LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 01: Roy Hodgson the West Bromwich Albion manager acknowledges the crowd before the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and West Bromwich Albion at Craven Cottage on February 1, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
The post Bobby Zamora era of Fulham promised so little and offered just as much. Clint Dempsey was almost, yet again, the saviour here, but his solitary goal was not enough to defeat West Bromwich Albion as Roy Hodgson's men lumbered back into the game and embezzled a draw from our less-than-firm grasp.
Fulham played decently throughout, their insistence to play neat, passing football straight from the back line being an irritable but still somewhat pleasant representation of the fact. Martin Jol's men pressed well but West Brom always had a foot in the door and the back four of Kelly, Hangeland, Senderos and Riise didn't look as composed as they arguably should be. That proved to be our downfall too, and Hodgson will leave SW6, not for the first time, with a positive experience behind him. Jol, meanwhile, left to a chorus of boos.
Hodgson was received well by the home crowd as he made way to his seat, while Simon Davies took his place in the starting eleven for the first time in a long while. The Welshman put in a good shift and made up well for lost time but, ultimately, without an out-and-out striker on the pitch, Fulham were lacking sufficient edge to bypass a restrictive West Brom side.
Steve Sidwell set the scene early on, trying his luck from 25 yards and firing wide before Dempsey paraded his way into the Baggies' area before being halted at the last moment.
The visitors then responded to Fulham's early dominance, James Morrison forcing David Stockdale into a save, but it was Dempsey and the home side who then had the ball in the net. The American was set free and fired neatly past Ben Foster, yet his goal was ruled rightfully offside.
Odemwingie put himself in a good position after out-manoeuvring an attentive Stephen Kelly, but hit his shot over the bar to the relief of home fans. Fulham were arguably on top but it seemed that West Brom were carving open the better opportunities as Youssouf Mulumbu and Marc-Antoine Fortune followed up Odemwingie's miss with efforts on goal.
The deadlock remained and the second half began with the game in the balance. Danny Murphy was given plenty of room in the middle of the park and, as such, was spraying fine passes around all evening. Jol made no substitutions in the match, so the skipper lasted the full ninety minutes and was influential with his display.
No amount creativity was ever going to prove its worth without a goal, though, and Fulham's lack of potency was becoming a worry. Despite dominating possession, Fortune had another good opportunity for the away side and the game appeared to be slipping away from the Whites.
Along came Dempsey to save the day, though, with a goal to add to his already abundant tally of 15 this season. Bryan Ruiz was the man whom Jol opted to play as striker, but while the Costa Rican had a good game, Dempsey always looked the most like scoring. The Texas-born midfielder finished accurately across Ben Foster after being fed through wondrously by Ruiz, and all that was needed was some defensive resilience from the Cottagers to see out the tie.
Hodgson took some initiative, replacing Simon Cox with Somen Tchoyi. Almost as if to cement his omnipotence in the eyes of Fulham fans, his change was telling. Tchoyi pegged Fulham back with a well placed shot across goal that Stockdale couldn't reach. Only eight minutes remained and there was a strong sense around Craven Cottage that that wouldn't be enough time to pluck a goal from the air.
As much was proven, but Jol took the large brunt of the anger. He failed to make any attempt to swing the game back in our favour, Kerim Frei and the like remaining on the bench.
It's not quite the way we wanted to get over Zamora and Hodgson proved yet again that we've not really moved on from him. A night for reminiscing, then.