QPR 1-1 Fulham: Chris Martin levels late on for Cottagers
By Simeon Gholam
Last Updated: 21/01/17 8:25pm
Chris Martin scored a late equaliser as Fulham came back to draw 1-1 at QPR in the Sky Bet Championship at Loftus Road.
Martin had seen an early penalty saved, but netted from close range 14 minutes from time in the west London derby as he continued his path to redemption at Fulham.
Ryan Manning had put QPR in front in the first half on Saturday, but the Cottagers battled back to claim a deserved point.
Slavisa Jokanovic's side did, however, miss the chance to close to within three points of the play-off places, instead leaving themselves five behind Sheffield Wednesday in sixth.
QPR started the brighter but it was Fulham who were presented with an early opportunity to take the lead. In their first attack of the game, Sone Aluko was bundled over by Jake Bidwell in the box and referee Keith Stroud pointed to the spot on the advice of his linesman - despite it looking very soft.
Ian Holloway's side will feel justice was served, however, as Smithies kept up his remarkable penalty-saving form, diving low to his right to deny Martin and keep out his sixth spot-kick from 10 between the sticks for QPR. It was also the third he had saved against Fulham this season, after denying them twice from the spot at Craven Cottage in the reverse fixture.
Despite the setback, Fulham dominated most of the half, but found it very difficult to break down a resilient QPR side. A mistake at the back then allowed the Holloway's men to score the opener as Kevin McDonald's loose pass simply fed Manning in on goal, who charged to the edge of the area before slotting past David Button.
The 20-year-old Irishman has made a big impact at QPR since being handed his debut on New Year's Eve. His sublime pass created Jamie Mackie's winner against Reading last time out, and here he netted his first goal a day after signing a contract extension with the club.
QPR were presented with a glorious opportunity to double their lead after 53 minutes as Nedum Onuoha rose highest in the box to get his head on a free-kick, but could only nod over the bar - albeit from an offside position.
And eight minutes later the home side did have the ball in the back of the net, but it was rightly ruled out as Idrissa Sylla put it in with his hand.
Fulham then stepped it up a notch in search of the equaliser, and they finally pulled themselves level in the 76th minute via Martin, who deftly flicked a Tom Cairney strike from the edge of the area into the bottom corner to make up for his earlier penalty miss.
QPR eventually held on for a point, though, that stretches their unbeaten league run to four games.
QPR boss Ian Holloway:
"Luckily for me my goalkeeper saved the penalty but it's still hard to believe it was given. I could clearly see it wasn't a penalty..
"After that, things happened that you would expect to be controlled by the officials. It was all, 'What's going on here?'
"I thought the referee lost control of the situation. I'm not sure who started it. There was a bit of a ruck and for once I wasn't involved.
Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic:
At this moment we are not clinical enough. This is not news - it is a characteristic of my team. But I am really proud of my players. They push really hard and we are working really well.
"We came here with the intention to win the game, but at the beginning we made a few important mistakes, missing a penalty."