Fulham fail to capitalize on their chances and have to settle for a point
Sunderland managed to clear two Fulham attempts off the line to frustrate the home side and ensure they left Craven Cottage with a point.
The managers of both Fulham and Sunderland will undoubtedly be frustrated at failing to take three points from the game after both teams had their chances to take the lead, which would have probably won the game.
The game came to life in the second half when Fulham had two shots cleared off the Sunderland goal-line to ensure that the game remained 0-0.
The first chance fell to Dickson Etuhu, who saw his headed attempt cleared by the expectant David Bardsley waiting to clear the danger.
The second goal-line clearance came in the form of a save from the deputizing Simin Mignolet, who managed to judge Andy Johnson's attempt accurately and ensure that the scores remained level.
The best chance for Sunderland fell moments after when a breakaway saw the visitors in a three on one attacking situation but a failed pass from Darren Bent ensured the chance was wasted and the score remained goalless.
Fulham manager Mark Hughes made just one change from the team that lost 2-1 to Arsenal last weekend. John Paintsil replaced Matthew Briggs to take his place in a Fulham defence that had conceded seven goals in the last three games.
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce made two changes to his side that beat West Ham United 1-0 last weekend. Midfielder David Meyler came in to replace Asamoah Gyan, following his recovery from a seven-month lay-off with a knee ligament injury, to earn his first appearance of the season. Scottish shot-stopper Craig Gordan failed to shrug off a hamstring injury he picked up in training earlier in the week so Mignolet was drafted in for the Black Cats.
The first chance of the game fell to Clint Dempsey who connected with a clearance from the Sunderland defense. Fulham midfielder Danny Murphy played a ball over the top for Dimoansy Kamara to run onto but an interception from Sunderland led to a half-hearted clearance, which landed on the chest of Dempsey who fired in a fierce 30-yard volley for Minolet to save.
Moments later Anton Ferdinand played a ball into the crowd to prevent any further danger but appeared to pull his hamstring in doing so and as a result was brought off in the tenth minute for Ahmed Al- Muhammadi.
The first chance for Sunderland came after 20 minutes when a cross played in found the head of Darren Bent, who managed to get the better of Fulham defender Aaron Hughes and place his header just wide of the left-hand post.
Mid-way through the first half referee Neil Swarbrick had to make his biggest decision of the game so far when Bardsley entered a challenge with Simon Davies showing his studs. He managed to win the ball but it didn't look the cleanest of challenges and a free-kick was given for dangerous play and Bardsley was lucky to escape the challenge without being cautioned.
A corner from Sunderland led to raised pressure on the Fulham defense as they struggled to clear their lines but the Black Cats could not find the extra spark that was needed to penetrate the hosts and the attack led to nothing.
This led to more pressure from Sunderland and Daniel Wellbeck received the ball inside the penalty area and managed to turn with the ball but found an anticipating Brede Hangeland who did enough to distract the striker and ensure his shot was fired over the crossbar.
Fulham midfielder Zoltan Gera made a darting running and managed to turn Nudeum Onuoha before playing in Kamara, who decided to take the ball central and try and dink the ball over Mignolet, who caught the ball and made it look like a routine save.
The players left the pitch at the break to the echo of boos from the fans at Craven Cottage, who were demonstrating their frustration at a half which didn't really see much action, with both teams struggling to string a collection of passes together, and remained goalless.
The second half started with Hughes bringing on Andy Johnson to replace Kamara, which sparked the Fulham faithful into belief because as a rule there are normally goals in game he plays.
Witihin two minutes the former England international was chasing down a lost cause and sliding in for a ball on the byline, creating a chance out of nothing to lift the home sides spirits.
Dempsey had a chance from the edge of the penalty area but saw his curling effort,heading for the top right-hand corner of the goal, lacking pace and was easily saved by the young Belgian keeper.
Sunderland recognized the mounting pressure arising from Fulham and Bruce decided to re-organize his team. Off came Meyler,playing his first game in seven months, and on came £13 million record signing Gyan meaning their formation changed to 4-3-3.
The pressure from Fulham continued and Carlos Salcido played a cross from the left hand side of the pitch, which Dempsey failed to connect with despite a sliding effort and the ball found it's way through the penalty area and out of danger.
Just seconds later another cross found it's way into the area and Mignolet failed to deal with the pressure, enabling Etuhu the chance to place a headed shot, only to find Bardsley on the line to clear the danger.
A rare breakaway from Sunderland saw Kieran Richardson waste one of Sunderland's best chances. A run down the Sunderland right-wing saw Henderson feed his Richardson, only to see his shot sail over Mark Schwarzer's bar.
A scramble on the Sunderland goal line saw Mignolet pull off a magnificent save to prevent the home team from taking the lead. Johnson saw his shot fired straight at Mignolet.
The clearance led to an incisive break from Sunderland who had a three on one attack. Had Bent managed to find his pass, the score would have surely been 1-0 in favour of the visitors as Gyan was in acres of space but the pass was over hit and found it's way to the touchline for a throw-in.
With twenty mintues of the game left Hughes made a double swap bringing Eddie Johnson and Chris Baird on to replace Etuhu and Salcido, in a substitution to show that the former Manchester City manager could sense victory should his side score.
Late in the game Boudewijn Zenden came on to replace the quiet Wellbeck and saw his 25-yard low-placed shot find it's way narrowly wide of the Fulham post.
The result leaves Fulham just one place above the relegation zone, level on points with Wigan Athletic.
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