Match Reports

A point for Albion that should have been three

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Frustration at Craven Cottage as Albion dominate goalless draw.

By Bruce Talbot • 16 December 2020

By Paul Hazlewood
Danny Welbeck came close to opening the scoring in the first half.
  • Albion held to a 0-0 draw at Fulham
  • Adam Lallana has a goal disallowed by the VAR
  • Adam Webster hits the underside of the bar on a frustrating night
  • Seagulls back in action on Sunday at home to Sheffield United

Any point away from home in the Premier League is not to be sniffed at but Albion left Craven Cottage frustrated that they hadn't taken all three.

During a dominant 20-minute spell at the start of the second half, Adam Lallana had a goal disallowed by the VAR, Lewis Dunk's header was cleared off the line and Adam Webster saw his header bounce out off the underside of the bar.

Rob Sanchez, on his return to the team, made a couple of important saves to ensure Albion went home with what they started but not for the first time this season Graham Potter will reflect that his team should have won.

By Paul Hazlewood
Rob Sanchez impressed on his second Premier League appearance.

What happened...

The head coach rang the changes with six alterations to the side badly beaten at Leicester on Sunday.

Sanchez replaced Maty Ryan, who dropped out of the squad, in goal while Tariq Lamptey, Adam Webster and Adam Lallana returned after injury. There were recalls for Steven Alzate and Leandro Trossard.

Even with less than a third of the season gone, it felt like a game with a lot at stake and that was evident in a cagey first half when most of the play took place between the two penalty areas.

There was no lack of commitment as both teams pressed feverishly to restrict the space. Yves Bissouma and - to no one's great surprise - Lamptey were on the wrong end of meaty challenges and there was little room for the creative players on either side.

Albion's best moment came in the 28th minute. Solly March picked out Lallana who for once had some space and his pass inside a defender was ideal for Lamptey, who fizzed the ball across goal but frustratingly out of reach of both Danny Welbeck and Trossard.

Sanchez was worked for the first time in the 43rd minute when he tipped over Ivan Cavaleiro’s fizzer and at the other end Alphonse Areola needed to turn March's cross cum shot over the bar.

By Paul Hazlewood
Adam Lallana thought he had given Albion the lead, only for VAR to rule it out.

After feeling each other out for 45 minutes, the tempo picked up and Albion thought they'd scored in the 49th minute when March’s cross was eventually tucked home left-footed by Lallana, but Welbeck had handled trying to control the ball in the build-up. Lewis Dunk had already had two attempts at converting a corner, but Areola held his header and the captain's swipe while he was lying on the ground.

March had become increasingly influential. He linked up with Trossard who delivered a great ball to the back post and Dunk appeared to have timed his header across goal perfectly, until Tosin Adarabioyo hooked it clear on the line.

Albion went close again moments later when Webster met a corner with a thumping header which hit the underside of the bar and bounced out.

By Paul Hazlewood
Loftus-Cheek was expertly denied by Sanchez.

It was turning into a familiar story as Albion couldn't make the most of their domination and Sanchez was needed to prevent Fulham from scoring when he kept out Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s shot with his outstretched left leg.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Joel Veltman were introduced in the closing stages but Fulham sensed they might nick three points. Aleksandar Mitrovic, a thorn in Albion's side in the past came on and his header into Ademola Lookman's path spelt danger until Sanchez smothered the ball bravely with the boots flying.

Both teams huffed and puffed in the closing stages but goalless it was and now Albion start preparing for Sunday's Amex clash with Sheffield United.

Fans missed

Fulham boss Scott Parker mentioned after his side held Liverpool how much difference 2000 fans made. But with London now in tier 3 the Cottage echoed only to the players' voices and the sound of clearances occasionally clattering into the scaffolding and concrete of the Riverside Stand which is being rebuilt. They were certainly missed.

Stats about right

In all metrics Albion were better, but not scoring during dominant spells has been a recurring theme this season. They had 54% possession, had more touches and passes and forced eight corners to Fulham's one.

Sanchez impresses

A clean sheet in only his second Premier League start represented a good night for Robert Sanchez. He only had a couple of saves to make but had his wits about him in the second half to deny Ruben Loftus-Cheek. After two top-flight games in London, he could make his first Amex start against Sheffield United on Sunday.

The line-up

Sanchez; Lamptey (Veltman 78), Webster, Dunk, White, March, Bissouma, Alzate, Lallana (Gross 85), Trossard (Jahanbakhsh 78), Welbeck.

Subs: Steele, Connolly, Burn, Maupay.

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