Match ends, Fulham 0, Brighton and Hove Albion 0.
Fulham moved out of the Premier League's bottom three on goal difference after earning a point in a goalless draw with Brighton at Craven Cottage.
Both sides had chances to take all three points in a much livelier second half, as Adam Webster's header struck the crossbar and Seagulls goalkeeper Robert Sanchez denied both Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ademola Lookman.
Adam Lallana was denied his first Brighton goal four minutes after the restart, a VAR review disallowing his low finish for a handball by Danny Welbeck in the build up.
Attempts in excess of 30 yards by Brighton pair Yves Bissouma and Lewis Dunk were the only shots on target in a cagey opening period, which also saw Welbeck narrowly fail to reach Tariq Lamptey's inviting low cross for the visitors.
Ivan Caveleiro's powerful drive forced Sanchez to tip over as Fulham - back to playing without fans after London was moved into the highest tier of coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday - came alive before half-time.
But neither side could force a winner, as Brighton missed the chance to distance themselves from trouble and remain two points above the relegation places.
- Reaction to Fulham v Brighton, plus the rest of Wednesday's Premier League action
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Fulham continue steady progress
Fulham's hard-earned haul of four points from three difficult fixtures against Leicester, Manchester City and Liverpool had seen Scott Parker's steadily improving side double their points tally for the season.
Indeed, there can be no greater indication of Fulham's progress over recent weeks than Parker's disappointment at only taking a point against the defending champions on Sunday.
But Wednesday's meeting with Brighton posed a very different challenge, with arguably Fulham's most important match of the season to date offering the opportunity to not only exit the bottom three but also pull Brighton into trouble.
Once again deploying three at the back, Fulham retained the new-found solidity that was sorely lacking at the beginning of the campaign to record only their second clean sheet in 13 games.
The main moments of concern for Parker's side arrived from set-pieces, as Dunk and Webster got the better of the hosts on several occasions.
Having withstood pressure immediately after half-time, Ruben Loftus-Cheek was denied by the feet of Sanchez and the introduction of Aleksandar Mitrovic allowed Fulham to pose an aerial threat of their own, but Lookman could not convert from the Serbia international's knock down.
Fulham's place outside the bottom three may be short-lived, with 18th-placed Burnley in action against Aston Villa on Thursday, but this was another result that takes Parker's side in the right direction after just one defeat in their last four.
Missed opportunity for Brighton
Brighton's defeat by Leicester three days ago was a rare occasion in which Potter's side have failed to be competitive in a Premier League game this season. However, back-to-back defeats and one win in their past 10 games made this trip to London an important fixture.
The first of two games against sides below them in the standings, with bottom side Sheffield United up next, was first and foremost a must-not-lose for the Seagulls against a Fulham able to leapfrog them in the standings.
Potter welcomed back Lamptey, Lallana and Webster from injury among six changes, which also saw the impressive 23-year-old Sanchez replace the absent Mat Ryan in goal and make a couple of key saves late on.
The speed and delivery of the returning Lamptey offered Brighton's main attacking outlet in a largely uneventful first half, before the visitors emerged from the interval looking much more likely to break the deadlock.
Dunk dominated in the air and twice went close as he followed up his saved header, while Lallana's effort was disallowed due to the ball bouncing up onto Welbeck's arm before rolling into the path of the former Liverpool player.
Having finished in the bottom six for the past three seasons and an underperforming Arsenal the only side within five points above them, this was the first of two golden opportunities for Brighton to distance themselves from trouble. Victory against the Blades on Sunday now appears a must.
'A clean sheet is massive for us' - what the managers said
Fulham boss Scott Parker, speaking to BBC Sport: "I thought we looked a little jaded today and that was probably from the effort the players put in against Liverpool. We did have some massive chances but overall a point felt a fair result.
"In large parts this season we have not given ourselves a platform and have been chasing games down. A clean sheet is massive for us. Overall [there are] a lot of positives but some negatives as well. I felt we lacked a bit of control today.
"This is a team that is moving in the right direction and I am seeing improvements in. We are taking small steps and that is very pleasing."
Brighton boss Graham Potter: "I felt we could have got all three [points]. The second half performance was a strong one. In the end it's a hard-fought match against a team in a good moment."
On goalkeeper Robert Sanchez: "Really good [performance]. He brought his quality, used his feet well and mixed it up. He has huge potential and it's our job to help him fulfil that. Attributes wise, he has everything you need to be a top goalkeeper."
A first Craven Cottage game without a goal in nine years - the stats
- This was Fulham's first goalless draw at home in league competition since August 2011, ending a run of 196 consecutive games with at least one goal scored.
- Brighton have won just two of their last 17 away Premier League matches in London.
- Only Sheffield United (seven) have failed to score in more Premier League games than Fulham (six) this season.
- Fulham have won just four of their last 25 Premier League matches in December.
- Brighton defender Lewis Dunk had five attempts at goal in this match - the most by a defender in a Premier League game this season.
- Brighton have won just one of their last 11 Premier League matches.
Fulham are away to Newcastle on Saturday at 20:00 GMT, while Brighton host Sheffield United on Sunday at 12:00.
- 14De Cordova-ReidSubstituted forKamaraat 62'minutes
- 29Zambo Anguissa
- 21ReedSubstituted forLeminaat 63'minutes
- 33RobinsonBooked at 76mins
- 15Loftus-CheekSubstituted forMitrovicat 77'minutes
- 2LampteySubstituted forVeltmanat 78'minutes
- 14LallanaSubstituted forGroßat 85'minutes
- 11TrossardSubstituted forJahanbakhshat 79'minutes
- Robert Jones
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Fulham 0, Brighton and Hove Albion 0.
Danny Welbeck (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Joachim Andersen (Fulham).
Foul by Joël Veltman (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Ademola Lookman (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Pascal Groß replaces Adam Lallana.
Attempt saved. Ademola Lookman (Fulham) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt saved. Ademola Lookman (Fulham) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Aleksandar Mitrovic with a headed pass.
Steven Alzate (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Mario Lemina (Fulham).
Attempt missed. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Alireza Jahanbakhsh replaces Leandro Trossard.
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Joël Veltman replaces Tariq Lamptey.
Attempt missed. Leandro Trossard (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Yves Bissouma.
Substitution, Fulham. Aleksandar Mitrovic replaces Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Antonee Robinson (Fulham) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Tariq Lamptey (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Antonee Robinson (Fulham).
Ben White (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
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