The first half proved a microcosm of what has been a dispiriting season for the West London club with occasional incisive build-up play brought to a shuddering halt by indifferent finishing. Hugo Rodallega was particularly culpable having missed a gilt-edged effort with a near open goal before slicing well wide when presented with a decent opportunity.
Dwight Gayle, in contrast, showed the instincts of a predator to turn Joel Ward’s shot home with 28 minutes gone and, while Fulham showed improvement as the half drew to a close, Palace went to the interval with the advantage.
Cauley Woodrow’s wonderful second half-finish will have given Fulham fans some hope in the Championship next season but the home side failed to take the initiative following his strike as the game descended into a lull.
With both sides happy to sit deep it looked like a moment of brilliance from Gayle would settle a drab affair, but a quite brilliant last-minute strike from David ensured a draw and offered a further glimmer of hope for Fulham after a poor season.
3 - EARLY CHANCE: Ince cuts inside and looks to whip one inside the far post from just outside the box but he fails to get the required curl and it flies just inches wide.
9 - BOLASIE FIRES WIDE: Jedinak wins a 50-50 in the middle of the pitch and feeds Gayle. Gayle goes down under the challenge of Zverotic on the edge but the ball finds its way to Bolasie. Bolasie turns this way and that in the box before trashing an effort wide.
25 - RODALLEGA MISS: Woodrow looks quite the player and he makes some space after exchanging passes with David but Rodallega makes an absolute mess of a near open goal and the chance has gone.
28’ – GOAL! Fulham half-clear a corner. Bolasie finds Ward and his shot from the edge is flicked in by Gayle. Simple goal – terrible defending.
61 – SUPER GOAL: Rodallega collects the ball inside the box and finds Woodrow, who comes back on himself before slotting an effort into the far post.
83 – SUPER FREE-KICK: What a strike! Gayle bends the free-kick around the wall from 30 yards out and inside the post.
89 – MISS: Murray finds Puncheon who breaks at pace, he cuts inside the Fulham defence inside the box and feeds Murray but his effort comes back off the bar and hits Gayle before going wide.
90+3 - GOAL! What a strike. Chris David picks the ball up on the right and lashes am effort into the far corner. They are going down but what a way to sign off from the Premier League.
Fulham have become the first side to concede the first goal on 26 or more occasions in a Premier League season since Bolton (27) and Wolves (26) both did so in 2011/12.
Dwight Gayle has netted his first away goal since scoring in the 1-0 win at Aston Villa on December 26.
Fulham’s Chris David becomes the 39th player they have used in this campaign, extending their Premier League record (previous was Middlesbrough’s 37 in 2005/06).
Fulham have drawn successive home matches for the first time since four in a row, May-Sept 2011.
Crystal Palace have won just two of the last 21 League meetings between these sides (all divisions) (10 draws, nine defeats).
Can Fulham come straight back up? It is going to be tough – it always is to come straight back up but in Felix Magath Fulham might just have the right man. He has already started to blood some youngsters and a fresh outlook with young legs may very well serve them well in the second tier.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Dwight Gayle (Crystal Palace): Two great goals but very different at the same time – a poacher’s strike followed up with a sumptuous free-kick. Having taken this year to settle in the league, he could become quite the potent forward next year.
Fulham: Stockdale 5, Zverotic 5, Heitinga 4, Hangeland 5, Amorebieta 4, Kacaniklic 4, Sidwell 5, Parker 5, Richardson 5, Rodallega 5, Woodrow 6. Subs: Tunnicliffe 5, Dejagah 5, David 6.
Crystal Palace: Hennessey 6, Mariappa 6, Dann 6, Delaney 6, Ward 6, Bolasie 7, Jedinak 6, Ledley 6, Ince 6, Chamakh 6, Gayle 8. Subs: Dikgacoi 5, Puncheon 5, Murray 5.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Chris David
- Premier League
- Crystal Palace
- Dwight Gayle
- Hugo Rodallega