Stalemate at The Valley as Fulham were forced to settle for a point away at Charlton Athletic on Wednesday night.
In a match devoid of any intent from the home side to commit bodies forward we were unable to break down a well-structured Lee Bowyer outfit. Nevertheless a point towards the cause.
Scott Parker made on change from the side that had defeated Middlesbrough at Craven Cottage under a week ago. Anthony Knockaert, who had been in scintillating form in recent weeks missed out through injury. In his place Harry Arter was brought into the starting XI and Josh Onomah was moved out to play further forward.
It was a nervy start for Fulham on a foggy evening in South London. Charlton implementing the same high energy press that had been on show from the 2-2 draw that the two sides played out earlier on the season.
After surviving some early corners we started to play our stuff and the neat link up play that was prominent in the first half vs Middlesbrough was again implemented. Onomah, cutting in from the left flank and firing against the side netting being the best half-chance in the first ten minutes.
In the 13th minute after some more dominating possession Decordova-Reid let fly with a rasping drive from 30 yards out. His swerving shot was well parried behind for a corner but the warning shot had been fired.
In the 15th minute Decordova-Reid again came close to opening the scoring. Tom Cairney made a nice run in behind the Charlton defence and was in with two defenders to beat. After spotting the run of Reid to his right-hand side the skipper played the attacker through. The Jamaican shot on target but once again Dillon Phillips was well positioned to make the save.
We were knocking on the door again in the 22nd minute. After some more patient build-up Cairney slid a neat ball into the path of Joe Bryan who had busted a gut up the left wing to get in an attacking position. The fullback unleashed a fizzing drive which beat the keeper and flew past the far post. Unlucky again for Fulham.
The quality stuttered as Charlton began to get hold of the ball more often. However, the hosts were unable to carve out any opportunities and the match stagnated somewhat.
It was a dire 20 minutes to close out the half with Charlton content to sit back and stack bodies behind the ball. With their shape cemented we found it hard to break through, despite plenty of possession. It seemed to be a night where it would take something special to break the deadlock.
In the 50th minute we had a golden opportunity to open the scoring. After winning the corner for Fulham Ivan Cavaleiro whipped in a delightful ball to the back post. After spinning off his man Michael Hector was totally unmarked at the back post. With the keeper rushing off his line the imposing central defender powered a header wide. Opportunity missed.
In the 60th minute we were almost punished for some sloppy play in our own half. A loose pass from Arter to Kevin McDonald was pounced upon and in a flash the ball had worked out to Alfie Doughty on the left flank. He looked to lash one in low and hard but Marek Rodák was on hand to smother the shot.
The match continued to meander on with very little incident. Unable to create any openings in the Charlton back line we were forced to keep possession and patiently look to work and opening.
With five minutes remaining Scott Parker made one final throw of the dice to try to break the deadlock. Jay Stansfield was introduced to try and nick a vital goal that would surely seal victory.
The change made no difference and the match played out without any further incident. A solid point away from home to keep the momentum going in our push for the top two.