Fulham 0 Everton 0: Toffees take home point but still fall into drop zone

On a difficult and controversial night at Craven Cottage the Blues secured a 0-0 draw but Luton's win meant they finished the day in the relegation places.
Fulham FC v Everton FC - Premier League
Fulham FC v Everton FC - Premier League / Gaspafotos/MB Media/GettyImages

Everton battled hard with a makeshift side as Sean Dyche had to cope with several long-term injuries and then lost yet another midfielder as Amadou Onana was unable to play.

Onana's injury was the latest in a string of midfielders to be absent with Abdoulaye Doucoure and Andre Gomes out hurt and Idrissa Gueye still away on international duty. It leaves the manager with precious few options in the centre of the pitch.

But perhaps the biggest issue last nght and one that yet again marred and overshadowed an Everton match, was that old adversary VAR.

In the first half an Ashley Young free-kick rebounded off the bar via James Tarkowski and the ball hit Fulham left-back and ironically former Toffees youth team product Antonee Robinson, on the hand.

It looked a perfectly good shout but the penalty wasn't given by referee Thomas Bramall and after a VAR review the decision was not to overrule him.

Once again the Blues were denied a penalty and remain the only Premier League club that has yet to be awarded a spot kick this season.

That statistic won't surprise any Evertonian but it just underlines for the umpteenth time the questionable interpretation of the rules, once more to the Toffees detriment.

As the Liverpool Echo summarise there have been numerous moments in the past few weeks and months when decisions over what are basically identical situations, particularly around penalty shouts, have been interpreted differently when the Blues are involved.

It is getting to be a running joke that something like this will happen in every game Everton play. Such a situation recently promoted a supporters group to write an open letter to the referees body protesting this state of affairs.

As I've said before I really don't know what the club can do as these decisions are out of their hands and I suppose all the manager and players can do is keep focusing on their football.

But, given how many of these situations keep going against the Toffees on top of the November points deduction and the prospect potentially of another one, it really does seem like the club is fighting the whole world at times!

This was another away match where the Blues had to dig in and work hard, especially in the second half when the hosts were very much on top.

Everton had a few chances in the opening period, particularly Jack Harrison who should have scored after a minute or two.

On top of that Dominic Calvert-Lewin again couldn't break his goal drought, hitting the crossbar when he really should have finished it.

And then Beto after he came on somehow maanged to head over when it was so much easier to pop it in the back of the net.

Then with a few minutes left Beto again and Ben Godfrey had great opportinties to nick it and grab the points but couldn't do so.

Once again the dreadful lack of finishing is proving so costly and although Everton did keep another clean sheet with a great save from Jordan Pickford ensuring it was so, this team and manager simply must find a way to score goals and very soon.

I wrote in my match preview that I felt this next run of games could prove pivitol to how the campaign turns out with the Blues having to find ways to get points without key players such as Doucoure.

A point at Fulham is not bad but it might have been all three and with Luton battering Brighton 4-0 those two dropped points proved extra costly as the Toffees slipped back into the drop zone.

Next comes Tottenham at Goodison Park and it is now a match that really needs to be won. No easy task that is for sure and given the team's poor form at home it looks a really tough ask.