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Aug 30, 2014

Wait for win goes on for Fulham

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Fulham's wait for a first Sky Bet Championship win continued on Saturday as Cardiff secured a point to keep the pressure on controversial manager Felix Magath.

Life has proved tough for the west Londoners as they attempt to adapt to the second tier after 13 years of Premier League football.

It had looked like a first win of the season could be on the cards when Tim Hoogland capped an impressive first-half display by nodding Fulham ahead, only for Kenwyne Jones to secure a rejuvenated Cardiff a 1-1 draw, putting Magath's position under further scrutiny.

On the eve of the game former chairman Mohamed Al Fayed had ratcheted up the pressure by labelling the German boss an "odd man", while also taking a swipe at "absent landlord" Shahid Khan.

The Fulham owner has so far stuck with Magath, despite four successive league defeats, and may well point at their first-half performance for the reason behind that backing, with Hoogland' header giving the hosts a deserved lead.

However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side were much improved after the break and earned a deserved point as Jones fired home to the Craven Cottage faithful's audible frustration.

This was a match the Whites came into boosted by a timely 1-0 win in the Capital One Cup at neighbours Brentford, a display in which Marcus Bettinelli and Dan Burn impressed enough to earn their first league starts of the campaign.

Scott Parker was replaced at halfway through Tuesday's win at Griffin Park and overcame a knock to start on Saturday, firing inches wide from 20 yards just three minutes into the game.

Ross McCormack curled wide a first-time effort shortly afterwards, while a mis-hit Fabio drive was the best the visitors could muster, given Kostas Stafylidis had coolly denied Jones a goal-scoring opportunity.

Fulham were well on top, though, and were rewarded for their best performance of the season in the 22nd minute. Parker played the ball wide to McCormack on the left, with the forward's cross glanced across the goalkeeper by Hoogland.

McCormack hit a post direct from a corner five minutes later and Emerson Hyndman powered wide as the hosts upped the ante, with the impressive Chris David twice wasting free-kicks from decent positions.

Summer signing McCormack saw a shot deflected wide after a mazy run early in the second half before David Marshall denied Parker and then watched Cauley Woodrow scoop over.

The hosts were made to rue those missed chances in the 55th minute when Jones shrugged off his man to win a header and collected the return ball from Mats Daelhi to slot home.

The equaliser appeared to rattle Fulham and put the fans on edge, with their frustration going up a notch when McCormack had penalty claims for a tug by Sean Morrison waved away.

The B£11million striker and former England midfielder Parker were leading the charge, although play became stretched as they desperately searched for a winner.

Marshall had to scramble across his goal to turn away a deflected Hoogland effort that looked like it could be sneaking in, with the final whistle met by boos from pockets of Fulham fans.

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