Aleksandar Mitrovic cancelled out Andre Gray's early opener as Fulham fought back to draw 1-1 with Watford in the Premier League on Saturday.
Having lost their 100 per cent record with defeat to Manchester United last time out, the visitors appeared to be on course to return to winning ways after Gray found the net just 87 seconds into the early kick-off.
Watford were unfortunate not to lead by more during a dominant first-half performance, with referee Martin Atkinson waving away strong shouts for a penalty after Alfie Mawson's ill-timed sliding challenge on Will Hughes.
However, Fulham improved after the break, their consistent pressure eventually rewarded when Mitrovic flicked home his fifth goal of the season from Luciano Vietto's low cross.
For the second time in as many games Fulham conceded inside two minutes, Hughes ending a brief spell of pinball on the edge of the home side's penalty area by teeing up Gray with a square pass.
The striker slotted the ball low beyond Marcus Bettinelli on that occasion but was unable to beat the goalkeeper when presented with another one-on-one opportunity later in the half set up by Mawson’s poorly judged header.
Fulham were also grateful to Ryan Sessegnon for inadvertently blocking Christian Kabasele’s on-target header when facing the wrong way, while Watford were also aggrieved by Atkinson's decision to merely book Timothy Fosu-Mensah for an awful tackle on Troy Deeney.
Slavisa Jokanovic - up against the club he led to promotion in 2015, only to leave before taking charge in the top flight - saw an improved display from Fulham in the second half, eventually leading to an equaliser.
The talismanic Mitrovic made no mistake from close range when picked out by Vietto but was denied a winner at the death, Ben Foster acrobatically tipping the Serbia striker’s header against the woodwork.
What it means: Jekyll and Hyde sides entertain
Javi Gracia picked the same starting XI for a sixth successive league outing, showing faith in the players who started against United. His reward was an excellent first-half performance that deserved more than a one-goal advantage.
However, the script was flipped after the break. The high press from the Hornets disappeared as Fulham seized control, overcoming a shocking opening 45 minutes to make sure they avoided defeat in their 500th Premier League fixture.
Mitro still on fire
Are you watching, Rafa Benitez? Mitrovic’s tally of five goals is one more than Newcastle United’s entire squad have managed in the league prior to their clash with Crystal Palace.
Having failed to hit the target with a header early in the second half when meeting a cross from Fulham’s right, the frontman was in the ideal place to turn home Vietto’s centre from the opposite flank with 12 minutes remaining.
No case for Fulham's defence
The Premier League’s most porous defence prior to kick-off only conceded once in the persistent rain yet looked capable of shipping plenty more throughout the opening half.
Mawson had a nightmare home debut, the centre-back – signed for a fee reported to be in the region of £15million from relegated Swansea City – picked up an unwanted yellow card to mark the occasion but somehow avoided giving away a spot-kick before being subbed at the interval. Do Fulham still have the receipt?
Key Opta stats:
17 - Since his debut for Fulham in Feb 2018, Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored more league goals across the top four tiers of English Football than any other player (17). Fire. pic.twitter.com/lXgAsRZs3H— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 22, 2018
- Watford became just the fifth team to start each of their first six games of a Premier League season with the same starting XI (also Leeds 92/93, Tottenham 94/95, Liverpool 96/97 and Aston Villa 08/09).
- Fulham have lost just one of their last 19 home league games, including play-offs (W14 D4).
- Watford are without a win on their last nine Premier League visits to London, with their draw against Fulham coming after eight consecutive defeats.
- Watford striker Andre Gray has netted four goals in his last three league games against Fulham.
- Gray’s strike for Watford, timed at one minute, 27 seconds was the quickest goal in the Premier League since March 10th 2018 (Kenedy for Newcastle v Southampton, 1:03)
- Gray's goal was also Watford's second quickest goal in the Premier League after Etienne Capoue against Leicester in November 2016 (32 seconds).
After an EFL Cup fixture at Millwall in midweek, Fulham's next league outing sees them travel to Merseyside to take on Everton. Watford, meanwhile, have tricky games against Tottenham - in the cup - and Arsenal coming up.
|Liverpool´s display against Manchester United one of the best, claims Klopp|
|Look away Jose! Damning stats expose Manchester United´s limp Liverpool loss|
|Time´s up, Mourinho: Manchester United can dither no longer|
|Manchester United´s players are not dishonest – Mourinho|
|Manchester United´s lack of ambition under Mourinho is scary – Keane|
|Mourinho: All Manchester United can achieve is fourth|
|Quagliarella should be protected by UNESCO, jokes Sampdoria coach|
|Manchester United surpass last season´s goals-against tally in first 17 games|
|Hasenhuttl revels in ´unbelievable´ victory over Arsenal|
|Liverpool 3 Manchester United 1: Shaqiri´s late show bails out Alisson as Reds return to the top|
|Edinburgh in control in Champions Cup, Racing win again|
|Emery ponders January signing after Bellerin injury|
|It is only a knock – Sarri plays down Hazard injury fears|
|Redskins QB Alex Smith released from hospital|
|Starc: If I listen to Warne, I may as well retire|
|Curry interviews retired NASA astronaut, apologises for moon comments|
|Hazard refusing to give up on Premier League title hopes|
|Ziyech & Blind score hat-tricks as Ajax claim 8-0 win|
|Canelo v Fielding: What next for three-weight champion Alvarez?|
|Southampton 3 Arsenal 2: Austin and Ings end Gunners´ long unbeaten run|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 1 Chelsea 2: Sensational Hazard proves the difference|
|Pogba on the bench as Clyne starts for Liverpool|
|Lipsky ends long barren spell in Malelane|
|Lakers´ Stephenson to repeat air guitar despite technical|
|Fletcher pushed Miller on to Broncos sack record|
|The Sarri effect: Hazard surpasses 2017-18 goal involvements in just 16 games|
|Van der Burgh retires on a high note with breaststroke double|
|Rashford: Liverpool was never an option|
|No team Liverpool play this season will be as motivated as Man United – Klopp|
|India surprised by contentious Kohli decision - Bumrah|
|The Sunday Seven - 7 Key Opta facts for NFL Week 15|
|Miller eyeing Joshua bout at Madison Square Garden|
|Finch cleared of serious damage after another finger blow|
|Rashford ´untouchable´ because he plays on his limits – Mourinho|
|It´s important to have his mentality - Mayfield thrilled with Kobe Bryant visit as Browns beat Bronc|
|Centurion Latham indebted to ´world-class´ Williamson|
|Spurs´ Dier out until January after appendix removal|
|A-League Review: Glory down Jets to stay unbeaten|
|Philander ruled out of first Test|
|Controversial Kohli dismissal puts Australia in command|
|Thunder´s Westbrook: ´When we defend like that — best team in the league´|
|Kante at his best further forward, reiterates Sarri|
|Rose capitulates in Indonesia to squander chance to top rankings|
|Fielding: The better man won but I lived a dream|
|Rallying Bulls stun Spurs, LeBron and Ball post triple-doubles|
|Latham century puts New Zealand in commanding position|
|Mayfield leads Browns past Broncos|
|Canelo-GGG trilogy? We can make it happen – Alvarez|
|Canelo outclasses Fielding by third-round TKO|
|Farmer retains title prior to Canelo-Fielding bout|
|Qatar unveils Lusail Stadium for 2022 World Cup|
|Lakers pair LeBron, Ball revel in triple-double feat|
|Allegri hails ´great professional´ Ronaldo|
|LeBron, Ball first Lakers team-mates with triple-doubles in same game since 1982|
|Premier League contenders Liverpool ready to win titles – Henderson|
|Hopkins´ two TDs help Texans close in on AFC South title with win over Jets|
|Courtois: Simeone criticises Real Madrid to boost popularity|
|Mourinho in the dark over transfers as Pogba rumours swirl again|
|Mourinho marvels at Salah going nuclear|
|The lucky ones - Mourinho assesses Liverpool´s title charge|
|Juventus boss Allegri turned his back on Ronaldo penalty|
|Dickerson hoping Barkley falls short of breaking his records|
|Bristol shock La Rochelle, Clermont win again|
|LeBron: Meeting Jordan for first time was godly|
|Ronaldo scores Juventus´ 5,000th Serie A goal|
|I was all over the place - Allen reaches Scottish Open final despite hangovers|
|Solari defends wasteful Asensio after slim Madrid win|
|Torino 0 Juventus 1: Ronaldo capitalises on Zaza woe|
|I do my work on the pitch – Icardi unconcerned by Inter contract discussions|
|Lyon defender Rafael set for three months out|