A goalless draw is rarely an occasion to celebrate but it is when it’s your first clean sheet of the season so we were all delighted that the boys returned from Newcastle with a point and no goals conceded.
Not that our defence was totally secure. In coming out for a cross that was clearly Alfie Mawson’s, keeper Sergio Rico’s fists all but knocked out his central defender; Newcastle might have had a penalty and their excellent defender Lascelles had a free header at a corner.
The 5 at the back of Fulham worked better. Dennis Odoi who is not secure at right back or in the centre of a four looked more comfortable in a back three. Crucially the opposition did not find space so easy to find in our box.
Callum Chambers for example in screening the defence no longer gets as far forward to generate chances on goals.
I predict that our next two key home games against Wolves on Boxing Day and Huddersfield next Saturday will be low scoring affairs.
Fulham had their chances too and in a poor game justifying its last billing on Match of the Day we were denied a penalty in a late melee.
We need his lethal finishing at pace. It’s goalscoring that separates Fulham from the other three present relegation contenders: Burnley, Cardiff and Huddersfield.
When John Pargiter called for some tips I advised him to bet against Newcastle. Fulham have a good record at St James, last winning there comfortably 3-1 in Newcastle ‘s promotion season from the Championship.
A young lad called Ray Houghton scored for us with a 35 yard lob. Whatever happened to him?
The next few games may well define Fulham‘s season.