Match Report: Moyes is left baffled by the points that got away

Fulham 2 Everton 2: Fulham manager Jol concedes his side were ‘dominated’ before Sidwell’s late equaliser

Craven Cottage

A draw that will feel like a defeat took Everton up to fourth place in the Premier League yesterday, but they will know that this was a game they could and should have won.

A goal down early on when Tim Howard fumbled a free kick, David Moyes’s side took a while to muster a serious effort on goal. But the second half belonged almost entirely to the men from Merseyside.  Marouane Fellaini was almost unplayable, scoring twice and coming close to a hat-trick on two occasions, but the third goal would not come, and Everton paid the price when Fulham scored another scrappy goal as the clock reached 90 minutes.

“I couldn’t believe we’ve only got a draw out of that,” Moyes said – it was his team’s fourth in succession. “We’ve played really well this season but that one we should have won. We were terrific at times but couldn’t get the goals.

“It’s quite incredible, but give Fulham credit, they kept at it. The keeper made some saves but we were incredibly wasteful in front of goal. We were terrific at times but we just couldn’t get the goals. To win away in the Premier League is really difficult. We made it look as if we would win that one comfortably but we haven’t. That’s disappointing – we just didn’t finish it off.”

Everton started as they meant to go on, Leon Osman twice having shots blocked on the edge of Fulham’s penalty area in the first four minutes, but when he conceded a free kick for a foul on Dimitar Berbatov a similar distance from his own goal after six minutes, his team went behind. Bryan Ruiz’s free kick beat the wall and curled towards the net but Howard, diving to his left, appeared to have it covered. Yet instead of catching the ball or palming it aside, the goalkeeper flapped it against the inside of the post and it rebounded off his shoulder and in.

Fulham looked as though they would try to press home their advantage as Damien Duff tested Howard on the break, but before long Everton were pressing them back. To some extent that worked against the visitors, who were confronted with a white and black wall, but even so, Seamus Coleman wriggled through to draw a save from Mark Schwarzer after 37 minutes, Phil Jagielka hit a low shot that was deflected wide and Nikica Jelavic wasted a good chance when Chris Baird’s ill-judged backpass fell into his path.

“Early in the season Jelavic was fully firing and I think he is just a little off-colour at as far as his goals go at the moment,” Moyes said.

Everton must have thought their luck was still out early in the second half as Fellaini failed to make contact with the ball at the far post when Jagielka flicked on Leighton Baines’s free kick. But it brought the Everton fans behind the goal to life and  Fellaini made amends after 55 minutes when Kevin Mirallas, just onside, took Coleman’s pass down the right and laid the ball back for the Belgian to hit home from six yards.

Fulham tried to reply when Berbatov anticipated John Arne Riise’s pass and drew a save from Howard, but it was a brief respite from what was now an Everton onslaught, and Jelavic’s shot from Fellaini’s clever pass was only deflected wide by Sascha Riether’s well-timed tackle.

Moyes’s men were disproving the suggestion made a week ago by the Liverpool captain that Everton were a long-ball team, but their second goal, ironically, was pure route one. Jagielka, 10 yards inside his own half, hoisted the ball to the edge of the Fulham penalty area, where  Fellaini, in an unanswerable combination of power and technique, held off Aaron Hughes to chest the ball down and hit a first-time shot on the turn low past Schwarzer’s right hand and into the corner of the net.

The hat-trick beckoned, and it almost came with an angled shot from the left that looped up off Brede Hangeland and rebounded from the post. Steven Naismith, the substitute, smacked the loose ball towards the net but Baird was on hand to kick clear. Then Fellaini hit a volley on the turn that Schwarzer palmed aside at full stretch.

But although Fulham have given away 12 points this season from winning positions, they are also resilient. And instead of celebrating victory, Everton were left to rue their misses as Riether crossed low, Berbatov – of all people – fluffed his shot, and Steve Sidwell appeared at the far post to punish the visitors.

Martin Jol, the Fulham manager, admitted: “It doesn’t mean anything in football if you don’t score the goals. They dominated us and all we could do was try to be positive. They are a very good footballing team. They are a settled team and know exactly what to do.

“Normally we are a good team, but I couldn’t see that today. Although we took the lead I still felt they were stronger.

“Our wingers had to play as fullbacks. Fellaini was more like a striker than a midfield player. But I can’t remember giving away a lead and losing and I was very happy to keep that statistic going. The only positive thing I can say is that we never gave up.”

Fulham (4-4-1-1): Schwarzer; Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise (Dejagah, 59); Duff, Diarra (Petric, 76), Baird, Kacaniklic (Sidwell, 67); Ruiz; Berbatov.

Everton (4-4-1-1): Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Heitinga, Baines; Mirallas (Naismith, 80), Osman, Neville, Pienaar; Fellaini; Jelavic (Distin, 89).

Referee: Neil Swarbrick.

Man of the match: Fellaini (Everton)

Match rating: 7/10

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
people
Sport
SPORT
News
people
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Biggins as Mrs Smee in Peter Pan
theatreHow do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick