A superb late strike by substitute Muamer Tankovic earned Fulham Under-21s a 1-1 draw against Everton at Southport's Merseyrail Community Stadium on Monday night.
After Shane Duffy had put Everton in front just before the hour mark, Tankovic stepped off the bench to level matters with just 11 minutes remaining.
Apostolos Vellios had gone close to giving league leaders Everton the lead early on, but his header from Luke Garbutt’s cross flew just wide.
Fulham’s first effort of note came just before the half-hour mark but Ryan Williams’ shot was saved by Mason Springthorpe. Chris David then sent a free-kick whistling inches over seconds prior to the interval.
Fulham went even closer five minutes into the second half when Williams’ effort clipped the post after Everton had failed to clear their lines.
But five minutes later it was the Toffees who were in front, Duffy meeting Garbutt’s floated delivery to head home at the far post.
Duffy went close three minutes later in similar circumstances, while, at the other end, Springthorpe saved bravely at the feet of Lasse Vigen Christensen.
The Whites deservedly levelled matters on 79 minutes, though, when Tankovic curled a brilliant effort past Springthorpe.
Fulham’s joy was very nearly short-lived – John Stones nodded just wide, before Duffy saw a long-range drive cannon back off the crossbar having collected a loose ball and drove forward.
But the Whites held on to earn an excellent point, setting themselves up nicely for the visit of Middlesbrough to Motspur Park on Thursday evening (7pm).
Under-21s boss Kit Symons told the official website: “Overall I’m reasonably pleased with a point but I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t win it to be honest. We played quite well in difficult conditions; the pitch was dry and bobbly. But we worked hard to do the right things and played some very good football at times. We lacked a bit of a cutting edge at times but we created some good opportunities.
“I thought we were on top throughout the second half and their goal came against the run of play. It was a free-kick wide on the right and the big centre-half Duffy got a touch in front of Stephen Arthurworrey and it just trickled into the net.
“So it was a disappointing goal to give away at a time when we were on top but we kept going, kept playing and Tank came on and scored a very good goal for us.”
Fulham: Joronen, Passley, Kavanagh, Christensen, Arthurworrey, Grimmer, Altman, Minkwitz, Woodrow, David, Williams.