Defeat crushes Fulham’s hopes of automatic promotion


Fulham’s hopes of automatic promotion were all but crushed – and Brentford’s suffered a big blow – as Leeds took a massive step towards a return to the Premier League.

A win at Elland Road for fourth-placed Fulham would have taken them to within four points of West Brom, who lost at Brentford on Friday evening.

But goals from Patrick Bamford, Ezgjan Alioski and Jack Harrison took Leeds top of the table, with the Yorkshire club 10 points clear of Fulham and eight clear of Brentford, although the Bees are within five points of West Brom.

And the Whites could now have to contend with a suspension to 23-goal striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who appeared to elbow Ben White in the face early on.

Mitrovic escaped punishment but video evidence suggested he might well face retrospective action.

Bamford put Leeds ahead after 10 minutes by finishing coolly after being set up by Heldar Costa.

Fulham dominated much of the rest of the second half, with Mitrovic and Anthony Knockaert going close to an equaliser.

The visitors also felt they should have had a penalty for a handball by Tyler Roberts.

Fulham continued to threaten after the interval but Alioski doubled the hosts’ lead after collecting Pablo Hernandez’s pass.

Harrison slotted home the third to seal Leeds’ priceless victory.