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Fulham drop points at Preston after controversial Ched Evans equaliser

Preston North End v Fulham – Sky Bet Championship – Deepdale
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

A controversial equaliser from substitute Ched Evans earned Preston a deserved 1-1 draw against Championship leaders Fulham.

Evans bundled home from close range with 18 minutes to go, but Fulham players protested vociferously as they believed a handball offence was committed just before the ball hit the net.

A draw was probably a fair outcome at the end of an entertaining clash which saw chances at both ends.

It was no real surprise to see pace-setters Fulham firmly on the offensive in the opening stages as they looked to return to winning ways following their midweek draw at rock-bottom Derby.

Tosin Adarabioyo planted an early header wide while there was an opportunity at the other end, only for Ben Whiteman to fire a free-kick straight at Fulham goalkeeper Marek Rodak.

The visitors continued to probe and they grabbed a breakthrough in the 15th minute.

It was a routine set-piece situation that brought the goal, with Jean Michael Seri curling in a low cross from a free-kick on the right and skipper Tim Ream darting to volley home from inside the six-yard box.

All the quality in possession was coming from Fulham and that was highlighted in the 25th minute when Preston striker Emil Riis struggled to direct his shot after meeting Whiteman’s smart pass.

Fulham then went close again when Adarabioyo volleyed off target after Aleksandar Mitrovic’s free-kick strike hit the defensive wall.

North End kept plugging away themselves and just past the half-hour mark both Riis and Whiteman forced Rodak into action.

By the end of the opening period, North End had impressively dragged themselves back into contention but Ream’s well-worked strike remained the difference.

The hosts continued their encouraging momentum at the start of the second period.

They almost levelled when Sean Maguire flicked Whiteman’s free-kick – awarded for Antonee Robinson’s crude challenge on Tom Barkhuizen – towards goal, only to be denied by Adarabioyo’s close-range block.

Riis then curled in an exquisite strike which was gathered by Rodak at the second attempt.

Fulham responded with Harry Wilson forcing Daniel Iversen into a decent save as the game continued to heat up.

North End again went close on the hour mark when Ali McCann drove a shot narrowly past the upright, as the Championship leaders were under the cosh.

Fulham’s attacks were becoming more and more sporadic, though Fabio Carvalho lashed in an angled effort which was not far off target.

Preston then grabbed their hotly disputed leveller in the 72nd minute as Evans bundled home Whiteman’s inswinging corner. However, the Fulham contingent appeared convinced that Riis had handled just before the ball reached the substitute.

Preston’s tails were up and skipper Alan Browne drove an angled effort just over the top, but neither side could find a late winner.

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