18:43 14th September 2013
Boss hails players' character in Cottage draw
STEVE Clarke hailed his players for bouncing back from their ‘disappointing’ Swansea performance by snatching a well-earned point at Fulham.
Steve Sidwell pounced on a loose ball from a corner to notch in the 22nd minute and give the hosts a half-time lead.
The Baggies pressed hard after the break and debutant Victor Anichebe and Nicolas Anelka missed golden chances to level.
Bryan Ruiz gave Albion a scare on 83 when he struck the bar but Gareth McAuley – fresh from two goals in as many internationals for Northern Ireland – produced a towering header to equalise in the second minute of stoppage time with the visitors' first league goal of the campaign.
Clarke said: “Gareth’s on a good goalscoring run!
“It was a really important goal for us.
“I wasn’t fearful it wouldn’t come for us. I thought we played well today, better than the last performance.
“The last performance at home was disappointing, we didn’t create enough.
“I thought today we were comfortable in the game.
“When things are going against you, you get the set-back – and the goal came from nothing, a set-play, sloppy marking.
“That rocked us a little bit towards the end of the first half.
“I thought in the second half we were good, played good football and created some really good chances that on another day become goals.
“The belief and character of the players to keep chasing the game and get the goal in injury time was great.
“It shows you the character of the group of players I have.”