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Crystal Palace 0-0 Fulham
SCOTT PARKER was left to rue the chances his Fulham side missed against Crystal Palace today, leaving them three points off safety with 12 games to go.
Newcastle’s draw on Saturday night left the away side with the chance to close the gap to just a point. But recent man of the moment Josh Maja fluffed his lines when his header from six yards out was somehow tipped around the post by Palace keeper Vicente Guaita.
While Parker initially admitted Fulham “deserved the draw,” he later boldly claimed that their second-half display was enough to leave Selhurst Park with all three points.
“We fully deserved to win the game on the balance of opportunities created, and defensively we didn’t concede a shot on target. We committed more bodies forward in the second half and created some good chances after reviewing the first half and identifying where we could hurt them. We move on.”
The first half of the match was a non-event, with neither side able to turn their attacking intent into anything tangible. The two clear chances of the half fell to Christian Anderson, but both headed efforts were wide and high of the target respectively.
The second half was a much better spectacle, with Parker’s men more threatening in attack and it was the Cottagers who produced the first effort on target after 51 minutes, albeit seemingly off Cheikh Kouyate’s head as he attempted to clear the danger. Fortunately for Guaita, it was straight at him.
The early effort on goal however was a sign of things to come as Fulham stepped up the pressure on the Palace goal, with a 25-minute spell where Fulham seemed to create chance after chance, which was in stark contrast to the first half.
Anderson had a left-footed strike from 20 yards comfortably saved by Guaita after 52 minutes and Ademola Lookman flashed a first-time volley across the face of the Palace goal a few minutes later, but no Fulham player was able to capitalise on the opportunity.
Then came Maja’s effort.
Substitute Ivan Cavaleiro’s pin-point cross found the Fulham striker six-yards out but the Nigerian’s headed effort was expertly saved by Guaita.
“Guaita’s save was a match-winning save but he didn’t have many saves to make. We deserved the draw,” reflected the Fulham boss.
There’s a quick turnaround for Palace, who host Manchester United next on Wednesday night.
Roy Hodgson expressed his disappointment with the decision to bring the game forward from March 20, saying: “The game being rearranged for Wednesday doesn’t suit us with so many important players out and a three-week rest afterwards that we don’t need.”
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