These points all count, you know. Wolves are a poor side by reputation and by league position, but they are also strangely dangerous, and will have certainly seen today as a great chance to take three points. That they didn’t was a result of Fulham’s spirited and occasionally excellent display, and especially Andy Johnson’s late equaliser.
The first half was terrific, initially. Carlos Salcido thwacked a drive towards the top-corner, only to see it pawed away. Sidwell released the same player down the left with a nice dink over the defence, Salcido volleyed across goal, Dempsey, at full stretch, blasted high from not far out. What a goal it would’ve been. Next Simon Davies made a mess of a good chance, his feet all of a muddle.
Then Wolves scored, some nice work on the right, a good cross, a good header. Stephen Fletcher thumped it home quite convincingly so we might wonder what happened to the defence, but perhaps sometimes there will be crosses like those that find their man so perfectly that little can be done. Who can say? Whatever: Wolves were ahead, and didn’t deserve to be.
Fulham didn’t seem to know how to react, and the game became a bit more even from here. Eidur Gudjohnson had a decent effort towards the end of the half, a shot that if nothing else reminded us that he was on the pitch.
The second half was more of the same. Mark Hughes got himself sent off for kicking a water bottle several times, his frustration understandable after Hangeland’s incorrect yellow card (the manager now has a worse disciplinary record than his namesake at centre-back). Fulham withdrew Gudjohnson, Murphy and later Dempsey, bringing on Zamora, Kakuta and Johnson.
They were inspired changes, as it happened. A long ball into the area was won (or at least contested) by Zamora, dropped to Johnson, whose shot flew in via what appeared to be a deflection. Those of us who have been critical of Johnson must take this on the chin: he did exactly what we needed him to do here.
And so it goes. Not quite safe, not quite in danger. Absent anything weird happening there’s still nothing too much to worry about, but this season is starting to feel like a cold you can’t get rid of.