Fulham 2-2 Crystal Palace: Ward bundles home late equaliser for Eagles

Fulham 2-2 Crystal Palace: Joel Ward bundles home late equaliser for Eagles after Aleksandar Mitrovic had bagged a brace to put the hosts ahead following Odsonne Edouard’s first-half strike

  • Ward’s late equaliser earned Crystal Palace a battling point at Craven Cottage
  • Fulham had been heading for victory thanks to two goals from Mitrovic 
  • Roy Hodgson is on course to STAY at Crystal Palace for another season  

Aleksandar Mitrovic does not need much to get fired up. We already knew this.

Add into the concoction his first home match in two months, and a blooded nose after three minutes? Mayhem and efficacy to aplomb.

His first, on the stroke of half-time, was an unstoppable penalty kick hit with sheer conviction into the top-right corner.

While his second after an hour utilised his central gift: heading from set-pieces. Willian’s free-kick was right on the money, mind.

The brace had nearly set the groundwork to the Cottagers surpassing their record Premier League points total of 53.

Crystal Palace defender Joel Ward scored a late equaliser to claim a deserved point at Fulham

Aleksandar Mitrovic’s powerful header put the home side ahead in the 61st minute

That was set by Roy Hodgson’s side in 2008-09. In context, what a job Marco Silva has done.

But Crystal Palace showed their valiant fighting spirit once again in this campaign.

They did not lie down or resign to it being Mitrovic and Fulham’s day. It would have been easier to.

A free-kick floated into the area with seven minutes of the 90 left. It appeared to have been under control by the Fulham backline, until the ball ricocheted off Antonee Robinson’s back.

Ward latched on, shot and then finished off a rebound that landed on his plate from goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

It was messy, and against the run of play; in some ways, an encapsulation of the game as a whole.

Before the match, all eyes were on Mitrovic. The home fans were getting their first glimpse of him at Craven Cottage since March, following an eight-game suspension for pushing referee Chris Kavanagh.

But his introduction, and the game itself, was rather bloody.

Odsonne Edouard opened the scoring for Crystal Palace in the 34th minute on Saturday

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored in his second successive game since returning from a ban

The Crystal Palace forward fired a left-footed shot into the top corner past Leno

A Joachim Anderson elbow to the nose in an aerial duel after three minutes with the striker had blood spurting from that region.

He returned with a swab stuffed into a nostril and a new shirt — without a number or name on its back.

Later in the half, Jordan Ayew’s elbow found its way into Tete’s face when fending him away near the touchline and Tyrick Mitchell’s knee brushed the head of Bobby De Cordova Reid.

It was all getting rather physical.

Willian posed a threat drifting in from the left into pockets behind Mitrovic, though was struggling to execute an effective delivery.

The deadlock was broke when Harry Wilson was grappled down by an by en-rushing Trick Mitchell.

Referee Josh Smith awarded a penalty, and Mitrovic dispatched it.

Palace’s opener came with their first real chance on target. Though, by this season’s stage, it is clear you cannot give Palace’s pacey forward outfit space or time.


FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Leno 6; Tete 6, Adarabioyo 6, Diop 6, Robinson 6; Reed 6, Palhinha 6.5; Wilson 7 (Reid 80), Cairney 6.5 (Solomon 80), Willian 7; Mitrovic 8.

Scorer: Mitrovic 45+5, 61.

Booked: Robinson, Palhinha, Adarabioyo.

Subs: Rodak, Duffy, Kebano, Soares, Lukic, Vinicius, Harris.

Manager: Marco Silva 7

CRYSTAL PALACE (4-2-3-1): Johnstone 6; Ward 6, Andersen 6, Guehi 6, Mitchell 5; Doucoure 6, Hughes 6.5; Olise 7, Eze 7, Ayew 6.5; Edouard 7 (Mateta 80).

Scorers: Edouard 34, Ward 83.

Subs: Whitworth, Lokonga, Clyne, McArthur, Richards, Ahamada, Adaramola, Riedewald.

Manager: Roy Hodgson 7

Referee: Josh Smith 7

Attendance: 24,356

Mitrovic scored from the spot after Harry Wilson was fouled by Tyrick Mitchell in the box

Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno parries the ball away from goal under pressure from Olise

Fulham striker Aleksander Mitrovic tangles with Fulham defender Joachim Andersen

The Cottagers remained above their London rivals, who managed to climb above Chelsea

A Fulham corner broke to Ebere Eze, he motored through the middle to play Odsonne Edouard through. He then laced the ball past goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.

The recently unfamiliar taste of scoring at home had clearly whet Mitrovic’s appetite. Within seconds of the second half, he started a move that left him alone in the penalty area.

Wilson’s cross found him. A simple tap in was required, but he could only steer it wide.

Fulham thought they had done enough, until Ward struck the sucker punch.

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