Fulham were once again grateful to Manor Solomon as Wolves were pegged back in a feisty Friday Night Football encounter which ended in a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage.
Half-time substitute Solomon, who scored the winner in last weekend’s 1-0 victory at Brighton and was also on target in Fulham’s 2-0 success over Nottingham Forest earlier this month, cut inside from the left and unleashed a stunning strike into the far corner just after the hour mark to extend his side’s current unbeaten league run to four matches.
Wolves had deservedly led at the break through Pablo Sarabia’s first goal (23) since joining from Paris Saint-Germain, but neither side were able to convert one point into three as Jose Sa’s brilliant save kept out Carlos Vinicius’ header in stoppage time.
The result means Fulham stay in sixth place ahead of the weekend’s remaining Premier League games, with Wolves still in 15th place, four points above the relegation zone.
Fulham: Leno (6), Tete (7), Diop (6), Ream (7), Antonee Robinson (6), Reed (5), Joao Palhinha (6), Reid (5), Andreas Pereira (6), Willian (6), Vinicius (6).
Subs: Wilson (7), Solomon (8), Lukic (7).
Wolves: Jose Sa (7), Nelson Semedo (6), Dawson (6), Kilman (7), Bueno (7), Sarabia (7), Lemina (6), Neves (7), Matheus Nunes (6), Jimenez (7), Matheus Cunha (6).
Subs: Daniel Podence (n/a), Joao Moutinho (n/a), Costa (5), Adama Traore (6).
Player of the match: Manor Solomon.
Wisdom of Solomon rescues Fulham
A win would have given Fulham 41 points, the highest tally by a promoted team after 25 fixtures of a 38-match Premier League season. Indeed, only the two Manchester clubs have earned more points than Fulham’s 19 since the Premier League resumed after the World Cup.
The new and improved Riverside Stand is increasing in attendance with each passing week. By the time the trees in the adjacent Bishops Park are in full bloom, the residents might well be dreaming of a European tour – but they were second best during the opening period.
- Fulham manager Marco Silva made one change from his side’s late 1-0 win at Brighton last weekend. Carlos Vinicius was selected up front, with Harry Wilson dropping to the bench and Bobby De Cordova-Reid returning to the midfield, having played at the top at the Amex.
- Wolves made two changes, with Mario Lemina returning from a one-match suspension and Raul Jimenez returning to the starting XI while Joao Moutinho and Adama Traore dropped to the bench.
Sarabia had already fired a warning sign when latching onto Nelson Semedo’s pull-back on 20 minutes but the January signing’s shot lacked conviction as it was easily gathered by Bernd Leno.
Wolves haven’t had their passports stamped since their Europa League quarter-final exit at the hands of Sevilla in August 2020, but they have a battle of a very different kind this term. Sarabia gave their survival hopes a shot in the arm just three minutes later to break the deadlock.
The 30-year-old Spaniard, recruited for just £4.4m from Paris Saint-Germain, started and finished the move as he fed Matheus Nunes on the left channel before carrying his run into the Fulham box. Nunes’ centre was cushioned down by Raul Jimenez for Sarabia to steady himself and spear a low shot through the legs of Tim Ream and into the bottom corner beyond Leno’s reach.
By Silva’s own admission, his side hadn’t been at their best during a smash-and-grab raid at Brighton last weekend, but Fulham entered this game off the back of three clean sheets which had stoked hopes of European qualification for the first time since 2009/10.
But having won just two of their nine games when conceding first this season – the 3-2 victory at Nottingham Forest and same scoreline at Leeds – it was not until the closing stages of the opening period that Sa was forced into action, saving Vinicius’ header from Bobby Decordova-Reid’s cross. Ruben Neves was off target when presented with an identical chance moments later.
Silva made a double change at the interval as Solomon and Sasa Lukic were summoned in place of Decordova-Reid and Harrison Reed, who had been nursing an ankle injury since the opening exchanges. But it was Wolves who continued to dominate, as Max Kilman’s header drifted just over before Jimenez glanced Sarabia’s cross just wide.
This became a fiery affair when two Wolves players went down in quick succession, with Fulham feeling their opponents were guilty of time-wasting. Cunha stayed down after a challenge from Antonee Robinson, and the hosts equalised just four minutes later.
There appeared very little on when Solomon collected the ball off Robinson, but having been shown inside by Semedo, the Israeli needed no second invitation to curl a superb 20-yard shot low beyond Sa.
Fulham sensed a turnaround as Wolves retreated, and were it not for Sa’s sprawling save to deny Vinicius from Kenny Tete’s cross in stoppage time, it would have been another smash-and-grab for Silva’s side.
Fulham now turn their attentions to the FA Cup, with a home tie against Leeds on Tuesday; kick-off 7.45pm. Marco Silva’s side then take on west London rivals Brentford in the Premier League on Monday March 6, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 8pm.
Monday 6th March 7:00pm
Kick off 8:00pm
Wolves now travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool for the fourth time this year; kick-off 8pm. Julen Lopetegui’s side then host Tottenham on Saturday March 4; kick-off 3pm.