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Fulham scare Man City

last updated Monday 26th October 2009, 9:41 AM
Fulham defender Brede Hangeland
Fulham midfielder
Clint Dempsey
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Man City (0) 2 Fulham (0) 2

Clint Dempsey capped a storming Fulham recovery from 2-0 down as Mark Hughes' shell-shocked Manchester City were forced to settle for their third straight Premier League draw.

Hughes' men were cruising home when Martin Petrov fired home their second on the hour, seven minutes after Joleon Lescott had knocked home the opener.

But eight minutes later the visitors were back on level terms when first Damien Duff and then Dempsey fired past Shay Given to lend another twist to an action-packed game.

It could have been worse for City as Bobby Zamora brought a late save out of Given as memories inevitably flicked back to Fulham's `great escape' from relegation with a 3-2 win at Eastlands in 2008.

Earlier, Micah Richards had had a first-half effort ruled out while Zamora and Diomansy Kamara were both guilty of glaring misses as the action swung from end to end.

City had brought back Craig Bellamy after missing out last week with a groin strain but Petrov had the first chance for the home side when he shot over the bar on 12 minutes.

Even in the early stages the visitors showed plenty of threat on the counter-attack with Zamora looking lively and a Dempsey run reined in by an alert Richards.

Match Stats Man City Fulham
Goals 2 2
Possession 57% 43%
Goal attempts 24 13
On Target 6 5
Corners 14 2
Off-sides 3 3
Saves 3 4
Fouls 14 13
Yellows 0 2
Reds 0 0
source: Soccernet
Tevez came close on 17 minutes when Adebayor laid back the ball to the edge of the box and the Argentinian scuffed a low shot which bobbled just past Mark Schwarzer's left post. But one minute later the home side were almost caught out when Kamara burst clean through - only to seem so surprised by the lack of an offside flag that he dribbled his first touch to Given.

City reacted well, Adebayor seeing penalty claims turned down after tumbling under Kelly's challenge, Kolo Toure heading over and Nigel De Jong forcing a diving save from Schwarzer.

But the visitors were intent on building on their fine recent record at City, with Jonathan Greening serving a timely reminder by shooting inches wide on the half-hour.

Tevez came closest for the home side in the 33rd minute when he rose unchallenged to meet Petrov's corner from the right but flashed his header onto the top of the net. Adebayor also missed by inches four minutes from the break and moments later Richards headed home a Petrov corner - only for referee Kevin Friend to blow for a foul by Barry on Chris Baird.

Zamora was guilty of one of the misses of the season on 47 minutes when Dempsey's initial shot was parried by Given and the striker somehow screwed the rebound over the bar from six yards.

City responded by going in front in the 53rd minute when Barry nudged a Bellamy corner across to Adebayor and his weak shot was helped over the line by Lescott.

When City grabbed their second on the hour it seemed like plain sailing, Bridge feeding Petrov from the right and the midfielder curling an excellent effort past Schwarzer.

But Roy Hodgson's men were far from sunk and they struck back just two minutes later when Zamora chested down a ball from Stephen Kelly and Duff shot home from the edge of the box.

A remarkable game took its further bizarre twist in the 67th minute when Dempsey fired Fulham level after finding space to meet Greening's free-kick in the box.

Tempers flared in the 70th minute when Dempsey fell on the edge of the City box but referee Kevin Friend waved play-on and sub Shaun Wright-Phillips streaked up-field and force a save from Schwarzer.

For a time it seemed Fulham were set to repeat their comeback heroics of 2008 with Zamora shooting just wide then bringing another save from Given.

City ended the game looking more likely with Barry heading just wide, but even five extra minutes of injury time could not provide Hughes with the win he desperately wanted.

Manchester City boss Mark Hughes pointed the finger of blame at his defenders after Fulham stormed back to snatch a point at Eastlands. Hughes said: ''We were 2-0 to the good and we should have seen the game out but unfortunately we allowed them back in the game and given them a lift.

''Then it was how we dealt with balls into the box and a guy in Dempsey who is acknowledged as good in the air - and we haven't dealt with it. We've been caught out a couple of times this season and it seems to be prevalent this year, not just with us but with quite a few of the teams around us. We started really well in terms of our defensive work but we have conceded goals and we are working hard on that. There are always elements of our game we need to focus on.''

Meanwhile Hughes paid tribute to Fulham for a second impressive performance at Eastlands this season following City's extra-time win in the Carling Cup in September. Hughes added: ''Credit to them because probably the two games we've had the most difficulty with this season here have been against Fulham. They get organised and make it difficult.''

Fulham boss Hodgson was full of praise for striker Bobby Zamora despite a glaring 47th minute miss the manager described as ''horrific''. Hodgson said: ''It was an horrific miss and it was a pity because he played so well.

''Unfortunately people who watch on the TV will see the miss and they won't see the 96 minutes and 45 seconds in which he was absolutely magnificent. Really it should have been seen as the crowning moment of a great performance but instead it is going to be seen as a glaring miss and a blot on his copybook which is sad for him. But if you want a good example of the character and resilience of this team and its' ability to bounce back, Bobby's performance in the last 30 minutes shows that.''

Hodgson said he thought a draw was a fair result but had issues with the set-piece that led to City's opening goal after the referee over-ruled the linesman to award a corner. Hodgson said: ''I'm aggrieved by the corner kick. It was a clear offside which was seen by the linesman then over-ruled and that has cost us a goal.''

Man City Given, Richards, Toure (Kompany 90), Lescott, Bridge, De Jong (Ireland 72), Barry, Petrov (Wright-Phillips 67), Bellamy, Adebayor, Tevez.
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Johnson, Sylvinho, Weiss.

Goals: Lescott 53, Petrov 60.

Fulham Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Kelly, Duff, Greening, Baird, Dempsey, Kamara (Seol 90), Zamora.
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Gera, Riise, Eddie Johnson, Smalling.

Booked: Hangeland, Pantsil.

Goals: Duff 62, Dempsey 68.

Att: 44,906

Ref: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).

Source soccernet
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