Honours even at the Den as Millwall and Fulham draw cross-London derby
Millwall 1 Fulham 1
Aleksandar Mitrovic found the net again for Fulham, but the White spurned the chance to leapfrog Leeds into the second promotion spot.
They controlled large swathes of the match – albeit not to the extent of the 4-0 rout of Millwall on home soil at the start of the season.
But they only had their noses in front for five minutes early in the match before Jon Dadi Bodvarsson restored parity and the hosts fluffed the chance to go in front when Jed Wallace skied a penalty over the crossbar.
The point does keep the Lions just about in the play-off mix – they will need to make up seven points - as they try to negotiate some heavy-duty fixtures against the Championships’ bigger hitters.
We were barely into the third minute when Fulham took the lead with a soft goal that
Joe Bryan swung a cross in from the right and Mitrovic timed his run in behind the home defence perfectly to score from close range.
For the Serb, scorer of the winning goal at Blackburn at the weekend, it was his 21st goal of the campaign for the west London side.
But on eight minutes, the Lions were level through Bodvarsson, despite furious protests from Fulham players and a consultation between the ref Andrew Madley and an assistant referee.
It followed a flick-on at a corner which allowed the Millwall striker to pounce from close range. It looked offside but the goal stood.
And on 21 minutes, Jed Wallace blasted over from the spot – the kick awarded after a careless trip on Mahlon Romeo by Bryan.
In spite of pretty spells for the visitors, with Tom Cairney pulling the strings, Millwall’s verve and bustle did not allow Fulham to monopolise the ball the way they had done at Craven Cottage in August.
In that reverse league fixture, the on-song Whites had romped to that big win with a barely-credible possession count of 85 per cent.
Josh Onomah’s surging runs caused the Lions problems after the break, but their greater poise on the ball suggested they had the potential for more than one route to goal in their locker.
Increasingly, the hosts fed on scraps as Fulham assumed greater control. Tom Bradshaw did get in behind the home defence on one occasion but his shot lacked the power and precision needed to beat Marek Rodak,
Sub Neeskens Kebano almost one it at the death with a flicked near-post header after a corner had been drilled in by Ivan Cavaleiro, another player to come off the bench. But the Whites had to settle for just the point.
Millwall: Bialkowski – Romeo, Hutchinson, Pearce (Smith 86), Cooper – Molumby, Woods (Skalak 86), M Wallace - J Wallace, Bradshaw (Leonard 77), Bodvarsson. Subs not used: Steele, Ferguson, Mahoney, O’Brien
Fulham: Rodak – Odoi, Hector, Ream, Bryan – Arter (Kebano 88), Onomah – Kamara (Cavaleiro 71), Cairney, Reid – Mitrovic. Subs not used: Bettinelli, McDonald, Johansen, Christie, Sessegnon