Johnson defends Dempsey penalty miss

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Fulham v Reading - Craven Cottage

Soccer – Barclays Premier League – Fulham v Reading – Craven Cottage

Fulham striker Andrew Johnson has defended Clint Dempsey’s last minute penalty miss against Chelsea at Craven Cottage on Monday night.

Dempsey won the penalty, drawing a foul from the otherwise excellent David Luiz, but saw his spot kick saved by Peter Cech.

Had he scored the spot kick, Fulham would surely have taken all three points off last season’s Premier League champions.

Johnson admitted his team were disappointed not to take all the points, but refused to blame Dempsey.

“Of course it’s disappointing [not to have won], but the person who took the penalty for us has been fantastic for us this season, so it’s just unlucky for him – it happens,” Johnson told the Fulham FC website.

“Clint has 10 goals for us already this season and it was him that won the penalty so it made sense that he was the one to take it.

“He’s scored them before now and he’s been top class for us this season so he’s big enough to pick himself up from this.

“Sure, we’re disappointed, but they are a top team and they’ve spent a lot of money so if you’d asked us before the game we would have been happy with a point.”

Fulham extended their unbeaten run at home to six games, and face a unique situation of not knowing who they face in the cup on Sunday.

Either Bolton or Wigan wait for them in the next round, and their fate will be decided in a fourth round replay tomorrow night.

Johnson was also quick to praise his defence, who dealt so admirably with £50million Fernando Torres, and later Didier Drogba.

“The boys have been fantastic. It’s a great run that we’re on at the moment and it was great to keep the unbeaten record going,” added Johnson.

“Of course, it would have been nice to have taken all three points, but it was a derby against a top team, and a draw was probably a fair result in the end.

“Chelsea have some top class attacking talent and they kept them out for the whole game, so special credit to Brede and Hughesy – they’ve been fantastic all season, and tonight was just typical of how good they have been.

“Now we just need to recuperate and concentrate on getting ourselves through to the next round of the cup on Sunday.”

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