Fulham slip ever deeper into danger after last-gasp Wolves strike increases the gloom
Fulham (0) 0
Wolves (0) 1 Traore 90
A stunning injury-time winner from Adama Traore piled on the agony for Fulham, as they again passed up an opportunity to escape the relegation quicksands.
This fourth defeat in a row is a real hammer-blow for Scott Parker's men. The game was heading for a goalless draw, with neither side having made much of a case for deserving a win.
But Wolves did have a fine-looking first-half strike ruled out for the most marginal of offsides following a VAR-intervention and they had a man with explosive boots in Traore.
The winger is always a threat and his last-gasp dash down the right flank ended with him unleashing a blistering drive past Alphonse Areola, who will be disappointed to have been beaten for pace at his near post.
A good time for the Wolves winger to end a goal drought. But terrible for Fulham.
All is not lost, of course, but the margin for error is now more acute than ever and confidence is in danger of ebbing away.
It is incredible that with only two home wins all season, Fulham are still in with a chance of beating the drop, but with just six games to go, their situation remains dicey to say the least.
There are only two more games for them at the Cottage too, though with little advantage in hosting games in this behind-closed-doors season, maybe that will matter less than their form and heart in the final flurry of matches.
The gap between the Whites and safety is still three points, but Newcastle, just above them in the table, have two games in hand. The Magpies play at Burnley on Sunday.
That last-day fixture at home to their nearest rivals will only mean something if the Whites can find a way to win a game or two before that showdown.
It was a mess of a match at the Cottage and the quality was poor. It would not have needed a wise man to predict a scoreless draw before kick-off, given Wolves’ athletic organisation and conservative approach, coupled with the poverty of Fulham’s attacking this season.
Up until minute 90, that was what we were looking at.
There was not too much it before the ‘offside goal.’ Willian Jose served notice of the dangers he might pose with an early glancing header from a Nelson Semedo free-kick which went just wide.
The Whites created an even better chance when Antonee Robinson – picked out several times by raking passes from Joachim Andersen in the first half – lifted a perfect hanging cross from the left for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but the midfielder sent his header wide, with the goal at his mercy.
Robinson found a lot of traction down that left side and after shrugging off Semedo, he whipped in another cross that Aleksandar Mitrovic met with a forceful header that was again just off target.
The Whites were mightily relieved to go in all-square at the break though, after VAR ruled an offside in the build-up to a headed ‘goal’ by Jose, who got in front of Ola Aina to nod in a cross from Daniel Podence. The provider was deemed to have had an infringing armpit.
After the interval, Romain Saiss blasted a free-kick powerfully over from inside the D after Terence Kongolo had clattered clumsily into Traore to concede a set piece in a dangerous area.
There were efforts from distance by Bobby Reid and the effervescent Robinson, but nothing to seriously trouble the scorers.
Parker shuffled his pack by bringing on Andre-Franck Zambo Anguissa, Josh Maja and Ivan Cavaleiro, against his old club and there was a sense of going for broke.
But the Whites seemed incapable of carving out any gold-standard chances and ultimately paid the heaviest of prices.
Whites: Areola – Aina (Cavaleiro 84), Andersen, Kongolo – Tete, Lemina, Reed (Maja 74), Robinson – Loftus-Cheek (Zambo Anguissa 63), Reid - Mitrovic. Subs not used: Fabri, Hector, Ream, Tosin, Bryan, Onomah
Wolves: Patricio – Semedo, Coady, Saiss, Ait-Nouri – Dendoncker, Neves – Neto (Moutinho 33), Podence (Gibbs-White 74), Traore – Willian Jose (Fabio Silva 78). Subs not used: Ruddy, Hoever, Vitinha, Richards, Kilman, Otasowie