Premier League - Fulham end City's home run

Mon, 28 Feb 01:09:00 2011

Manchester City's winning ways on home turf came to an end as they drew 1-1 with Fulham in the Premier League at Eastlands.

Match Highlights:

It looked like business as usual for City, who had won seven home games in a row in all competitions, when Mario Ballotelli opened the scoring on 26 minutes, placing a fine right-footed effort beyond Mark Schwarzer.

But Fulham, managed by ex-City manager Mark Hughes, drew level early in the second-half when Damien Duff converted Andy Johnson's driven cross.

The hosts turned up the pressure after being pegged back and Ballotelli, Aleksandar Kolarov and Carlos Tevez all came close.

However, the Cottagers refused to sit back and defend throughout the game and had chances of their own to take all three points, with Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey racking up chances.

There were very few serious threats on goal from either side in the opening 45 minutes, but a Fulham side widely predicted to set up defensively at Eastlands surprised their opponents with confident possession in large spells.

Captain Danny Murphy fizzed a fine long-range effort inches over the bar halfway through the first period moments before Dembele had a shot on goal caught by Joe Hart after good work from Dempsey.

But their encouraging play was for nothing when Balotelli found sight of goal amidst a sea of white shirts keeping him just outside the Fulham box and curled neatly into the bottom right corner to break the deadlock.

The goal, somewhat against the run of play, subdued the away side for much of the first-half's remainder, but it took them just three minutes after the interval to draw level.

A great ball forward from an advanced Hangeland sent Johnson racing towards goal on the right-hand side of the City penalty area, and the forward selflessly picked out Duff with a ball to the far post.

The Irish winger blasted home from close range and Hughes's men were deservedly level.

City reacted to conceding better than their opponents had in the first half, however, and had several opportunities to retake the advantage.

But not before Johnson almost added a goal to his assist on 51 minutes, getting past Jerome Boateng at right-back before his weak shot at goal was easily collected by Hart.

The home side poured forward, particularly after Patrick Vieira replaced the anonymous Edin Dzeko, and both Balotelli and Tevez should have done better after finding space in the Fulham box.

Halfway through the second period, an otherwise error-laden performance from Kolarov peaked with a superb dipping shot from at least 30 yards, which had to be tipped over by Schwarzer before it could tuck itself just under the crossbar.

But despite a late goalmouth scramble that both Tevez and Boateng attempted to convert in an area packed with white shirts, the game petered out to its fairest conclusion with both sides taking a point.

It was a result which could well officially spell the end of any talk of Manchester City mounting a late title challenge, and a good away point for a side looking to continue their journey away from the bottom three.

Liam Happe / Eurosport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account