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Premier League

  • 25 September 2010
  • • 15:00
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: H. Webb
  • • Attendance: 25598

Fulham 0-0 Everton: Mark Schwarzer keeps visitors at bay as David Moyes' men fail to pick up first win

Fulham 0-0 Everton: Mark Schwarzer keeps visitors at bay as David Moyes' men fail to pick up first win

Cottagers remain unbeaten as visitors sink to the bottom...

Fulham and Everton played out a goalless draw in west London with a result that puts the travellers at the very bottom of the Premier League.

The Cottagers came into this game being one of only three sides to boast of an unbeaten league record, with Arsenal and Manchester United being the other two following Chelsea's defeat to Manchester City earlier in the day.

The home team's manager, Mark Hughes, had to deal with a striker crisis as Moussa Dembele is out for three weeks, while long-term injuries to Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson prevented them from playing any part in this game. Due to this, Zoltan Gera had to be deployed up front.

In the meantime, David Moyes' men came into this game on the verge of a crisis, having made their worst start to a season under their current boss. Indeed, one would have to go back to the 1994-95 season for a worse beginning to a season, when their first five games produced only a single point that campaign.

The Toffees' topscorer Tim Cahill was slated as a 50-50 before the start of the game, but the gravity of the situation meant that he started this crucial clash at Craven Cottage. Leon Osman was also a doubt, as the 29-year-old midfielder settled for a spot on the bench. And with Victor Anichebe and Louis Saha sidelined, Yakubu was charged with doing the damage up front.

Thus the story of the game unfolded as referee Howard Webb got the game underway in west London, with the travellers eager to right their wrongs so far as they started the game positively. But try as they might, the home side's defence stayed strong as they were unable to produce any clear cut scoring opportunities.

After having seen off some minor dominance early on, the Cottagers managed to mount an attack themselves, as midfielder Simon Davies - who was playing against his former club - turned well, but shot well over the bar.

As the game progressed, it was noticeable that the Toffees were playing a very calculated game as opposed to their direct style of play, perhaps owing to their lacklustre start to the campaign.

After 24 minutes another possession filled spell brought more pressure to the Cottagers' back line, full-back Leighton Baines sent in a cross that saw Phil Neville show some serious attacking intent with a view to breaking the deadlock. But goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer grabbed the ball as the game stayed in a state of equilibrium.

Towards the end of the first period Gera passed  to Davies, who in turn put it at the feet of full-back Carlos Salcido, who sent in a good cross. But Dickson Etuhu was unable to place the header as it landed safely in the hands of 'keeper Tim Howard.

At the other end, however, a counter attack saw midfielder Mikel Arteta let loose a fantastic strike from 30-yards out, but Schwarzer was equally good as he managed to tip the ball wide to prevent the visitors from taking the lead.

Five minutes into the second period, Davies won the Cottagers' first corner of the game, but the set play only saw the opposition goalkeeper claim the ball easily.

Around the hour mark, Hangeland found Damien Duff, who in turn found Clint Dempsey, but the American could not make the most of the opportunity as the shot was straight at the 'keeper. Over at the other end, Cahill showed his flexibility by making an acrobatic attempt to break the deadlock, but his shot went just wide.

A few minutes later, Yakubu decided to get creative and backheel the ball in the hope of making a mark on the game, but Osman - who had come on in place of Cahill - was unprepared for the ball to arrive at the back post and yet again the score remained unchanged.

With a little over 10 minutes remaining on the clock, the Nigerian had another go at goal, but his shot went well over. The marksman also had a chance just before the referee called time, but his strike again went wide.

The story of the Toffees' start to the season now reads six games played, three drawn and three lost, which puts them the rock bottom of the table as West Ham United beat Tottenham Hotspur to go above them.

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