LONDON (AFP) – Gareth McAuley left it late to score West Bromwich Albion's first goal of the Premier League season as the Baggies rescued a 1-1 draw at Fulham on Saturday.
Martin Jol's side had looked like ending a five-match winless streak at Craven Cottage following Steve Sidwell's first-half strike.
But McAuley met Chris Brunt's corner with an emphatic header in the second of six minutes of stoppage time to stop Albion falling to their third defeat in four league matches this season.
Albion boss Steve Clarke gave debuts to Victor Anichebe and on-loan Marseille midfielder Morgan Amalfitano, but Stephane Sessegnon, another deadline day signing, missed out due to a delay in obtaining his work permit.
Amalfitano was part of a visiting midfield which stifled Fulham's efforts in the final third until Bryan Ruiz flashed an early effort wide after Pajtim Kasami's cross was only half cleared.
Fulham took the lead in the 22nd minute when Alex Kacaniklic's set-piece found Philippe Senderos, who held off McAuley to nod down for Sidwell to hit a shot on the turn past goalkeeper Boaz Myhill.
Cottagers striker Dimitar Berbatov was clearly offside when he had a strike ruled out after 32 minutes and the former Manchester United star was adjudged to be offside once more when tucking home from close-range.
The Baggies should have been level when Anichebe latched onto Chris Brunt's pass, but the former Everton forward's shot lacked conviction as Stockdale blocked with his legs.
Berbatov had a legitimate opportunity when making an arching run to meet Ruiz's superb pass, but Myhill was alert to save.
The same combination went close when Ruiz drifted in field and lofted a pass over which Berbatov met acrobatically, directing the ball just wide.
The visitors needed a lift and it almost came when substitute James Morrison's pass was brought down and held up by Anichebe.
Ruiz hit the bar six minutes from time and substitute Hugo Rodallega netted the rebound, only for the strike to be ruled out for offside.
Fulham, who saw Ruiz depart on a stretcher after an awkward fall, were made to pay.
The Baggies won a corner and Brunt's delivery was met by McAuley and his header flew into the net.