Joe Ralls and Anthony Pilkington scored sublime second-half goals as the Bluebirds drew 2-2 at Craven Cottage, in front of over 1000 travelling Bluebirds.
Two successive long throw-ins from Aron Gunnarsson
in the opening minute of the game put the Fulham defence under pressure from the outset, before Peter Whittingham
’s resulting corner was comfortably cleared.
However, Kevin McDonald
then fired an early warning shot past David Marshall at the other end, as Fulham went on to control much of the opening period.
was looking lively for the home side and, after turning Matt Connolly
on the right flank, almost found the corner of the net with a looping mishit cross.
As the Cottagers upped the ante, Sean Morrison did well to recover from a slip and block former Hull forward Sone Aluko
’s effort from just outside the box.
The Bluebirds had few chances to test out David Button
in the Fulham goal in the opening period. City’s best opportunities came through the marauding Declan John
, who caused the home side some issues with a couple of dangerous crosses.
Just four minutes before the break, Fulham eventually broke the deadlock. After Aluko
had gone for goal, the ball bounced across the box to Ryan Sessegnon
, who had just replaced the injured Ayité. The sixteen year-old made no mistake to turn the ball home at the far post.
The opening exchanges of the second half passed without incident, although the Bluebirds did seem to limit their opponents to less of the ball as they began to get a foothold in the match.
Then, on the hour mark, came the moment that City were waiting for. After a short spell of pressure, the ball fell to Ralls
outside the box and the midfielder powered a brilliant right-footed half-volley into the top corner in front of the City fans in the Putney End.
It was soon to get even better for the Bluebirds, as just five minutes later Anthony Pilkington
picked the ball up on the right. City’s number thirteen beat two Fulham defenders to cut in and curl an unstoppable effort into the far corner with his left to make it 2-1.
The Bluebirds were now in complete control of the game, and could not have come closer to scoring a third in the seventieth minute. After the impressive Kadeem Harris
was brought down thirty yards from goal, Peter Whitingham
struck the resulting free-kick superbly – but the ball somehow ricocheted off the bar and Button’s back without finding the back of the net.
Fulham went more direct with the introduction of Matt Smith
and had a great chance to snatch a point in the eighty-fifth minute. The ball fell to Lasse Vigen Christensen
inside the Bluebirds’ box, but the young Dane somehow managed to strike over.
However, that equaliser was to come just a minute later, as midfielder Kevin McDonald
found himself unmarked on the edge of the box to fire into the bottom corner.
While the Bluebirds did earn a late corner in search of another goal, in the end, the spoils were to be shared at Craven Cottage, as the referee blew the final whistle with the score at 2-2.
FULL TIME: FULHAM 2-2 CARDIFF CITY
Button, Malone (Christensen 71), Odoi, McDonald, Parker ©, Cairney, Ayité (Sessegnon 41), Madl, Woodrow (Smith 61), Aluko, Kalas.
Subs not used:
Joronen, Ream, Tunnicliffe, Jozabed.
Marshall ©, Peltier, Morrison, Connolly, Richards (Harris 59), Whittingham (Manga 90), Ralls, Gunnarsson, Immers, John, Pilkington (Gounongbe 81).
Subs not used:
Wilson, Noone, Huws, Zohore.