploit Fulham’s lack of width and a Daniel Johnson pass into the open channel created the first chance, with Eoin Doyle’s snapshot saved by Joe Lewis.

But it only took the visitors 11 minutes to go in front. A short corner routine led to Paul Gallagher’s cross, and Garner headed in at the far post.

It wasn’t until the half hour mark that Fulham seriously threatened, Moussa Dembele’s curling effort being superbly tipped over by Pickford.

Fulham caretaker-manager Peter Grant ditched the 4-4-2 diamond for 3-5-2 at the break to match up with Preston and it worked at times.

Both wing-backs felt they should have had penalties, Ryan Fredericks believing he was tripped by Adam Reach and James Husband going down after a Peter Clarke challenge.

McCormack then had a low shot turned away by Pickford but there was nothing the keeper could do about his perfect free-kick into the top corner.

Fulham: Lewis; Fredericks, Stearman, Ream, Husband (Pringle 89); O’Hara; Parker (Smith 74), Kavanagh (Hutchinson 46); Cairney; McCormack, Dembele.
Subs not used: Rodak, Voser, Garbutt, Woodrow.