Absentees overshadow Fulham effort
Bolton Wanderers 0 Fulham 0
Sunday 15 August 2010
Mark Schwarzer and Paul Konchesky, two leading Fulham lights who have been the subject of much transfer speculation, sat out a mundane opening here to the new League season, both having failed fitness tests.
Of course, this being the final few weeks of the summer transfer window, that will not deter reports that Schwarzer's move to Arsenal, or Konchesky's reported reunion with Roy Hodgson at Liverpool, have moved a step closer following their omission at the Reebok Stadium but for now Fulham's new manager, Mark Hughes, keeps his determined stance.
"They had fitness tests this morning and were unable to play," said Hughes. "Schwarzer is injured, that is why he missed the game. The intention is that he stays here. We have had conversations, and I fully understand the reasoning [why] Mark wants to take this opportunity.
"But I think he understands we have to protect our position. We're not going to put Fulham's position or reputation at risk by making promises we can't fulfil. Nothing has moved on."
Certainly his deputy goalkeeper David Stockdale, 24, did his cause with Hughes no harm. After some initial jitters Stockdale, starting only his second Premier League game, made two vital saves that earned his team a point.
Early in the second period, Gretar Steinsson picked out Johan Elmander in the Fulham area and the oft-criticised Sweden forward turned neatly in the area to produce a vicious shot, which Stockdale kept out with his fingertips. Then, just after the hour mark, Elmander was again the unfortunate Wanderer as he seized on an advantage call from the referee Stuart Attwell, advancing into the area where only the outstretched leg of the young goalkeeper denied him.
Stuart Holden, the United States midfielder, came closest of all to breaking the deadlock 12 minutes from time when he showed an explosive turn of pace to cut in from the left and send a right-foot shot ricocheting against the foot of Stockdale's post.
That escape actually galvanised Fulham into their best period of the game, and Jussi Jaaskelainen was twice forced into solid saves from Clint Dempsey and Dickson Etuhu as the London side finally sensed the possibility of victory rather than soak up pressure and hope for something on the break.
"Last season, it took us until February to get our first clean sheet so I'm pleased," said Bolton's manager, Owen Coyle. "Some of our play was great, the fans were fantastic, the atmosphere was great. The only disappointment was, we never got the win."
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Man of the match: Knight
Match rating: 5/10
Latest in Sport
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Ghosts of past cast a massive shadow
Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao? Ricky Hatton, Mike Tyson, Ronda Rousey, George Foreman and more make their predictions
Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Kyle Walker dog video: Tottenham defender categorically denies 'disgusting' rumours
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
- 5 9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'