Fulham win frantic game to boost promotion hopes

Fulham 3 Huddersfield 2

Fulham moved to within three points of the Championship automatic promotion places with after a frantic win at Craven Cottage.

The home side coasted through the first half-hour with superb goals from Bobby Decordova-Reid and Tom Cairney within the opening 15 minutes and a flicked finish from the returning Aleksandar Mitrović that seemed to put the game out of reach.

Decordova-Reid – whose loan deal from Cardiff City was made permanent in January – chested down Michael Hector’s pin-point cross-field ball before feinting past former Fulham defender Richard Stearman and finishing coolly into the far corner.

Five minutes later, good work on the edge of the box from Cyrus Christie found Cairney, who lifted his first touch into the air and volleyed home on the turn.

And Cairney also orchestrated Fulham’s third when he released Joe Bryan down the left wing to tee up Mitrović, who was a suprise inclusion in the starting eleven having recovered from an ankle sprain ahead of schedule, for his 19th goal this term.

The Whites were well in control of the match, having two-thirds of possession and preventing the visitors from any efforts on goal, but two attacks involving Emile Smith-Rowe got Huddersfield right back into the encounter.

The impressive Arsenal loanee first pulled one back from a defensive lapse in concentration that allowed him to stab home, before the visitors countered again and Smith-Rowe squared the ball across the face of goal for Steve Mounié to bundle over the line.

Fulham were on the back foot from then on, as Marek Rodák twice denied Karlan Grant after the restart, tipping over a free-kick and a volley in quick succession.

Substitute Aboubakar Kamara – also back from injury – was introduced and provided a threat on the counter-attack, blazing a shot over from the left channel.

But Fulham held on to their slender lead to move back up to third in the Championship, with losses for both Leeds and Nottingham Forest on the day.

Fulham: Rodák; Christie, Hector, Odoi, Bryan; McDonald (Arter 62), Cairney (Johansen 76), Onomah; Decordova-Reid, Cavaleiro (Kamara 57), Mitrović.
Subs not used: Bettinelli, Sessegnon, De La Torre, Kebano