Crystal Palace’s Joel Ward frustrates Fulham and two-goal Mitrovic | Premier League
Joel Ward’s late equaliser ensured the points were split as Crystal Palace salvaged a draw. Odsonne Édouard opened the scoring for the visitors in the first half but Aleksandar Mitrovic’s spot‑kick in stoppage time ensured the sides were level at the break.
The Serbia striker, who had returned to Fulham’s starting lineup for the first time since his eight-match ban, looked to have secured a comeback win when he fired in his 14th of the season.
Fulham were denied a final home victory of the campaign, however, when Ward levelled from his own rebound.
Roy Hodgson was without the services of Wilfried Zaha, who is out of contract at the end of this season, after aggravating an injury last time out.
The Palace defender Joachim Andersen collided with Mitrovic soon after kick-off, leading to a bloody nose for the striker who was deemed fit to continue after swapping for a blank shirt.
Kenny Tete lifted a cross well above the woodwork and his side failed to make anything of two free-kicks, both from dangerous positions, as the first period ticked past its halfway point.
Palace remained in search of their first shot after João Palhinha’s well‑timed tackle broke up Eberechi Eze’s threatening run, while Issa Diop’s clearance ended a scramble from Jordan Ayew’s cross at the back post.
Although Fulham seemed likelier to break the deadlock it was the visitors who took the lead on 34 minutes. Eze’s lovely through ball to Édouard, starting in place of the injured Zaha, set up the opener, the Frenchman clipping the underside of the crossbar as he finished.
Palace looked to be taking a 1-0 lead into the break before Tyrick Mitchell was punished for fouling Harry Wilson in added time and the referee pointed to the spot. Mitrovic stepped up and gave Sam Johnstone no chance as he fired in the equaliser.
Mitrovic somehow failed to give Fulham the lead at the start of the second half, collecting Harrison Reed’s cross at the left post but sending his effort from six yards out wide before Willian’s shot was picked out of the air by Johnstone.
Fulham took the lead through Mitrovic in the 61st minute when he nodded Willian’s free kick past Johnstone.
It took a fine save from the Palace keeper to ensure his side did not fall further behind when he just managed to tip Willian’s curled effort over the bar.
Everything looked to be going Fulham’s way until Palace won a free kick. Michael Olise’s initial delivery bounced around the area before landing at the feet of Ward. Leno stopped the initial effort, but the Palace captain was alert to the rebound to equalise seven minutes from time.