Preston 1 Fulham 2
Aleksandar Mitrovic struck an injury-time winner at Deepdale as Fulham kept up the pressure on second-placed Cardiff.
The January signing from Newcastle put the Whites ahead midway through the second half, converting Cyrus Christie’s cross.
Sean Maguire levelled for play-off chasing Preston when his header seemed to squirm through the grasp of diving Fulham keeper Marcus Bettinelli at his near post.
But Mitrovic nodded in Tom Cairney’s lobbed delivery to leave the visitors still just five points behind Cardiff, although having played a game more.
Bettinelli had made two good saves to ensure Fulham went in at half-time goalless, turning Darnell Fisher’s shot around the post and denying Maguire in a one-on-one.
The half-chances the Whites had in the first half became more clear-cut in the second, with Floyd Ayite producing an excellent save from Preston keeper Declan Rudd.
On 66 minutes, Christie replaced Fredericks and his impact was almost instantaneous. He skipped away on the right flank and drilled in a cross which Mitrovic fired in from six yards.
Bettinelli won’t look back fondly on the Preston equaliser – nor will the defence, which left Maguire unmarked – but Mitrovic got his colleagues off the hook.
Cairney picked up a throw-in on the left, drifted into the box and hung the ball up for the Serbian striker, who headed it down and beyond Rudd.
Fulham: Bettinelli; Fredericks (Christie 66), Odoi, Ream, Targett; Cairney, McDonald, Johansen; Ayite (Piazon 59), Mitrovic, Sessegnon (Ojo 83).
Subs not used: Button, Norwood, Kamara, Fonte.