Fulham battered their way to a 0-0 draw against Brighton and a point that edges them up the table.
Pretty? Hardly – and nothing like the dynamic pressing game against Liverpool on Sunday.
But carrying the millstones of missing fans and fatigue, this was a point gained.
Fulham are becoming tough to beat
Had you been watching from a hot-air ballon, the game would have a resembled a pinball machine.
The ball cried out for mercy as it was pinged here, there and everywhere.
In fact, rare as it is for the Premier League, there was one moment in the first half when five passes in a row went to the opposition: Fulham to Brighton; Brighton to Fulham, white to blue, blue to white, and so on.
It wasn’t much better in the second half.
But there were signs that Fulham in this run-and-kick battle were twice the force, or have twice the resilience of the unit that surrendered so many points at the beginning of the season.
They get a foot, a head or a block to the ball when it matters, while Alphonse Areola twice in a heartbeat pulled off good saves from Lewis Dunk.
The Great Dane
Joachim Andersen, you pronounce it ‘Jockhim’ according to Scott Parker, looks the real deal.
The head coach called his newest centre half a “gamble” when getting him on loan from Lyon.
But if one reads the Dane’s stats, his passing success was exemplary.
That suggests he bought himself time in Ligue 1 to pick out and measure his deliveries.
He’s done that at Fulham too.
Everybody understands what Parker means by gamble.
Plenty of foreign imports fail to adjust to the hurly-burly and tempo of the Premier League – at least initially. Just ask Andre-Frank Anguissa.
But Andersen’s positional play and reading of the game has given the Whites a better and more certain authority at the back.
VAR giveth and VAR taketh away
Fulham were unlucky to lose out in the Liverpool game when the referee viewed a number of playbacks and still denied them a penalty.
This time, the technology came to the rescue when Danny Welbeck handled in the box before supplying Adam Lallana to net.
At first, it looked as if the VAR review suggested Lallana was offside.
But it was the split second when the ball hit Welbeck’s hand that saved Fulham.
No human eye would have registered that in real time. So as they say, decisions even themselves out.
Sorry to harp on, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek?
He doesn’t owe me money or anything, and I have nothing against the feller, but when you get one clear chance on goal and you miss it, what can you say?
Robert Sanchez made a good save with his legs from Loftus-Cheek’s shot when he was in the clear, but what if that had been Mohamed Salah bearing down on goal? I’ll say no more.
Those aching muscles
Three games in a week will test anyone, and with the third demanding a hefty trip north to Newcastle, the order of the day surely has to be massage, feet up, and early to bed.
If Fulham can come away with something from St James’ Park on Saturday they can look back on a decent five-game spell.