Fulham 0 Everton 0: Hosts up to seventh after thrilling Craven Cottage clash somehow fails to produce a goal

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JORDAN PICKFORD showed why he is going to Qatar as England’s number one – as he denied Fulham chief Marco Silva a revenge win over his old team.

Cottagers chief Silva was coming up against Everton for the first time since being sacked as Goodison boss after 18 months in December 2019.

But despite peppering the Toffees goal at the start of both halves, Silva’s Fulham side could not find a way past Pickford as they were forced to settle for a point.

And while Frank Lampard was convinced Aleksandar Mitrovic should have seen red for a first half clash with Idrissa Gueye, the Everton gaffer would have known Pickford was the man to thank for his team’s draw. 

Pickford’s status as World Cup first choice had been strengthened this term, although Gareth Southgate was up on Tyneside checking out Nick Pope ahead of his squad announcement.

But back in the capital, the England manager’s first choice was in spectacular form.

Three saves in the space of barely 90 seconds – all inside the first 10 minutes – were testament to Pickford’s athleticism and reactions, the type of stops that will make such a difference when the desert heat is on next month.

The first, high to his left, denied Willian after the Brazilian – by far the best player on the park – was allowed to spin and strike from 12 yards.

It was a top class effort and when the resulting corner was met by Aleksander Mitrovic’s forehead, Pickford produced a flying leap to divert away from the top corner.

But Pickford was not finished there, equal to the task once again from the resulting set-piece as Harrison Reed aimed for the postage stamp.

There were no histrionics from Pickford either. Perhaps he is appreciating the virtue of calmness but it was terrific stuff.

Not that Everton were without chances of their own in a match that was better than the scoreline suggests.

Demarai Gray’s early rising drive was thwarted by Bernd Leno before a clever touch by Amadou Onana and pass out wide by Alex Iwobi should have brought the opener.

Gray delivered in front of goal but while the ball brushed Dominic Calvert Lewin’s shin, he could neither divert into the net or into Anthony Gordon’s path. A real chance squandered.

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