Inspired goalkeeper denies Leeds from securing victory at the Cottage Mark October 23, 2015 Leeds United In the aftermath of Uwe Rosler’s shock departure from the club and wondering what the future holds amidst the sort of turbulence that we started to believe was behind us, it was easy to forget that Leeds had a mid-week trip to Fulham to contend with. Not many knew what to expect from Steve Evans given he only walked through the door two days before the journey to Craven Cottage, but he certainly got a reaction from the players. Any lingering doubts could be quickly forgotten if the team continue to show the same passion and determination that saw them return from London with a point, although it could have easily been all three if it were not for an inspired performance from Joe Lewis in the Fulham goal. It was difficult to know what to expect from Leeds given the appointment of our sixth manager in the eighteen month period that Massimo Cellino has overseen as an owner set out to cause chaos and controversy at every possible opportunity. Evans may have followed suit like all of his predecessors by failing to win their first game in charge, but although Fulham were never likely to roll out the red carpet and accommodate his promise of “winning and attacking football” in a game between two teams struggling at the wrong end of the table, there were plenty of positives to take from the result and the all-round performance. It may provide the solid foundations that Evans needs in his effort to make amends with the “blinkered seals” who may have been left feeling perplexed by his appointment, but while their view on the upcoming clash with rock-bottom Bolton on Saturday is different at betting sites like Betway.com, there was enough at Fulham to suggest that our new manager will at least instill much-needed passion and fight back into the team. The natural fear against Kit Symons’ side would be that the White turned up completely disorganised and unprepared considering the on-going circus at Elland Road, particularly following the 2-1 defeat to Brighton in which we were left to rue a series of missed chances. However, Leeds made a decent start to the game at Craven Cottage and gave as good as they got in the opening exchanges, until a moment of individual magic from Fulham’s highly-rated striker Moussa Dembele broke the deadlock against the run of play in the 23rd minute. The 19-year-old Frenchman darted between centre-back pairing Liam Cooper and Sol Bamba before angling a shot past Marco Silvestri at his near post; it was a superbly taken goal in all honesty, but the goalkeeper may look at himself for being beat from that angle. Given the number of outstanding saves and performances Silvestri has made for us since joining the club, we should not be too harsh on the lad. Fulham naturally smelt blood and went for a second that could have decided the game, but we showed the sort of fight, passion and resilience that fans have been crying out for from every player that puts on the white shirt. Leeds were never out of the game at any stage, and in the second half started to assert themselves by applying pressure further up the field. There was always the sense that we could grab an equaliser if we managed to take our chances for once, but Evans was literally given a helping hand by Dembele just past the hour mark when he went from hero to zero with a handball in the box which gave Chris Wood, who has probably been having nightmares over the glut of chances he missed against Brighton, the perfect opportunity to redeem himself. The big striker may have had kittens when he saw Lewis get both hands to his penalty, but the ball still managed to go in as parity was restored. From that moment onwards, Leeds took control and created a number of glorious chances. You would expect the next sentence to contain “did not take our chances” or something along those lines, but on this occasion we were denied what would have been a deserved victory by the heroics of Lewis who made a number of top drawer saves to single-handedly keep us at bay. It was no surprise that Symons praised his goalkeeper to the hilt in his post-match interview in which he also admitted that his team were lucky to escape with a point. Scant consolation for Leeds who did everything but break down the brick wall that was Lewis in the Fulham goal, but the result not only stops the rot of three straight league defeats, but also provides a lot of encouragement going forward under Evans. We still have no real indication what to expect under our new manager, and probably won’t until he gets his feet firmly under the door (if Cellino does not end up sacking him before Christmas, that is), but the fight and resilience that epitomised our performance at Fulham is certainly something to build on.