Read how Gareth McAuley scored in stoppage time to snatch West Bromwich Albion a 1-1 draw at Fulham in the Premier League.
By Joe Fish, Reporter Filed: Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 14:05 UK
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 00:23 UK
Fulham welcomed bottom-of-the-table West Bromwich Albion to Craven Cottage today looking to pick up their first points since victory on the opening weekend.
Steve Sidwell fired the Cottagers in front on 19 minutes, and the hosts went on to have three goals disallowed as they attempted to strengthen their hold on the contest.
Two minutes into added time, Gareth McAuley headed West Brom's first goal of the Premier League season to snatch the Baggies an equaliser and a fortunate 1-1 draw.
Below, you can read how the action unfolded in West London.
2.05pmGood afternoon. The Premier League is back, and West Bromwich Albion's trip to Craven Cottage to face Fulham is one of eight top-flight matches that Sports Mole is bringing you live coverage of this afternoon.
2.08pmLet's get straight to the team news then, and we shall start with the visitors, for whom manager Steve Clarke hands out two debuts to transfer-deadline-day arrivals.
2.11pmWBA SUBS: L Daniels, Dawson, Popov, Morrison, Rosenberg, Berahino, Sinclair
2.13pmFormer Everton striker Victor Anichebe, who signed for the Baggies for £6m just hours before the 11pm deadline on September 2, starts in attack. West Brom's other £6m man, Stephane Sessegnon, is not in the squad "due to a slight delay in [the approval of] his work permit".
2.15pmNicolas Anelka starts again after missing the 0-0 draw at Everton earlier in the season for compassionate reasons, and, with Shane Long absent with a knee injury, he will partner Anichebe.
2.17pmAnother debutante for the visitors is Morgan Amalfitano, who has joined West Brom on a season-long loan from Ligue 1 outfit Marseille. He goes straight into the Baggies midfield in place of James Morrison, who is nursing a groin strain and is deemed only fit enough for the bench.
2.18pmAnother Clarke alteration sees Chris Brunt restored on the wing at the expense of Scott Sinclair. Boaz Myhill continues to deputise for the injured Ben Foster in between the sticks.
2.20pmPromising young striker Saido Berahino, who netted a hat-trick in the League Cup victory over Newport County, and also netted for England's under-21s in midweek, is among the West Brom subs.
2.22pmNow onto the hosts, who make three changes from the team that lost late on at Newcastle United last week courtesy of Hatem Ben Arfa's 86th-minute goal.
2.28pmAfter employing a 4-4-2 formation last time out to accommodate both Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Bent up front, Martin Jol switches back to his lone-striker system, with Bent missing due to a hamstring problem.
2.31pmBryan Ruiz, Alexander Kacaniklic and the recalled Pajtim Kasami make up the attacking midfield trio that will be supporting sole frontman Berbatov, who has yet to score this season.
2.33pmThere is also a change at left-back for the Cottagers, with former West Brom favourite Kieran Richardson coming into the starting XI to replace John Arne Riise.
2.35pmLike West Brom, Fulham are also missing their first-choice goalkeeper, with Maarten Stekelenburg still on the sidelines after suffering a setback to his shoulder problem. David Stockdale again deputises.
2.38pmThere is also a forced change at centre-back, where Philippe Senderos stands in for experienced defender Aaron Hughes, who misses through injury.
2.40pmAdel Taarabt, Hugo Rodallega and Damien Duff are the attacking options on Martin Jol's bench, while also includes Montenegro international defender Elsad Zverotic, who joined for an undisclosed fee from Swiss side Young Boys on deadline day.
2.43pmA bit of squad number news for you, Anichebe has been handed the number 16 shirt for West Brom, while Amalfitano will wear 18 on his Baggies bow.
2.45pmAnichebe, in particular, is somebody that Steve Clarke will be looking at to end West Brom's goalless start to the Premier League season.
2.47pmThe Nigerian forward scored 18 times in 131 Premier League appearances for the Toffees, but 73 of those outings came from the bench, so perhaps he will flourish in a more regular starting role with the Baggies.
2.50pmNicolas Anelka has scored at roughly one in three during his 16-year professional career, so he is due to find the net and open his West Brom account. Fulham are also struggling for goals, though...
2.52pmTheir top goalscorer from last season, Berbatov, who scored 15 times in the Premier League for the Cottagers, is yet to get off the mark this year. As mentioned earlier, Bent is absent from the squad today, and thus the only player in the Fulham side today to score so far this campaign is Kasami.
2.54pmJust over five minutes until kickoff now in West London...
2.56pmPREDICTION: These sides have just two goals between them in their six Premier League games so far this season, so I am expecting a low scoring affair. Perhaps it will be a moment of magic from either Berbatov or Anelka that will separate the sides. I will plump for 1-0 Fulham.
2.58pmThe players emerge from the famous tunnel on the far side of the Craven Cottage ground and into fairly sunny conditions in the capital. Kickoff is imminent here...
2 minSHOT! Kasami whips in a pacey cross towards Berbatov that Olsson heads away, but only to Ruiz, whose first-time volley from the edge of the box finishes several yards wide.
3 minTidy start from both sides, and Amalfitano shows his passing range early on in this contest by threading through Anichebe, who was clear on goal but adjudged to be offside. It was a close one.
5 minLovely ball from Parker, who spins away from Yacob in the middle of the park and then finds Kacaniklic's smart run in between midfield and defensive. The winger travels with the ball, but then miscues a chipped cross with his weaker right foot behind the goal.
7 minAnichebe displays the strength that makes him such a threat when he is on form, shrugging off the challenge of Senderos only for Hangeland to come across and block his low shot.
10 minAgain, Anichebe proves to be a nuisance as he charges down a long ball and blocks Richardson's clearance. He lays it back to Jones as West Brom try to attack but Fulham retain possession and avert the danger.
14 minIt appears as though West Brom are trying to get the ball to Anelka whenever possible, but Steve Sidwell is not giving the Frenchman any room, and is snapping at his heels constantly.
16 minAnd with Fulham not able to create anything either, the early stages of this match are a bit of a stalemate. Kasami has delivered a couple of nice crosses from the right, but Olsson has been on hand to clear on both occasions.
19 minSHOT! West Brom threaten the Fulham goal for the first time this afternoon when Chris Brunt lets fly from 30 yards, and appears to have Stockdale beaten only for the ball to travel wide of the left-hand post.
21 minFulham move into the lead and it is a surprise scorer in the form of Steve Sidwell! Jones concedes a corner on the right-hand side, Kacaniklic delivers and when Senderos wins the knockdown, Sidwell fires into the ground and past Boaz Myhill in the West Brom goal.
23 minCHANCE! Kacaniklic again produces a good delivery to find Berbatov in the box, but the Bulgarian misses a chance to double Fulham's lead immediately when he heads wide.
26 minAmalfitano looks to be playing off the right and he engineers some room to cross into the danger zone. Anichebe makes a good run into six-yard box, but Stockdale comes off his line to smother.
28 minCHANCE! Anelka releases Amalfitano down the wing, and the delivery from the Frenchman is again good. He finds Brunt at the back post, but the Irishman's header is straight at Stockdale. That's the Baggies first effort on target.
31 minDISALLOWED! Some superb possession play from Fulham, who must keep the ball for 20-25 passes, eventually leads to Sidwell fizzing a ball across the box that Berbatov converts from close range, but the Bulgarian was comfortably offside. We don't need a replay to confirm that.
34 minSHOT! Fulham twice break through the middle of the park. On the first occasion, Parker is dispossessed, but just moments later, Ruiz manages to find some space, but wastes it as he smashes his shot high into the stands.
37 minCLOSE! Brunt finds the side netting from the halfway line! A free kick is awarded to West Brom and Brunt miscues what looks to be an attempted ball into the box, which ends up landing on the side netting on the side netting of Stockdale's goa. Remarkably, that's probably the closest that West Brom have come!
38 minKasami has been in the wars at times during this first half, and he goes down requiring treatment on what looks like an eye injury. That's always a concern, but thankfully it does not seem to be serious and the Fulham man is able to continue.
40 minScrappy exchanges of possession in the middle of the park sum up the lack of quality on show during the majority of the first half. Sidwell's strike still separates the sides.
43 minCHANCE! Right-back Billy Jones somehow finds himself making a run off the left flank to meet a Amalfitano cross, which Reither clears off his goalline.
45 minThere will be one minute of added time at Craven Cottage...
3.55pmHmm. Well, that first half helps to explain why both of these sides have struggled in the early stages of this season. Actually, each team started the game passing the ball tidily and quickly, but the game quickly became scrappy and low in quality. Steve Sidwell scored with Fulham's only shot on target, while Chris Brunt and Billy Jones have come close to equalising for the Baggies.
3.58pmIt has been Brunt and new boy Morgan Amalfitano down the flanks that have proved the visitors' greatest attacking weapons. Anichebe started the match in lively fashion, but has since been starved of service, while Sidwell has done everything he can to prevent Anelka getting on the ball. At the other end, Berbatov has been quiet thus far.
46 minThe second half is underway, with both sides unchanged...
47 minAmalfitano continues to impress, as he creates some space for himself on the right flank and crosses, but Anelka, who has spent much of the game playing deeper that Anichebe, is the most advanced Baggies man, in an offside position, though.
49 minPENALTY APPEAL! Kasami's cross thumps into the body of Liam Ridgewell. Fulham appeal for handball, but referee Lee Probert is unmoved. It would have been harsh, there seemed to be no movement of arm towards ball.
52 minDISALLOWED! For the second time in the afternoon, Berbatov has a goal ruled out. This time, though, the offside call is much tighter, but the Bulgarian's upper body was probably beyond the last defender when he cleverly finished from Kasami's pass.
54 minCHANCE! Brilliant play by Anichebe, who rolls Hangeland before getting a shot away, but the strike is straight at Stockdale, who does well to parry the ball to safety.
57 minCHANCE! Berbatov is onside on this occasion, as he latches onto a lovely Ruiz through ball in the right channel. Myhill comes out to meet the former Spurs striker at a tight angle, and the Baggies keeper gets a strong hand to a shot that was probably sneaking in. Good save.
60 minExcellent run through the middle from Kacaniklic, who then shifts the ball to Berbatov on the left. The Swede continues his run and collects a return pass before squaring into the box, but Ruiz does not burst into the box and the far post area is devoid of a white shirt.
62 minSUBSTITUTIONS: Double change for the Baggies, who bring on James Morrison and Scott Sinclair. Claudio Yacob, and, surprisingly, the lively debutante Morgan Amalfitano make way. Straight swaps in central midfield and on the right wing.
65 minCLOSE! Excellent football from Fulham. Not for the first time today, Kacaniklic makes a clever run coming in off the left, picks the ball up from Parker and runs with the ball. He spreads the ball to Ruiz, whose dink into the box is volleyed acrobatically by Berbatov, inches over the crossbar. Great effort.
67 minSUBSTITUTION: Fulham make their first change, and it is a competitive debut for Fernando Amorebieta. Kieran Richardson lasts 65 minutes on his return to action, with his replacement becoming the first Venezuelan player to feature in the Premier League.
69 minBOOKING: Amorebieta quickly gets a taste of what the English top flight is about as he is scythed down by Billy Jones as he breaks away. The versatile Baggies man becomes the first player to be yellow card at Craven Cottage this afternoon.
71 minHe usually operates as a central defender, but Amorebieta is filling in a left-back for the remainder of this game. He will have Scott Sinclair to deal with, but the WBA sub has yet to see much of the ball.
73 minCHANCE! Anelka is presented with his first real opportunity of the match, and it is after neat link up play with his strike partner, Anichebe. The Frenchman is played in and he unleashes a quick snap shot, which is superbly held by Stockdale diving to his right.
75 minMorrison drifts in an early cross, but a stretching Sinclair cannot quite make contact.
78 minSUBSTITUTIONS: Both sides make a change in attack, as Martin Jol swaps Berbatov for the more hard-working Rodallega. Steve Clarke has turned to teenage striker Berahino, who replaces Anichebe.
82 minFulham have managed to gain some control over this game, and are keeping the ball well and preventing West Brom from establishing some late pressure. The hosts have enjoyed 60% of possession throughout the afternoon.
84 minDISALLOWED! The linesman denies Fulham a second goal for the third time in this contest, as Rodallega is flagged for offside before he volleys in the rebound from Ruiz's shot, which had struck the crossbar and nearly bounced over the line itself.
87 minBerahino chests down a ball from Morrison, but his shot is well blocked by Parker, who, along with Sidwell, have protected Fulham's back four very well this afternoon.
88 minSHOT! Sinclair has seen little of the ball and is evidently frustrated when he finally gets possession in an advanced area, but wastes it by blasting high over the crossbar.
89 minSUBSTITUTION: Bryan Ruiz goes down under an innocuous challenge but appears to be in quite a lot of pain. He leaves the pitch on a stretcher, with Damien Duff coming on for the final couple of minutes.
90 minSix minutes of time added on following the stoppage for Ruiz to receive treatment...
90+2 minGOAL! Fulham 1-1 West Brom (Gareth McAuley)
90+2 minWest Brom appear to have snatched a point as McAuley meets another well-delivered Brunt corner with a thumping header that flies past Stockdale in the Fulham goal. That's West Brom's first goal of the Premier League season, and it is one that has Marin Jol in disbelief on the sidelines.
4.56pmThat is cruel on Fulham. It wasn't a match of high quality, but they had certainly been the better side throughout the match, which they led from the 19th minute courtesy of Steve Sidwell's strike. The Cottagers would threaten to double their advantage and had three goals ruled out for offside, before McAuley stole West Brom a point in stoppage time.
4.58pmThat was West Brom's first goal of the season, and it moves them above Sunderland to 19th in the Premier League. They are still winless, though, while it is three matches since Fulham tasted top-flight victory, and they sit 12th in the table.
5.00pmThat is all from me for this afternoon. Be sure to stay with Sports Mole throughout the evening for coverage of Everton vs. Chelsea and Gareth Bale's Real Madrid debut. Thanks for joining us at Craven Cottage. Over and out!