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Fulham 1-1 Brentford Cham 45 1617 - Daily Mail

last updated Monday 01st May 2017, 10:47 AM

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Adam Shergold at Daily Mail

Fulham (1) 1-1 (1) Brentford

Slavisa Jokanovic informed Fulham fans that his players would not be doing the traditional end- of-season lap of honour after this match.

Such was his confidence they would get the job done and book their play-off place, making this merely the season's penultimate home game. In the end, his faith was not misplaced, but is was far from the comfortable afternoon he imagined.

With Brentford determined to spoil the party and play-off rivals Leeds United fighting back improbably from three down to draw with Norwich City, Craven Cottage was riddled with nerves.

A 1-1 scoreline was just about enough. With Fulham three points ahead of Leeds entering next Sunday's final round of Championship matches and their goal difference so superior, the Yorkshire side require a 14-goal swing to deny them.

It looked like Jokanovic's side would stroll to victory when Tom Cairney opened the scoring after just eight minutes, but in-form Brentford levelled through Nico Yennaris.

If Cairney had converted a penalty just before half-time, we might have been spared a nail-biting second half of Fulham failing to capitalise on their dominance of possession and Brentford counter-attacking.

There was an outpouring of relief among the home fans as news filtered through to mobile phones that Leeds had not found a winner in seven minutes of stoppage time.

A relieved Jokanovic said of their play-off chances: 'It is 25 per cent for all the teams, you will play against quality teams and you are going to start the most important part of the competition when we start the play-offs.

'We are in good form and we play with confidence. We must not stand still.'

Strangely, there was no trace of nerves early on as Sone Aluko dissected the Brentford defence and set 16-year-old dynamo Ryan Sessegnon clear.

The teenager had time to glance and pulled the ball back to Cairney, who slotted home his 12th of the season.

Floyd Ayite went clear, but spurned an opportunity to double the lead as the blasted his shot over.

Brentford threatened on the counter and equalised when Yennaris drove forward, traded passes with Konstantin Kerschbaumer and fired home.

Fulham were frustrated but they came again and, on the stroke of half-time, were awarded a penalty.

Cairney's spot-kick was low but Daniel Bentley guessed correctly to save. The second half was tense, with Fulham dominating but lacking a cutting edge, and Brentford threatening to spoil on the counter.

Cairney and Malone forced Bentley into action, while Fulham's Marcus Bettinelli saved well from Lasse Vibe and Florian Jozefzoon. A point was satisfactory.

Brentford boss Dean Smith said: 'We didn't want to allow them a party on our expense. I'm pleased to come here and get a point.'

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