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  • By Yann Tear at Craven Cottage

Fulham thwarted despite putting Bournemouth on the rack during impressive fightback


Fulham (1) 2 Diop 22, Mitrovic pen 52

Bournemouth (2) 2 Solanke 2, Lerma 29

Fulham battled back twice after trailing before lying siege to the Cherries’ goal – but a winner eluded them.


They could have done without the setback of conceding after barely a minute of action – Dominic Solanke finishing smartly after a 1-2 with Philip Bulling had carved open the Fulham defence.


But Issa Diop bagged his first goal for the Whites since his summer move from West Ham, heading in an Andreas Pereira corner at the near post.


The Cherries regained the lead their quick attacks had threatened when the on-fire Solanke crossed for Jefferson Lerma to sweep home first time into the bottom corner.


However, the teams were back on level terms early in the second half when Aleksandar Mitrovic won and then converted a penalty after ref Graham Scott decided his 50-50 tussle with Lerma was a case of the Serb being more sinned against than sinning.


It was a seventh domestic goal of the season for the striker, who was welcomed back after missing the defeat at Upton Park through injury.


If Marco Silva had reason to feel his team were hard done-by in last week’s defeat at West Ham, he had less cause to complain this time after that penalty award.


Fulham also arguably got lucky when Tim Ream yanked back Ryan Fredericks by the arm as the former Whites full-back got in behind him after another slick attack from the visitors.


The hosts looked much better after drawing level a second time, with Tom Cairney’s introduction at the break providing the guile and menace that the sacrificed Harrison Reed does not.


Also playing his part in a much-improved display was Bobby Decordova-Reid. Press-ganged into right-back duty because of a lack of alternatives, he still got forward often to lend his weight to home attacks.


The fact Fulham could be so much on the front foot after the half-time break also owed much to a fine double-save from Bernd Leno – the second a scooped tip-over to deny Bournemouth skipper Adam Smith, heading from just four yards out.


It was a richly entertaining encounter, though the Whites will definitely feel they should have gone on to win it, given the way they pinned the visitors back for most of the second 45.


Yet Gary O’Neil continues to be unbeaten since taking over from Scott Parker in the dugout following that 9-0 loss at Liverpool and they proved stubborn.


Whites: (4-2-3-1) Leno – Decordova-Reid, Diop, Ream, Robinson – Reed (Cairney h/t), Palhinha – James (Willian h/t), Pereira (Vinicius 87), Kebano (Wilson 62) – Mitrovic. Subs not used: Rodak, Tosin, Duffy, Mbabu, Harris

Cherries: (4-4-2) Murara Neto – Fredericks, Mepham, Senesi, A Smith – Christie (Stacey 89), L Cook, Lerma, Tavernier (Anthony 74) – Billing (Zemura 80), Solanke (Moore 89). Subs not used: Travers, Stephens, Rothwell, Stanislas, Dembele

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