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MATCH REPORT ~ Fulham lose to Wolverhampton Wanderers ~ Prem MD32 20/21

last updated Friday 09th April 2021, 10:26 PM

Match Report

Fulham (0) 0-1 (0) Wolverhampton Wanderers

Premier League Match Day 32 at Craven Cottage

Friday 9th April 2021     KO: 20:00

Jonathan Moss (West Yorkshire)

Live on BT Sports

Match Stats Fulham Wolves
Goals (0) 0 1 (0)
Scorers - Traore 90+2
Goal attempts 14 7
On target 3 3
Shooting Accuracy 21% 43%
Possession 50% 50%
Passes Success 85% 83%
Corners 3 4
Tackles Success 44% 37%
Saves 2 3
Fouls 8 11
Offsides 3 1
Yellows 0 0
Reds 0 0
source: SkySports
At the end of the first half, after Willian Jose's header was ruled out by the blurred lines of VAR, Nuno Espirito Santo and his players surrounded referee Jon Moss. Incensed. In disbelief too.

Then in injury time at the end of 90 razor-tight minutes, it was time for shellshock to flood through Fulham ranks.

Bodies sunk to the floor, Scott Parker's head slumped forward after Adama Traore raced into the box and, out of nowhere, flashed a shot past Alphonse Areola from a tight angle.

How crippling could this be for Fulham's hopes of staying up?

They are now three points adrift of safety having played two games more.

Parker said this was must-win.

And yet a night that began with two minutes' silence in memory of Prince Philip ended with Craven Cottage eerie once more.

This will be tough to take. Even tougher to bounce back from.

Parker insisted before this that Fulham are not wilting under the suffocating pressure to survive. We will not fall away, he vowed.

Nor, it seems, will he be left wondering what if? However this season ends, Parker has never shirked big decisions and last night came an especially brave one.

Joachim Andersen and Tosin Adarabioyo have helped shore up Fulham's backline; they have started together in every league game since November.

Terence Kongolo, meanwhile, has not started one all season. And yet, Tosin's error at Aston Villa prompted Parker to shuffle his pack for this must-win game.

The early signs were hardly encouraging. Fulham's new-look back five all watched as, inside two minutes, Nelson Semedo swung a free kick on to the head of Willian Jose.

The Brazilian has yet to open his Wolves account, his effort here drifted just wide of Alphonse Areola's far post.

That proved to be the closest either side came for nearly half an hour as Wolves enjoyed long spells of possession and Fulham too often found themselves camped in friendly territory.

Without Ademola Lookman, they were struggling for much bite going forward. Slowly, though, Parker's side gained a foothold and eventually Antonee Robinson curled a cross towards Ruben Loftus-Cheek who glanced a header inches wide.

No side in the division has been as wasteful as Fulham this season and chances like that need to go in at some point.

Wolves weren't much more clinical until first-half injury time, when Willian Jose muscled in front of Ola Aina to nod home Daniel Podence's cross.

It would have been a sickener for Fulham, had VAR not decided that Daniel Podence's shirt sleeve was a pixel offside. There are close calls and then this.

No wonder Wolves were furious. At half-time, Nuno was among those to harangue referee Jon Moss. But he was powerless - that's part of the issue, of course.

It meant Wolves' incredible run without a first-half goal continues. Only once in their last 11 league games away from Molineux have they found the net before the break. That was back in January.

For Fulham, it was a slice of luck they could ill-afford to pass up. Parker's side did improve after the break, they began to build more concerted pressure on the Wolves goal.

But clear-cut chances - and that crucial goal - still eluded them. Wolves, too, could not rouse themselves after that set-back before the break. That was until Traore ran into the box and sent a dagger into Fulham hearts. Another chance to move out of the danger zone passes by. They are running out. And running out fast.

Fulham: Areola, Tete, Aina (Cavaleiro 84), Andersen, Kongolo, Robinson; Lemina, Reed (Maja 73), Loftus-Cheek (Anguissa 63), Mitrovic, De Cordova-Reid

Unused substitutes: Hector, Ream, Adarabioyo, Bryan, Onomah, Fabri

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Patricio; Semedo, Coady, Saiss, Ait Nouri; Dendoncker, Neves; Traore, Podence, Neto (Moutinho 33), Willian Jose (Silva 78)

Unused substitutes: Hoever, Gibbs-White, Machado Ferreira, Ruddy, Richards, Kilman, Otasowie

Traore 90+2 (Gibbs-White spins his man in midfield and looks forward to Traore, who looks to be going nowhere wide right, just outside the box. He drives past Kongolo but still has very little to aim at, and somehow blasts an effort past Areola at his near post. The goalkeeper should be saving that. Parker looks to the floor in pain. He knows that could well be Fulham's hopes of staying up all but over, if results go against them this weekend.)

Jonathan Moss (West Yorkshire)

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Source Daniel Matthews for Mailonline
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