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Fulham 2-3 Everton
by Harry Corton
at Craven Cottage
FULHAM’S woeful penalty record continued today as their comeback against a strong Everton side fell short.
Ivan Cavaleiro became the third player to step up to the spot for the Cottagers this season — and their third to miss when he slipped and saw his attempt sail into the vacant Hammersmith End.
Fulham manager Scott Parker was incredulous at full time. “There is no denying we have a bit of an issue in terms of penalty takers. You couldn’t have written it, the way he slipped and missed.
“All I can say is that over the last 10 days we have put things in place and worked tirelessly in terms of preparation and understanding the process.
“Ivan is an exceptional penalty taker and last time I was in this situation with Ade’s,” he said, referring to Lookman’s Panenka-style spot-kick miss earlier this month, “I was angry and disappointed with the way we missed it.
“But today these things can happen. Of course I’m disappointed, but he slipped. It was one of them things.”
Everton were deserving of their 3-1 half-time lead, courtesy of a brace from the league’s top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin and a bullet header from Abdoulaye Doucoure.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men had flown out of the blocks to open the scoring inside the first minute. Rabid pressing forced Fulham into a mistake, allowing Richarlison to cross for Calvert-Lewin who bundled the ball in from three yards out.
But Parker can be pleased with how his side responded — Bobby Reid testing Jordan Pickford’s sharpness as the England stopper parried for a corner.
And it was Reid who drew the hosts level on 15 minutes after a clever one-two with captain Tom Cairney, marking his 50th Premier League appearance with an assist.
But Ancelotti’s team have their eyes on big things this season, and their superb team goal to restore their lead showed why.
Meandering in-field from his position on the right flank, Alex Iwobi dribbled past three Fulham defenders before finding the soft feet of James Rodriguez — who played in Lucas Digne to cross for the finishing Calvert-Lewin.
Before the hour mark Parker introduced Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Aleksandr Mitrovic in a bid to cut through a congested Toffees back line, and it had the desired effect when the Englishman was clipped in the box by Ben Godfrey.
After Mitrovic’s two botched attempts from the spot for Fulham and Serbia this season, and Lookman’s humbling attempt against West Ham, Cavaleiro stepped up only to muster a more woeful attempt than his two teammates before him.
But minutes later, substitute Loftus-Cheek — who had won the penalty — did pull one back for the hosts.
With 20 minutes still on the clock, the on-loan Chelsea striker’s goal gave Fulham some much-needed hope.
But by that point the damage was done, and the Toffees were able to see out their first win in four games and move back into the top half of the table.
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