Hughes sent packing for 'abuse of a water bottle'

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Fulham 1
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The Independent Football

Fulham missed chance after chance here. Thankfully for them, Andy Johnson needed only one, scoring with his first touch after coming on as a substitute to keep Wolves six points behind them in the table.

Defeat would have increased fears that Fulham could be dragged into relegation danger and the strain showed on their manager, Mark Hughes, who was sent off from the dug-out early in the second half while his side trailed 1-0 to Steven Fletcher's header. Hughes had repeatedly kicked at a water bottle and gestured angrily after Brede Hangeland had been booked by the young referee, Michael Oliver, for a challenge on Fletcher. Hughes may find himself in further trouble for his comments about Oliver's performance. He said: "The occasion looked too much for the referee. He probably needs a few more games, possibly at a lower level. I asked him why I got sent off. He said abuse of a water bottle. That's a new one."

Hughes's mood was cheered when Johnson rescued a point, taking advantage as the ball struck Christophe Berra and fell into his path.

Fulham showed attacking intent early on, Simon Davies squaring to Carlos Salcido, whose long-range shot was tipped over. A neat move gave Fulham another opening – Steve Sidwell lofted the ball wide to Salcido, who delivered a brilliant, first-time pass towards the six-yard box where Clint Dempsey slid in and shot over.

For all Wolves' determination, little had been created untilKarl Henry floated in a cross towards the back post and Fletcher leapt to head the ball beyond Mark Schwarzer.

In the second half Fulham started carving out the better openings but were not helped by fussy refereeing. Their forwards' finishing problems continued as Dempsey scuffed a chance from 10 yards and Eidur Gudjohnsen hooked over on the rebound, after Wayne Hennessey had spilled a Davies cross.

Those misses led to the arrivals of substitutes Gaël Kakuta and Bobby Zamora, who was injured by Henry in the reverse fixture. Zamora's first contribution was defensive, clearing the ball off the line from Berra's header.

Fulham threw on another attacker, Johnson. It paid off when Hangeland's long ball from the halfway line was knocked back by Zamora then struck Berra, allowing Johnson to control the ball and fire in.

Attendance: 28,825

Referee: Michael Oliver

Man of the match: Guedioura

Match rating: 7/10