Ivan Cavaleiro’s diving header leveled the scoring with 15 minutes to go, canceling out goals from Kyle Bartley and Matheus Pereira which gave the Baggies the lead. Bobby Decordova Reid put the visitors ahead at the break but in the end, the teams couldn’t be separated.
Both sides remain in the relegation zone by sharing the points and both managers will be disappointed after failing to take advantage of a very open game. Sam Allardyce now has only one win in nine games since joining the club and Fulham are winless in 10, leaving both threatened with relegation.
Story of the Match
West Brom made two changes to their starting line-up after Tuesday’s heavy defeat to Manchester City, with Kyle Bartley and Conor Gallagher replacing Romaine Sawyers and Karlan Grant. Allardyce opted for a five at the back formation that he has commonly used this campaign. It is a system his side looked more solid in during the week.
However, the system looked to have the opposite effect on Saturday afternoon. After a slow first five minutes, the back five was breached thanks to some great hold up play from Aleksandar Mitrovic. The Serbian controlled Ademola Lookman’s lofted pass, held off the defender, and slid through Decordova Reid who slotted the ball confidently past Sam Johnstone.
Only a few minutes later, the right wing-back found himself in space on the right flank once again. This time it was Ruben Loftus-Cheek who played the pass, but Decordova Reid’s shot struck the post and bounced clear.
These early scares for the hosts led to an early tactical change from Allardyce. The Baggies boss abandoned his formation after 25 minutes, returning to a 4-5-1 system with centre-back Dara O’Shea substituted for Karlan Grant who took his place at right midfield.
Although, despite the change, the chances kept coming for the away side. Loftus-Cheek fired just over the bar before some more superb link-up from Mitrovic led to Lookman running clean through on goal, but Semi Ajayi recovered well.
Fulham were taking full advantage of the channels as Antonee Robinson and Decordova Reid burst down the wings, connecting with the front three and causing West Brom all sorts of problems. The hosts attacking play in the first half on the other hand was stagnant, rarely challenging the Cottagers and providing a limited threat to Alphonse Areola’s goal.
However, from out of nowhere after the break, they managed to level the scoring. Pereira’s cross was deflected into the path of Bartley and he tapped in the equaliser. This was the Baggies' first home goal since December 3rd, breaking a very unwanted duck.
The momentum was completely switched in the second half, with the hosts in control and providing all the attacking football. Scott Parker’s side looked a shade of themselves and could not get any moves flowing as they did in the opening 45.
West Brom could have taken the lead through Pereira before the hour mark. Mbaye Diagne, who signed on loan from Galatasaray on Friday, replaced Callum Robinson at halftime and his hold-up play helped create space for Pereira to test his luck from range, but his left-footed effort skimmed just past the post.
The Baggies then did grab their second and the lead. Diagne and Pereira combined well again and the latter flicked the ball past Areola and into the net after meeting a low cross at the near post. This was the Portuguese showman’s fifth goal of the season.
After a period of pressure from Allardyce’s side as they looked for a third, Fulham leveled against the run of play. Harrison Reed and Cavaleiro were introduced with 15 minutes to go and it was these two that would combine for the goal.
Reed whipped a dangerous ball across the box which found Cavaleiro diving in at the back post to head the Cottagers level.
Neither side could grab a winner as the game came to a close with limited chances. West Brom remain in deep trouble in the relegation zone but the point may lift some spirits in the Baggies camp. They travel to Sheffield United next which will have a huge impact on their survival chances.
Man of the Match- Aleksandar Mitrovic
Mitrovic was at the heart of all the attacking play for Fulham. The big Serbian striker held up play superbly, linking up with Lookman and Loftus-Cheek and creating space for his teammates.
He slid through Decordova Reid for the opener with a brilliant pass and despite having a quieter second half he put in a great performance which would have impressed his manager.