Sky Bet Championship: Fulham held to a 1-1 draw by Birmingham City
Last Updated: 08/02/15 5:07pm
Two goals early in the first half saw Fulham and Birmingham share the spoils in an evenly-matched 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage.
Fulham striker Hugo Rodallega opened the scoring after four minutes with a well-taken strike to claim his 11th goal of the season.
Birmingham, who were beaten 2-1 by Fulham at St Andrews in September, soon hit back to level the scores when winger David Cotterill curled in a 15th-minute free-kick wide from the left that deceived everyone and nestled into the top corner.
The point will do little for either teams' outside chances of reaching the play-offs. Gary Rowett's Birmingham remain in 11th place on 38 points while Fulham are three points behind in 16th, a distant 15 points off Watford who currently occupy the final play-off spot.
Fulham had won three of the last four meetings between the two sides and it took just four minutes for them to take the lead.
Skipper Ross McCormack, an £11million signing from Watford, found Lasse Vigen Christensen with a clever pass. The Danish Under-21 international threaded an accurate through ball to Rodallega, who expertly fired a low shot beyond Birmingham's Darren Randolph.
Birmingham's last defeat on the road was a 1-0 loss at Blackpool in the Championship on December and they soon looked to force their way back in the game.
On seven minutes Fulham's Marcus Bettinelli reacted sharply to keep out Cotterill's curling effort direct from a corner.
Bettinelli could do nothing, however, to prevent Cotterill's equaliser on 15 minutes. With everyone expecting a cross, the Birmingham winger whipped in a free-kick from the left and the ball flew into the top corner to level the scores.
Birmingham are unbeaten in their last five away games and were the brighter team for the remainder of the first half.
Clayton Donaldson missed an absolute sitter from 10 yards while the lively Cotterill forced a fine save from Bettinelli following Lloyd Dyer's low cross from the left.
Striker Donaldson, who has 11 goals this season, was not at his clinical best on his 31st birthday and in first half stoppage time he missed his second clear-cut chance as he nodded a close-range header wide from Cotterill's cross.
Fulham were brighter after the interval and for the first time since their early goal they pressed forward.
On 55 minutes Randolph was down well to divert Rodallega's powerful near-post effort while the impressive Seko Fofana grazed the outside of the post with a powerful low shot from 20 yards.
McCormack narrowly failed to connect to Alexander Kacaniklic's scuffed effort after a swift counter and Fofana was once again inches wide with another drive from the edge of the box.
It proved the closest either side would come to claiming the victory.