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Fulham 1-1 West Brom Prem04 1314 The Guardian

last updated Sunday 15th September 2013, 4:20 PM

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Paul Doyle at The Guardian

Fulham (1) 1 West Brom (0) 1

It takes more than pom-pom girls to please Fulham fans. The club's new owner, Shahid Khan, arranged for cheerleaders from his American football franchise, the Jacksonville Jaguars, to entertain the Craven Cottage crowd at half-time but a late goal for West Bromwich Albion meant the final whistle brought jeers - and, ominously for the home team's manager, scattered chants of "Jol Out".

Those were the first serious displays of discontent with the Dutchman since his arrival at Fulham in 2011. If the unhappiness spreads, then we will find out how patient Khan is. This was a fixture that was always likely to leave at least one manager under pressure.

The fans of both clubs watched in the same way the farmers contemplate the sky, seeking signs of sunnier days ahead after an inclement start to the season.

There were bright patches but clouds still abound. The draw leaves Albion bottom of the Premier League, with only two points from four games, while Fulham are 12th with only two more.

Martin Jol says calling for his head is premature. "If we were bottom of the league I would understand it, but we are 12th and unfortunate not to have six points," he said, before warning of the dangers of being too demanding.

"It is a bit like with women. If you expect too much, you could wake up in the morning and be in for a big shock."

For most of the match Fulham seemed on course for victory. Steve Sidwell had put them ahead in the 22nd minute with their first effort on target when he fired into the net after the ball broke to him from a corner by Alexander Kacaniklic.

Albion were looking short of ideas. It was easy to see why they had not scored in their first three Premier League matches. Steve Clarke had sought to solve his side's creativity problems during the transfer window but bureaucracy is no respecter of urgency and the debut of the Benin international Stéphane Sessesgnon was delayed by what Clarke termed "a technical glitch" with the issuing of his work permit.

Shane Long was also missing, having returned from international duty with a knee injury that is expected to rule him out for two weeks. However, Clarke was able to give debuts to striker Victor Anichebe and Morgan Amalfitano, the midfielder borrowed from Marseille.

Anichebe did well, his power and hold-up play posing particular difficulty to Philippe Senderos, but the closest Albion came to scoring in the first half was a 25-yard drive from Chris Brunt that hurtled narrowly wide.

Fulham were looking slicker and more inventive without ever reaching rarefied heights. Albion improved in the second period and Anichebe forced a good save from David Stockdale in the 52nd minute.

Boaz Myhill had to make a similar block at the other end six minutes later to thwart Dimitar Berbatov after a sly pass from Bryan Ruiz. That ingenious pair combined again seven minutes later, the Costa Rican feeding Berbatov, who tried to crown a sparkling move with a suitable finish but his acrobatic volley flew just over.

Fulham had three goals ruled out for offside but Albion were threatening too. However, Ruiz should have secured victory in the 84th minute but cannoned a 10-yard shot against the crossbar. Moments later Ruiz was carried off on a stretcher after damaging his ankle in a challenge with Jonas Olsson. "It looks serious," fretted Jol.

During stoppage time for that injury Albion equalised, Gareth McAuley soaring superbly to meet a Brunt corner and sending a powerful header into the net. Jol added: "That's what happens when you soak up pressure for the last 10 or 15 minutes. When you score a goal and smell blood, you have to kill them off."

Clarke saluted his players' character. "We persevered," he said, before declaring that he and Jol will do the same. "It is a difficult league and people are always going to put you under pressure but I'm sure Martin will do the same as myself: get his head down and work hard."

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