News24

Fulham lucky to draw at Bolton

2010-08-14 19:21

Bolton - Fulham ground out a dour 0-0 draw at Bolton on Saturday in Mark Hughes' first match in charge of the Cottagers.

Hughes's side spent most of the match on the backfoot as Bolton dominated, but they left the Reebok Stadium unscathed thanks to some resolute defending and fine goalkeeping.

With Fulham's Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer absent, reportedly dropped after handing in a transfer request as he attempts to force a move to Arsenal, it was left to reserve stopper David Stockdale to rescue Fulham.

Stockdale made several fine saves to deny Johan Elmander and even when he was beaten by Bolton's Stuart Holden the woodwork came to Fulham's rescue.

It was Owen Coyle's Bolton who carved out the first opportunity after 10 minutes as Elmander attempted a flick, collected the rebound and then dragged a shot wide to Stockdale's right.

A minute later at the other end, Fulham captain Danny Murphy went closer with a low strike from outside the box.

Bolton midfielder Martin Petrov, signed from Manchester City on a free transfer during the close-season, drove in a fierce effort which Stockdale did well to stop.

Fulham threatened again when Bobby Zamora, fresh from his England debut in midweek, attempted an audacious lob that drifted just over Jussi Jaaskelainen's crossbar.

But it was Bolton who continued to make the more legitimate chances, as Elmander dispossessed Dickson Etuhu and sent a powerful strike into the arms of Stockdale.

After the break Bolton continued to make the running, with Elmander unleashing a snap-shot which Stockdale tipped over for a corner.

Referee Stuart Attwell ignored the home crowd's cries for a penalty as South Korea's Lee Chung-Yong went down in the box under the challenge of Murphy.

Lee made a tame effort on goal moments later, but Elmander was unlucky not to score once more after working his way into a shooting position, with Stockdale on hand to avert the danger.

Holden went closest to breaking the deadlock with just over 10 minutes to go, firing in a shot that bounced back off a post.

AFP