Fulham 1-1 Blackpool: Aleksandar Mitrovic scores 28th goal of season but Championship leaders held

Fulham 1-1 Blackpool: Aleksandar Mitrovic scores 28th goal of season but Championship leaders held

by Emily Smith
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Josh Bowler (second right) scored Blackpool’s winner when they beat Fulham in the reverse fixture in SeptemberAleksandar Mitrovic scored his 28th goal of the season but Championship leaders Fulham were pegged back by an impressive Blackpool side in an entertaining game at Craven Cottage.

Mitrovic tapped home from close range to reward the Cottagers’ early dominance, with Harry Wilson and Fabio Carvalho both coming close to adding a second.

The game was held up for more than 40 minutes just after the quarter-hour mark because of a medical emergency in the crowd, with Fulham announcing hours after the game that supporter Paul Parish had suffered a cardiac arrest and had passed away in hospital.

Blackpool improved drastically following the resumption. And after both sides hit the woodwork – Fulham twice, Blackpool once – the visitors deservedly earned a point as CJ Hamilton pounced on Tosin Adarabioyo’s error to set up Josh Bowler for a tap-in.

Relive Saturday’s EFL action as it happenedDespite the equaliser, Fulham’s cushion at the top remains five points after second-placed Blackburn were held at Luton, and Marco Silva’s side also have a game in hand on Rovers.

The hosts had scored 22 goals in chalking up four successive wins in January, only six fewer than Blackpool’s total for the entire season, and another emphatic win looked on the cards after Mitrovic’s opener.

The Serbia striker has already surpassed his best scoring season, having netted 26 when Fulham won promotion from the Championship in 2019-20, and few will have been easier than the one Carvalho’s square ball set up on a plate here.

Aleksandar Mitrovic’s goal against Blackpool was his sixth in Fulham’s past four gamesHad a wonderful Wilson lob dropped in, rather than inches wide, Blackpool might have been blown away but, once play resumed after lengthy treatment for an unwell fan, they went toe-to-toe with the table toppers.

Callum Connolly’s free-kick was well saved by Fulham keeper Marek Rodak and the excellent Bowler curled on to the bar after cutting inside from the right.

Blackpool did ride their luck at times at the other end, Jordan Thorniley heading a Carvalho cross on to his own post before the teenage Fulham forward was denied by the upright after a sublime solo run and one-two with Neeskens Kebano early in the second half.

The Seasiders were also thankful to referee Peter Bankes for deciding a dangerous high boot from Kenny Dougall, that appeared to catch Harrison Reed flush in the face, was only worthy of a yellow card, not red.

With both goalkeepers busy either side of Bowler’s equaliser – Seasiders stopper Daniel Grimshaw thwarting Mitrovic and Wilson, while Fulham’s Rodak denied Jordan Gabriel and Hamilton – a point apiece was a fair result and a particularly pleasing one for promoted Blackpool, who have now taken four points off the leaders this season.

Fulham head coach Marco Silva to BBC London 94.9:

“We started the game brilliantly against a team who changed their formation coming here, which is happening more and more and more. They changed everything they normally do, they respect us and they sat back.

“The first 10 minutes, I don’t think they passed the halfway line. We scored one goal, we had more chances to score. After the break [for the medical emergency] we tried to come back with the same intensity but, of course, it is not a normal thing.

“Second half wasn’t a good performance from ourselves but the referee had a really bad performance as well. We made many mistakes and that started to give some belief to them.

“We have been brilliant since the Christmas break – we are doing fantastic things. Just because for 45 minutes we didn’t perform at our best, that doesn’t mean everything will change.”

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley told BBC Radio Lancashire:

“We were really tentative to start with, not aggressive enough in our mindset – that was my fault, my coaching during the week and my messages. I’ve not set the team up properly, that’s my responsibility.

“Then we got on the front foot a bit more and the game and the momentum changed a little bit and I’ve got nothing but praise for the lads.

“We took the game to them and they have been scoring goals at the bucketload – they are a fantastic football team.”

Line-upsFulhamFormation 4-2-3-1

1Rodák

4Odoi16Tosin13Ream23Bryan

10Cairney6Reed

8Wilson28Carvalho7Kebano

9Mitrovic

1Rodák4OdoiBooked at 27minsSubstituted forKnockaertat 83’minutes16Tosin13Ream23Bryan10Cairney6ReedSubstituted forChalobahat 72’minutes8WilsonBooked at 75mins28CarvalhoBooked at 68mins7KebanoSubstituted forMuniz Carvalhoat 72’minutes9MitrovicBooked at 45minsSubstitutes3Hector11Knockaert12Chalobah17Cavaleiro19Muniz Carvalho21Gazzaniga25OnomahBlackpoolFormation 5-4-1

32Grimshaw

4Lawrence-Gabriel21Ekpiteta26Keogh34Thorniley35Sterling

11Bowler2Connolly12Dougall22Hamilton

19Lavery

32Grimshaw4Lawrence-GabrielBooked at 90mins21Ekpiteta26Keogh34Thorniley35Sterling11Bowler2Connolly12DougallBooked at 39mins22Hamilton19LaverySubstituted forYatesat 79’minutesSubstitutes7Dale9Yates13Moore14Madine15Robson20Casey27KirkReferee:Peter Bankes

Attendance:19,092

Live TextMatch ends, Fulham 1, Blackpool 1.

Second Half ends, Fulham 1, Blackpool 1.

Foul by Rodrigo Muniz (Fulham).

Richard Keogh (Blackpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel (Blackpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Nathaniel Chalobah (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel (Blackpool).

Fabio Carvalho (Fulham) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Callum Connolly (Blackpool).

Foul by Nathaniel Chalobah (Fulham).

Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel (Blackpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Rodrigo Muniz (Fulham) header from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Anthony Knockaert with a cross.

Rodrigo Muniz (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Marvin Ekpiteta (Blackpool).

Foul by Joe Bryan (Fulham).

Josh Bowler (Blackpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Offside, Fulham. Joe Bryan tries a through ball, but Rodrigo Muniz is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Rodrigo Muniz (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

Substitution, Fulham. Anthony Knockaert replaces Denis Odoi.

Corner, Blackpool. Conceded by Marek Rodák.

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