All square at the Cottage
Cardiff City rescued a point at Fulham thanks to Danny Ward’s late header to remain top of the Championship.
Cardiff manager Neil Warnock has never won at Fulham, though it could have been worse for his side after Ryan Sessegnon’s strike 15 minutes from full time looked to have won the day.
However, Ward rescued things with eight minutes remaining as Fulham failed to keep a clean sheet for the 20th successive game against Cardiff.
Fulham have won only once in 11.
The hosts will feel aggrieved they could not hold on to keep a first clean sheet against Cardiff since 1989.
They might have scored earlier had Floyd Ayite not struck a post and the Cottagers just about shaded a game that was always intriguing.
For long periods it was a battle of attack v defence, with Warnock’s side showing tremendous organisation as they coped admirably with large spells of Fulham possession.
However, the Welsh side were always a threat on the counter-attack and Junior Hoilett had the first chance of the game, but he blazed over the bar on 10 minutes.
The lively Sessegnon shot wide twice in two minutes midway through the first half as his trickery down the left began to pay dividends.
Yohan Mollo’s firm free-kick on his debut was just wide and with Ayite looking a constant threat, Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge had to make two fine saves within a minute. First he denied Ayite and then repelled Stefan Johansen’s left footed shot after the break.
If Fulham felt they had shaded the first period, the second-half was far more clear-cut with only a combination of fine defending and poor finishing keeping the scores level as long as they were.
Ayite hit the post after fine approach play by Oliver Norwood and only a wonderful block from Bennett prevented Stefan Johansen’s fierce drive finding the net. Bennett also cleared off the line when goalkeeper Etheridge made a hash of a clearance and was caught outside his area.
But Cardiff could do nothing when Sessegnon struck through a crowd on 75 minutes to finally break the deadlock and seemingly end Cardiff’s 100% winning record.
However, Cardiff were not to be denied at least a draw and sub Ward headed home in front of the travelling Bluebirds’ supporters after a fine cross from debutant Liam Feeney with eight minutes remaining.
Feeney put in another cross which beat the goalkeeper but not the crossbar.
Morrison, the Cardiff captain, had strong claims for a penalty waved after he appeared to be wrestled to the ground from a free kick right at the end of the match.
Cardiff manager Neil Warnock:
“We showed good character to come back with only seven minutes to go.
“It’s a different game to any other in the Championship. Nobody else plays like Fulham and I thought our big lads at the back adapted really well. Fulham will have a good run at some stage.
“If any questions needed answering, I thought today answered them. We were playing against a different type of team and we went behind as well, which could have killed a lesser team.”
Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic:
“We can be satisfied that we showed a fighting spirit and we pushed hard.
“But we were not clinical at times and in the last minutes we didn’t score a second goal, we didn’t manage the situation well enough and we paid an expensive price.
“We made a few mistakes before they scored their goal and we missed some quality in our final passes.
“We are disappointed. That’s normal but we have another chance of a win at home immediately in front of us. I hope we are going to do it this week against Hull.”
Mendez Laing 7.5
Bryson 7 (for Damour 63 mins)
Ward 6.5 (for Zohore 73 mins)
Feeney 7 (for Hoilett 79 mins)