MATCH REPORT: Fulham 1 PNE 1

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It was a tale of two halves in a feisty affair at Craven Cottage as PNE drew 1-1 with Fulham.

Joe Garner powerfully nodded home in the 11th minute after Paul Gallagher played a slick one-two with Greg Cunningham from a corner and curled the ball into the path of the striker who made no mistake from six-yards out.

The Cottage was a cauldron of noise as the 1,933 travelling PNE fans sang their hearts out and the feisty home faithful booed and bemoaned their managerless side’s poor first half showing.

Eoin Doyle could have doubled PNE’s lead as they dominated the first 45 but he nodded wide after Garner - who scored for the second game in a row - had headed Tom Clarke’s cross across goal.

But just as PNE dominated the first half Fulham controlled the second.

Referee Graham Horwood incensed Fulham’s supporters after turning down two penalty appeals and making a number of decisions they disagreed with.

But Fulham eventually levelled from a set-piece.

Substitute John Welsh handled the ball on the edge of the box and McCormack sweetly squeezed the set-piece from the right, right-footed into the top right corner in the 77th minute.

PNE boss Simon Grayson threw Stevie May as North End searched for the winner but he was stretchered off after he was caught by Richard Stearman in injury time.

Grayson made two changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Blackburn Rovers last week.

Bailey Wright started his two match suspension after he picked up a red card for two yellows in that game and Calum Woods missed the game due to a hamstring injury.

They were replaced by Marnick Vermijl and Clarke and North End started the game well.

Doyle plucked the ball out of the air and smashed it right-footed towards goal but Joe Lewis batted it away in the sixth minute.

And moments later Tom Clarke pounced at the front post but he only got a slither of a touch on the ball and Gallagher’s shot was comfortably collected as North End dominated the opening stages of the clash.

North End took the lead moments after. Gallagher played a quick one-two with Greg Cunnigham from a corner and put the ball on a plate for Garner who ghosted into the box and out-foxed the static Fulham defence to nod the ball home from six-yards out in the 11th minute.

Garner tried his luck from distance and up the other end Cairney’s shot just fizzed wide of the post.

Doyle caught Jamie O’Hara in possession in the Fulham half and stormed forward with Johnson and Garner in support but he opted to shoot from 20-yards out and the ball sailed wide of the right post.

Jordan Pickford pulled off yet another spectacular save in the 29th minute as he just tipped Moussa Dembele’s chip over the bar with a diving fingertip save.

Tempers started to boil over in the second half as Fulham tried to grab an equaliser.

Ryan Fredericks was incensed with referee Graham Horwood when he waved away his penalty claim after he appeared to be tripped by Reach.

McCormack went down under pressure from Clarke on the edge of the box but the referee waved away his appeal. When Clarke tired to pick McCormack up off the floor he reacted angrily and a flurry of players gathered around. James Husband appeared to push Clarke to the floor and he was booked.

The referee’s decisions rattled the home faithful and the feisty crowd were angered even more as they felt Gallagher deserved a red card for fouling play maker Cairney. But Horwood made the right call and produced a yellow despite the pressure from the stands.

Fredericks was brought down by Alan Browne just outside the box and the Fulham fans ironically jumped in delight when the referee awarded the free-kick. Browne was booked for his troubles and Cairney’s subsequent set-piece just flew over the bar.

Substitute Welsh handled the ball just outside the box on the right as he slid on the ground and Fulham equalised from the free-kick. McCormack came at the ball from the left and just squeezed the ball into the top corner in the 77th minute.

North End fought back as substitute Will Keane’s cross across goal was met by Browne but his effort was blocked by a defender and Welsh fired over as North End pushed for a winner.

Substitute Stevie May was stretchered off just minutes after entering the fray. Stearman took man and ball as he made a clearance in stoppage time and May did not get up from the challenge. He was carried off to a round of applause from both sets of fans and the referee blew the whistle soon after.

PNE: Pickford, Vermijl, Clarke, Huntington, Cunningham, Reach (May, 90), Johnson, Browne, Gallagher (Welsh, 74), Garner, Doyle (Keane, 74). Subs not used: Kirkland, Davies, Hugill, Kilkenny.

Fulham: Lewis, Fredericks, Stearman, Ream, Husband (Pringle, 89), Parker (Smith, 74), O’Hara, Kavanagh, Cairney, McCormack, Dembele. Subs not used: Rodak, Garbutt, P Hutchinson, Voser, Woodrow.

Referee: Graham Horwood (Luton)

Attendance 17362 (PNE 1933)