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Queens Park Rangers
West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
September 14, 2013
• Craven Cottage, London
Referee: L. Probert
• Attendance: 25560
S. Sidwell 22'
West Bromwich Albion
G. McAuley 90'+
And that'll be all from me, Sam Wells, today. Thanks for following the Premier League action with me and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Until next time, farewell!
West Brom, meanwhile, will be delighted that they managed to salavage a point from that. Though they probably deserved to share the points on the balance of play, their opposition's three disallowed goals will serve to sweeten the impact of McAuley's last equaliser. Anichebe and Amalfitano both impressed on their debuts, though Clarke will be looking for more from Anelka after a disappointing performance today. Despite not grabbing their first win as hoped, there was cause for optimism in the nature of the Baggies' fightback this afternoon.
The disappointment in the Fulham dressing room will be palpable; this game will surely feel like a loss after they held the lead right up until the 92nd minute. Though their three disallowed goals were all correctly ruled offside, they will only serve to rub salts in Fulham's collective wound as they proved incapable of extending their lead. Still, Jol can take some positives as the Cottagers put in a predominantly impressive performance; he will simply be keen for a more ruthless edge next time around.
90' + 6'
And the game ends in a draw! The referee calls an end to proceedings, producing a chorus of boos from a disconsolate home support - how did they not manage to win this one? It ends 1-1 at Craven Cottage.
90' + 5'
Fulham form what could be their last attack as Riether plays the ball into Rodallege. The substitute's first touch is poor though and Olsson clears.
90' + 4'
West Brom appear as though they want the three points now, while Fulham look spent, in all honesty. The home side are just sitting back now, hoping they can see the game out and claim a point. Truly incredible, given how many goals the Cottagers have had ruled out.
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
And it's a GOAL! Brunt clips in the ensuing corner and McAuley rises above everyone to head home at the far post. A really fantastic header, it takes something impressive to overpower Hangeland in an earlier battle but the West Brom centre back managed. 1-1!
90' + 1'
90' + 1'
West Brom are piling on the pressure as Berahino earns a corner, playing the ball off Parker. Although the midfielder thinks the final touch came off the English youngster.
The injury time has been announced and it's six minutes. Before Ruiz's injury, it was supposed to be four. That could very well play into West Brom's hands - this could be a tetchy six minutes for Fulham!
Ruiz is being stretchered off here; let's hope it's not too serious, the Costa Rican has been impressive today - he was particularly unlucky with that crossbar-bound effort.
Ruiz goes down after a challenge with Ridgewell; it looks serious as it appears the talented midfielder twisted something in an attempt to get up with the West Brom defender. Damien Duff prepares to come on in his place.
West Brom continue to push but Sinclair spurns a half-chance after Morrison found him well on the edge of the area. The winger shimmies to work himself a shooting opportunity but his effort goes well awry.
Morrison puts a ball into Berahino's feet and the striker does excellently to bring the ball down. His cross, aimed at Anelka, is blocked but that was nice from the English youngster.
Another disallowed goal for Fulham and this time it's substitute Rodallega who has a goal ruled out! Ruiz rattles the bar after some nice play from Fulham and Sidwell heads the rebound into Rodallega's path, who duly converts. Sidwell, however, was offside when Ruiz's effort was struck and the goal, for the third time, was rightly ruled offside.
West Brom come forward again, this time through Scott Sinclair. The winger attacks down the left and eventually tries to thread through to Anelka. Nothing doing though and the ball is cleared.
West Brom are really pushing for this equaliser as we approach the latter stages of this contest. But, as they throw everything forward, they look increasingly susceptible to the counter. Kacaniklic tries to exploit this but is eventually crowded out by West Brom defenders.
Berahino comes on for Anichebe - the striker has impressed for England Under 21's lately, let's see if he can replicate that form in the big leagues.
Anelka wastes a golden opportunity! Olsson drives a great ball into Anichebe's feet who, in turn, plays an equally delightful pass into the advancing Anelka. The striker fails to gather the ball with a poor first touch and goes down under the challenge of Senderos. There are protests but they are all in vain as the referee gives nothing; Senderos might have touched Anelka's foot but he was already on his way down.
Another half chance goes begging for the Baggies as Sinclair meets a Morrison cross in the area. The former Man City man can't get enough on it though and Fulham remain a goal to the good.
Anelka goes close! Anichebe does really well upfront after Morrison clips a ball into the frontman, gathering it well and playing into his advancing strike-partner. Anelka strikes into the far corner but Stockdale saves with aplomb to deny the veteran the equaliser.
West Brom work their way forward but Fulham are proving stoic defensively, allowing the Baggies no space when they enter the final third.
The corner is cleared but only to the feet of Scott Parker. The midfielder works his way out to the right but his cross is poor, sailing behind harmlessly for a goal kick.
Yellow CardBilly Jones
The Cottagers look the stronger side going into the final twenty minutes as Kasami runs at the West Brom defence once more. The midfielder strikes an effort goalwards but it is deflected behind for a corner.
Jones gives Amorebieta an uncompromising welcome to the Premier League as he hacks down the defender with some venom, earning himself a booking in the process.
Anleka, yet again, dithers on the ball and is dispossessed. But, in this case, and to the striker's credit, he harries the opposition and gets the ball back, spurring the Baggies forward.
Fulham get forward well as Kasami is afforded a lot of space in the middle of the park. The midfielder finds Sidwell but a truly dismal first touch gifts West Brom the ball and the Baggies go on the attack once more.
Fulham look to shore up their defence with a substitution as Venezualan Fernando Amorebieta makes his debut, replacing Richardson at the back.
Berbatov goes close again! A truly excellent acrobatic effort flies just over the bar for the Bulgarian. After Ruiz dinks a ball into the area, the Fulham frontman, who may have been just offside (again), pivots in the air and strikes goalwards. So unlucky!
Brunt curls a corner into the area but no-one can meet it for West Brom; with 35 minutes remaining, the Baggies are looking increasingly desperate for that oh-so vital next goal.
West Brom make two switches as they go in search of a goal as Yacob and Amalfitano make way for Scott Sinclair and James Morrison. It's surprising to see the latter be substituted given his impressive performance today, but Sinclair should inject some pace into the side.
Fulham certainly have the ascendancy at the moment as more pressure from the home side forces a corner; the ensuing corner is cleared with ease though and Riether affords the away side some respite with a needless foul on Anelka.
Berbatov, as often seems the case with this Fulham side, is reprimanding his fellow teammates for failing to get into the box after Kacaniklic's cross fails to be met by a Fulham head.
There's a palpable feeling in the air that a goal could be on the way here; West Brom are pressing higher and higher up the pitch and, while this is creating more opportunities for the Baggies, it's also leaving gaps in behind that Fulham could potentially exploit. It's difficult to envisage this remaining 1-0, that much is certain.
Berbatov is denied again! Ruiz picks the striker out with a lovely through ball but the Bulgarian is unable to dink the ball over the advancing Myhill as the goalkeeper makes an adept save. Myhill did well there, Berbatov could have done little else.
In a similar instance to the one that conclude the first half, a long ball almost manages to find Anelka. But, in this case, it was Stockdale's intervention that prevented a goal, as opposed to the frontman's poor touch. A good run though and West Brom are knocking on the door here.
Anichebe spurns West Brom's best chance of the game! The former Everton man turns Hangeland with aplomb but can only drive his effort straight at Stockdale. He did really well to work the opening but he's got to be disappointed with that finish - Stockdale could hardly get out of the way of it.
Another disallowed goal for Berbatov! This time it's much tighter but the linesman makes the correct decision once again. That was a massive let-off for Yacob after the defensive midfielder was dispossessed on the edge of his own box; Kasami threaded the ball through to the Bulgarian but the flag cancelled out his impressive finish.
Fulham get froward through Kasami down the right but his cross is blocked by the hand of Ridgewell. No free kick is given though, as the referee presumably deemed the left-back unable to avert his hand away from the ball in time.
Anelka, who hasn't particularly impressed today, is caught offside after another sweetly-executed ball by Amalfitano puts him through. Clarke will be asking for more from the journeyman if West Brom are to find a way back into this game.
Brunt dispossesses Parker and attempts to launch a counter-attack, playing the ball left to an advancing Anelka. The striker, yet again, loses possession as he proves too languid on the ball once more.
West Brom almost forge an opportunity, again through the ingenuity of Amalfitano, as the winger dummies the ball, letting it run through to Anichebe. The striker found himself practically through on goal but also, unfortunately, found himself ruled offside.
And we're back underway here at Craven Cottage. Fulham kick off as they look to see out their lead in this second half, let's see if they can manage it!
West Brom, meanwhile, won't be too dismayed with their first-half showing, despite being a goal down. Amalfitano has impressed down the right flank and Anichebe has showed what he can do in fits and starts. Clarke will be confident that, so long as they can retain the ball a little better, they can mount a comeback in the second period. This one is far from over yet!
Fulham will be pleased with their contribution to the first half; though they started fairly slowly, they managed to assert themselves on the game as the half wore on and, by the end (aside from a couple of half-chances), looked fairly comfortable. This game, however, is far from over and Jol will be wary of the threats that West Brom, particularly down the right as Amalfitano has proved too much to handle at times in the first half. Jol will surely be looking for an early second to avoid any tetchy times in the next 45 minutes.
45' + 1'
With practically the last touch of the half, Mulumbu tries to find Anelka with a long ball. The striker is millimetres away from getting on the end of it and, with Stockdale caught in no-mans-land, one can't help but feel that he would've rounded the goalkeeper had he managed to get anything on it! Nothing doing though and the referee calls an end to an intermittently exciting first half.
Kacaniklic does well down the left to work himself the crossing opportunity but, as has often been the case in this half, his cross lets him down as it fails to beat the first man.
Billy Jones has a golden opportunity after Amalfitano puts another dangerous ball in the area. He almost manages to cap a nice move but is unable to get enough power behind the header as his attempt is cleared before it can even reach Stockdale.
A dangerous West Brom attack is halted by a combination of Anelka's languid nature and Kasami's doggedness. The Fulham midfielder nicks the ball off the striker after he dithered on the ball for too long.
Fulham retain the ball well in their own half, stroking the ball around comfortably despite some fairly intense pressing from the Baggies. This has been a good half for Jol's side; they just need to see it out.
Fulham go down the other end and earn themselves a corner but Ruiz's delivery is nowhere near as dangerous as Brunt's and West Brom clear with consummate ease.
Brunt whips a corner in after Amalfitano works hard to earn a set-piece down the right. The cross is a good one but no-one can get on the end of it as Fulham muddle the ball clear.
Mulumbu is balked by Parker about 45 yards from goal, in the same position as Brunt's effort minutes earlier. Brunt, this time, chooses to whip the ball in but the cross is cleared.
Brunt attempts a truly audacious effort from about 45 yards out! Stockdale expects the winger to cross the ball but he catches the goalkeeper by surprise, going for goal and, what's more, almost succeeding! The shot goes just wide but it was a truly spectacular effort.
Fulham attempt to turn their possession into something more palpable as Ruiz strikes from distance. The shot goes well over though, not troubling Myhill in the slightest.
Fulham are exerting some authority on the game now, controlling possession as West Brom struggle to have any real impact on the latter part of this half.
Disallowed goal! Sidwell turns creator this time, getting well down the left and putting the ball into the backpost, allowing Berbatov to convert. The Bulgarian is, however, well offside and the goal is correctly ruled out. Surely the striker could've adjusted his position there - he could see across the whole line and shouldn't really have been caught offside in all honesty.
Amalfitano almosts get in down the right wing but Richardson recovers well, muscling the new West Brom loanee to the ground in a manner that the referee deemed fair.
West Brom persist in their attempts to hit Fulham back with a goal but they're not looking as though they're about to break through the home side's defence anytime soon.
Brunt has a header on goal after another good cross from the hitherto impressive Amalfitano. The header is fairly tame though, and Stockdale suffers no problems in gathering the ball.
It's end-to-end stuff here at Craven Cottage as Ruiz puts a dangerous cross into the West Brom box. As with Brunt's cross minutes earlier, no-one is there to reach it and it runs through to Myhill in the West Brom goal.
Brunt puts in a good cross as West Brom continue to push forward; no-one is there, however, and the ball is cleared with ease. Promising signs from the away side here though.
West Brom attempt to form an attack of their own as new signing Amalfitano puts in two good crosses in quick succession. Anichebe makes a hash of the first but the second is even more dangerous as Stockdale flaps unconvincingly under the pressure of Anelka.
Fulham look to capitalise on their momentum as they create a couple of opportunities following the goal. Kacaniklic crosses the ball in for Berbatov but the striker, rapidly backtracking, can only head wide.
GOAL! And it's an unlikely goalscorer in the form of Steve Sidwell! After Richardson earns a corner down the left, Kacaniklic swings in a corner that Senderos gets his head to. McAuley blocks but Sidwell is there and volleys home with aplomb! A decent finish and perhaps just what this game needed!
Fulham engage in some neat interplay on the edge of the West Brom area but it eventually comes to nothing as Kasami misplaces a pass.
Brunt tries his luck from thirty yards out after sidestepping Sidwell adeptly. It's a good effort but it whistles just wide of the post - without doubt, the best chance of the half so far.
Seventeen minutes in and neither goalkeeper has been tested thus far. That's not to say it's been particularly dull but rather bereft of any real killer touch. Kacaniklic looks to provide some down the left but his cross is intercepted by McAuley.
Riether plays a ball into Berbatov in the area and the Bulgarian tries a typically extravagant touch to bring the ball into his path. However, under pressure from Olsson, the striker can only succeed in putting the ball out for a West Brom goal kick.
Both sides are showing glimpses of quality but have yet to really make any impact on the game. Ruiz shows his class, sidestepping a challenge from Mulumbu but his pass to the marauding Sidwell goes astray - a microcosm of the half thus far, if you like.
Berbatov, quiet thus far, receives the ball adeptly from Hangeland, laying off to Parker and starting off a nice move for the home side. The move eventually breaks down on the edge of the area though, with a handball given against Kacaniklic after Jones' clearance cannoned against the winger's arm.
Fulham almost create a crossing opportunity down the right but Parker overcooks the ball slightly, asking too much of foraying right-back Riether. A decent idea though, the home side will be looking for more of that as the game wears on.
It's Fulham's turn to press now as Riether puts a ball into the area, forcing Olsson into a poorly-executed clearance. The away side eventually manage to get the ball clear, however.
Anichebe dispossesses Richardson well down the right flank and earns his side a throw-in; the former Everton man looks like he's intent on causing some problems for the Fulham defence here today.
Fulham retain the ball well, stringing together a few passes as West Brom sit back and soak up the pressure. Both teams have started fairly well but neither side has forged a real opening as of yet.
Anichebe, also enjoying a bright opening, worms away from Senderos and attempts to get a strike on goal. Hangeland makes a good block though, getting his considerable frame in the way and deflecting the ball away.
Kasami, who's looked fairly bright in the opening few minutes here, has caused Liam Ridgewell some damage after the two contest a ball in the air. Clarke wasn't particularly happy with the challenge but there wasn't really much in that, in all honesty.
Incidentally, that was Brunt who threaded the ball through to Anichebe there - a nice ball from a player that is making his first start of the Premier League season today. He'll be hoping to make an impact with the arrival of Sessegnon and Sinclair putting pressure on the wingers.
Anichebe almost gets an opportunity just three minutes into his debut but is called just offside, perhaps debatably, by the linesman. A decent run though and he'll fancy his chances today against an occasionally frail Fulham defence.
Fulham get off to a decent start as, after Kasami's cross was cleared by Olsson, Ruiz picks it up on the edge of the area. He strikes on his favoured left foot but it sails disappointingly wide.
And we're underway at Craven Cottage! West Brom kick off proceedings, hoping to pick up their first win of the season.
The teams are in the tunnel now as we prepare for what could be a thrilling encounter!
West Brom, meanwhile, persist with the same backline that started in the 2-0 loss to Swansea but wring the changes further forward, introducing new signings Morgan Amalfitano and Victor Anichebe in place of James Morrison and Shane Long, while Chris Brunt also comes in for Scott Sinclair.
Fulham make three changes from the side that fell to a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle as the injured Darren Bent makes way for Patjim Kasami, while two changes are made in defence with Philippe Senderos and Kieran Richardson replacing Aaron Hughes and John Arne Riise at the back.
West Brom: Myhill; Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Amalfitano, Mulumbu, Yacob, Brunt; Anelka, Anichebe. Subs: L Daniels (gk), Dawson, Popov, Morrison, Rosenberg, Berahino, Sinclair.
Fulham: Stockdale; Riether, Senderos, Hangeland, Richardson; Sidwell, Parker; Ruiz, Kasami, Kacaniklic; Berbatov Subs: Etheridge, Zverotic, Amorebieta, Karagounis, Duff, Taarabt, Rodallega
And here come the team line-ups...
Even though it remains early in the season, the two sides today find themselves in need of three points, having both endured a tough start to the season. Steve Clarke's West Brom have recorded a solitary point thus far, having failed to score a goal as they find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table with three games gone. Their problems were exacerbated in the transfer window as they failed to bring Romelu Lukaku back in on loan, though they did manage to secure the signatures of Stephane Sessegnon and Victor Anichebe from Sunderland and Everton respectively. Fulham, meanwhile, have managed slightly better, albeit by the margin of three points, by virtue of their solitary win at the expense of fellow strugglers Sunderland. That leaves us with two sides eager to kick-start their season with a much-needed three points – this could be a cracker!
Good afternoon and welcome to live coverage of today's Premier League clash between Fulham and West Brom, I'm Sam Wells and I'll be guiding you through today's proceedings.
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