Fulham 1 (Sessegnon 74) Wolves 1 (Saiss 85)
Romain Saiss’ first Premier League goal earned Wolves a Boxing Day point, the minimum they deserved for their efforts against Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Despite dominating large spells of the game, Wolves looked to be heading for defeat in the capital after Ryan Sessegnon had squeezed an effort over the line. However, the visitors continued to press and deserved their equaliser which came courtesy of a tap-in by Saiss after good work by Ivan Cavaleiro and Helder Costa.
There’d been little to choose between the two sides in the opening period, as Aleksandar Mitrovic tested Rui Patricio and Raul Jimenez cleared the Fulham crossbar with an overhead-kick. However, all the drama was to wait until the final 16 minutes.
Wolves had enjoyed all of the ball after the break, without hurting the Cottagers, and they suffered the sucker-punch when substitute Sessegnon fired the hosts ahead after Wolves had failed to clear and Patricio’s punch fell at the feet of the youngster.
However, the visitors weren’t finished and Cavaleiro’s cross caused carnage in the Fulham box where Costa’s pressure saw the ricochet fall at the feet of Saiss to tap home his first goal of the season – earning a thoroughly deserved point.
The early stages of Boxing Day’s first Premier League fixture brought little in the way of clear cut-chances, as Adama Traore fired well over the bar with the first attempt. As for Fulham, Mitrovic’s volley looked dangerous, but was blocked before reaching Patricio’s goal.
Wolves were asking the bigger questions however, and after Denis Odoi had got away with a handball inside the area, Jimenez terrifically took the ball under his spell, but was out of luck with a spectacular overhead-kick which flew over the bar.
With Mitrovic in their side, Fulham were always a threat in the air and the Serbian met Cyrus Christie’s cross on 26 minutes, only for Patricio to pluck his header out of the skies. Then came the turn of Andre Schurrle, but his effort forced another routine save out of the Wolves stopper, before Christie drilled wide with Mitrovic sliding in.
Sergio Rico was first called into action by Jimenez, who latched on to Jonny’s header and hit a rasping volley in the direction of the goalkeeper, who could only palm to safety. The chance of the half fell to Mitrovic, who jinxed his way past Willy Boly and Conor Coady, before firing at Patricio, who did well to race off his line.
Half-time: Fulham 0 Wolves 0
At the break Nuno withdrew Traore from the action and released Cavaleiro on to Craven Cottage. The Portuguese made a positive impact, but it was Jonny who created a good early opening for Jimenez, who out-jumped Alfie Mawson but was off target with his header.
The opening to the second period was one-way traffic in Wolves’ favour and Jimenez had another effort palmed away by Rico from the edge of the box. Despite their dominance, Wolves couldn’t find a way through and Morgan Gibbs-White made way for Costa soon after.
However, completely against the run of play, Fulham found the breakthrough. Patricio’s punch ahead of Odoi wasn’t strong enough and Sessegnon, minutes after coming on, hammered the rebound home, despite Coady’s best efforts on the line.
Jimenez tried to haul his side back level but got his header wrong, before Ruben Vinagre replaced Jonny. Then, within minutes, Wolves were back on level terms. Cavaleiro was the creator, his low cross caused confusion in the Fulham box, which Costa aided, allowing Saiss the simple task of tapping into an empty net.
By that point any side could have claimed maximum points, with Costa shooting side and Mitrovic’s deflected effort looking destined for the back of the net, only for Coady to race back on to his line and save the day.
Saiss and Vinagre had half-chances from there, but Wolves were forced to settle for a point in the capital after a spirited display.
Full-time: Fulham 1 Wolves 1
Fulham: Rico, Christie, Odoi, Mawson, Ream, Bryan, Chambers, Seri (McDonald 82), Kamara (Cairney 73), Mitrovic, Schurrle (Sessegnon 66).
Unused subs: Bettinelli, Le Marchand, Vietto, Ayite.
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Jonny (Vinagre 82), Saiss, Moutinho, Gibbs-White (Costa 63), Traore (Cavaleiro 46), Jimenez.
Unused subs: Ruddy, Kilman, Neves, Bonatini.