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Fulham 2-2 Derby Cham 22 1617 - The Sun

last updated Monday 19th December 2016, 10:40 AM

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Gareth Davies at The Sun

Fulham (1) 2-2 (1) Derby County

Alex Pearce kept Derby’s unbeaten run alive in an all-action clash that lit up misty Craven Cottage.

Defender Pearce rammed home a header just when it seemed Fulham had done enough to topple a Rams team who had won their previous seven matches.

Steve McClaren’s men were on the ropes and conceded for the first time in 503 minutes when Floyd Ayite scored in first-half stoppage time in answer to Tom Ince’s opener.

Man-of-the-match Stefan Johansen fired Fulham ahead just after the hour.

But since returning to Derby in October, former England boss McClaren has created a team who do not know when they are beaten.

Fulham started strongly but were exposed when Derby broke up a home attack. Johnny Russell’s long pass freed Ince, who stayed calm before shooting low past David Button.

Then the home side grabbed a deserved equaliser.

Full-back Ryan Fredericks, always a menace with his overlapping runs, fired in a fast cross that caused confusion in the Derby defence. Ayite pounced to score from a yard.

The Cottagers stormed into the second half and Sone Aluko’s cross had the Rams defence in all sorts of trouble. A poor clearance fell to Johansen, who slotted home.

Johansen held up a T-shirt with a message for Fulham therapist Noelia Fueyo who was injured in a road accident.

Pearce levelled — but Fulham nearly snatched victory when Lucas Piazon’s free-kick smacked into the bar.

McClaren said: “We played so well in that first half. Then their goal came out of the blue.

“It gave Fulham belief. Our backs were against the wall and I was pleased with the spirit we showed after going 2-1 down.

“What the boys have done for the past seven games has been incredible. It had to end sometime and I’m pleased it didn’t end in defeat.”

Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic said: “We played all the football, dominated the game, created chances and scored two goals. But it wasn’t enough to win the game.

“We must work to improve ourselves and make ourselves more solid and competitive.”

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