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Fulham 1 Saints 1
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- Saints stay 17th after draw with Fulham
- Nigel Adkins' side now one point above drop zone
- Dimitar Berbatov gave Fulham early lead
- Rickie Lambert equalised with a late penalty
That result keeps Saints 17th, but moves them a point clear of the relegation zone, after Wigan lost at Everton. We will have some reaction for you on the website later and a full report and quotes in tomorrow's Daily Echo.
FULL-TIME: Fulham 1 Saints 1
GOAL Fulham 1 Saints 1 (Rickie Lambert pen 85): Chris Baird is penalised for handlin a corner in the box, with referee Phil Dowd pointing to the spot. Rickie Lambert slams the penalty to Mark Schwarzer's right. The Fulham keeper gets to the ball, but is beaten by the sheer power of it.
CHANCE (78 mins): Shaw's cross from the left finds Lambert, who hits a stinging left-foot volley that flashes just over the bar.
CHANCE (66 mins): Dejgah flashes a low shot across the face of goal, in what is one of the very few chances created by either side in a rather dismal second-half.
CHANCE (47 mins): Puncheon hits a left foot shot from the edge of the area across goal, but it skids just wide of the far post.
HALF-TIME: Fulham 1 Saints 0
CHANCE (35 mins): The game has descended into a quiet spell. Morgan Schneiderlin did have a half-chance, with a low shot from 20 yards, but he pulled it well wide of the post.
CHANCE (20 mins): A rare break forward for Saints. The ball falls to Cork 25 yards out, but his well-hit low shot is held by Schwarzer in the Fulham goal.
CHANCE (16 mins): Rodallega plays Kacanikilc down the left. His cross picks out Berbatov on the penalty spot, but he puts his header wide.
GOAL: Fulham 1 Saints 0 (Berbatov 8): Riether overlaps down the right side and delivers a low cross that flashes across the six-yard box. Davis dives down to it, but spills it in the wet conditions, with Berbatov gratefully readjusting his body and sweeping the ball home. The Fulham forward then reveals a T-shirt that reads "Keep calm and pass me the ball". He's booked for it, but for Fulham it's hard to argue against that advice.
CHANCE (3 mins): Fulham break down the right with Rodallega, who squares the ball to Sidwell on the edge of the area in space, but his low shot is just wide of the post.
The teams are on their way out here at Craven Cottage. Kick-off just a few moments away. We will have updates here for you throughout the match.
In terms of Christmas, I think the games we've got are winnable. We go into those games fully intending to set our stall out so we can win those games. That's what we'll ask of ourselves. Who knows if Dimitar Berbatov is the man to watch out for against Fulham. I am not sure if he has scored many this season, has he? He is a top class player but he is not their only player. He didn't play against us down here and we conceded two goals so they've got quality all over the pitch. They wouldn't have been in the Premier League for this amount of time if they weren't quality so we will obviously pay them respect, but it is about turning up on the day, performing and taking the three points.Saints keeper Kelvin Davis
Just one change for Saints, which comes as no surprise. Emmanuel Mayuka is dropped to the bench after a disappointing display against Sunderland, with Steven Davis replacing him in the starting line-up.
SAINTS: K Davis, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Cork, S Davis, Puncheon, Ramirez, Lambert.
Subs: Boruc, Hooiveld, Richardson, Ward-Prowse, Guly, Mayuka, Rodriguez.
FULHAM: Schwarzer, Riether, Hangeland, Senderos, Riise, Dejagah, Sidwell, Baird, Kacaniklic, Berbatov, Rodallega.
Subs: Stockdale, Kelly, Karagounis, Briggs, Hughes, Ruiz, Frei.
Referee: P Dowd.
Sometimes they showed they can get the results and sometimes their weaknesses have been exploited, like we have. You saw a big contradiction with Aston Villa, losing 8-0 at Chelsea after winning at Liverpool the week before. That is the Barclays Premier League for you. It is unbelievably strong so you have to be strong in your organisation and you need your players that can make the difference. I feel we have got these players and hopefully they will be available. Even when they're not, we have got other players that can do the job, but the margin is a bit thin between being successful and not successful. I don't think (Adam Lallana being out) matters. If you see them, they had Jay Rodriguez and we had a close look at him. He was quite expensive and they bought him. They have Gaston Ramirez, who has over £10million and is a good player. He can play on that flank and if you see Jason Puncheon on the other flank, he has done very well. They also have Emmanuel Mayuka, who we had a look at as well. He was £6million or £7million. They have a few players that can fill in that role. We have to do that all the time so why couldn't they come up with a solution?Fulham manager Martin Jol
I’ve highlighted you need to win your games at home, especially against the teams around us. It hasn’t gone our way. We’ll analyse it, we’ll quickly move on, we’ll draw a line underneath it and get ourselves ready for the next one. All the games are going to be pressurised. What we’ve got to do is make sure we regroup and get ourselves ready for Fulham. They’re good, they play that 4-4-1-1 very well, with Berbatov between the lines. They’re well-organised defensively, they’re a unit, similar to what we go and do. So they’ll be a team that’s difficult to break down, but one we believe we can score against.Saints manager Nigel Adkins
Fulham squad news: Bryan Ruiz could return today. The 27-year-old has been out since coming off in the 3-1 defeat to Sunderland on November 18 with a hamstring injury, but is rated 50-50 by manager Martin Jol for a return. Mahamadou Diarra and Mladen Petric are doubts and Damien Duff is definitely out. Simon Davies (hip) is also unavailable, while Steve Sidwell returns from suspension.
Saints squad news: Adam Lallana will again miss out with a knee injury. Saints didn't appear to have any other obvious injury problems emanating from the loss to Sunderland last weekend, though.
Hello and welcome to the Daily Echo’s blog covering the Boxing Day clash between Fulham and Saints, at Craven Cottage. Nigel Adkins’ side were smarting over Christmas after suffering a deflating home defeat to Sunderland last weekend. They have a chance to bounce back from that today as they travel to an out-of-form Fulham team, who have won just one of their last ten league matches. Saints remain outside of the bottom three on goal difference going into today’s game and will be hoping to earn a bit of extra breathing space with a second away success of the campaign.
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