Soucek sent off late on as West Ham held 0-0 at Fulham

LONDON (Reuters) - Fulham did their hopes of avoiding relegation little good and West Ham United missed a chance to go fourth in the Premier League in a drab 0-0 draw on Saturday in which the main talking point was a late red card for the visitors’ Tomas Soucek.

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A London derby featuring only three efforts on target was drifting to its conclusion when Soucek tangled with Aleksandar Mitrovic before a West Ham free kick in stoppage time.

While the big Czech midfielder did catch Serbian Mitrovic in the head with his elbow it looked accidental, yet referee Mike Deane, having been instructed to look at a pitch-side monitor by the VAR official, decided it warranted a dismissal.

West Ham manager David Moyes looked aghast while even forward Mitrovic, who clutched his face after the contact, appeared to say to Deane it had not been a deliberate act.

“I am amazed they looked at it and even more amazed Mike chose to send him off,” Moyes said.

“It is very harsh on a player who is very fair and honest. He didn’t try to injure him or anything, it was accidental.”

Fulham manager Scott Parker agreed it was a tough call.

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“The red looked a little bit harsh but the way the game is going it probably is a red,” he said. “Five years ago it wasn’t a red, but it looked harsh.”

Of more concern to Parker was Fulham’s 14th successive match in all competitions without a win -- a run going back to Nov.30.

Fulham remain 18th with 15 points from 22 games, eight points outside the safety zone, while in-form West Ham stayed fifth with 39 points from 23.

“We can take confidence, belief that we’ve dominated a Premier League game,” Parker said. “On the flipside there is frustration because we need to be a bit more clinical.”

Other than Soucek’s red card it was a contest of little incident as Fulham dominated but failed to create clear chances.

Ivan Cavaleiro blazed one opportunity over for the hosts while substitute Mitrovic shot wide and Ruben Loftus-Cheek also wasted a couple of half chances as Fulham pressed for a winner.

West Ham went closest though with Vladimir Coufal heading against the bar after the break from Declan Rice’s delivery.

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris