After 9 months out, Robbie Brady makes long-awaited debut in top-of-the-table clash

After 9 months out, Robbie Brady makes long-awaited debut in top-of-the-table clash
© Alamy Stock Photo Robbie Brady file pic .

ROBBIE BRADY was a late substitute as Bournemouth drew 1-1 with Fulham in the Championship tonight.

It was the Dubliner’s first senior appearance since featuring in Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Qatar on 30 March and first at club level since coming off the bench in Burnley’s 2-1 win over Everton on 13 March.

Brady was released by the Clarets at the end of last season and joined Bournemouth in October following a lengthy spell without a club.

Since then, the Irish star has been gradually recovering his fitness, having not started at club level since Burnley’s 2-0 defeat by Chelsea on 31 January.

An 88th-minute introduction meant Brady scarcely had time to make an impact, however another Irish international had a big influence on proceedings.

22-year-old Mark Travers enhanced his reputation as one of Ireland’s most promising youngsters, making a string of good saves to help earn his side a hard-fought point.

Meanwhile, Ireland U21 international Gavin Kilkenny, who has impressed with the Cherries at times this season, was an unused sub on the night.

Tosin Adarabioyo headed home a late equaliser to keep Fulham at the Championship summit at home to their automatic-promotion rivals.

Dominic Solanke’s Cherries goal just seconds into the start of the second half looked like sending Scott Parker’s visitors top of the table on his first return to Fulham since stepping down as their manager in June.

But defender Adarabioyo headed in a cross from substitute Tom Cairney to ensure Fulham remained a point ahead from an often bad-tempered encounter.

Both goalkeepers were tested early. Fulham’s Marek Rodak was behind Adam Smith’s drive comfortably enough before Travers parried a low drive from Neeskens Kebano at the other end at the expense of a corner.

The lively Kebano was soon back for another go, with exactly the same result and the corner that followed led to a goalmouth scramble that saw the ball hit Bournemouth’s Gary Cahill on his arm but referee Tim Robinson either did not notice or ruled it unintentional.

Lewis Cook was booked for a 15th-minute lunge on Kebano that saw both feet off the ground and play stopped soon after for Solanke, who was hurt in a collision with Adarabioyo, to get his head bandaged.

The bandage almost grabbed an instant assist, with Solanke planting a header from seven yards just wide of Rodak’s right-hand post.

The former England man returned in the 30th minute with a burst into the box on the left and shot across goal that sailed just wide.

Jack Stacey became the next Bournemouth man to be booked, for another lunge on Kebano and the pair came together again soon after, with Stacey blocking the winger’s shot from inside the six-yard box.

Referee Robinson had another decision to make within seconds when Harry Wilson went down in the area under a Solanke challenge but he dismissed penalty appeals.

Cherries skipper Steve Cook denied Fulham twice in the space of a few seconds right before the break. First he dived to stop Aleksandar Mitrovic curling the ball home from the left of the box.

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Fabio Carvalho was on to the rebound but the veteran defender somehow managed to get his head in the way of his shot too.

There was still time for Fulham boss Marco Silva to be cautioned for excessive dissent – and his mood was hardly improved by Bournemouth scoring straight from the kick-off to start the second period.

A couple of passes were exchanged before Philip Billing’s ball over the top saw Solanke outpace Denis Odoi and lash it high past Rodak.

Fulham responded with a Kebano effort that Travers tipped over the crossbar before Wilson forced another save and then fired an effort just wide.

Mitrovic had been kept quiet but sent a header narrowly over from a free-kick resulting from Adam Smith’s cautionable tripping of Wilson.

Bournemouth tried to slow the game down, with Travers booked for time-wasting before saving another Mitrovic header and denying Kebano with his legs.

Travers dived to keep out another Mitrovic header – and Kebano lashed the loose ball wide from close range but Fulham would not be denied.

Adarabioyo met substitute Cairney’s cross to head the ball beyond Travers from seven yards to keep the Cottagers top.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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