Knockaert’s early goal gives Fulham victory

Fulham 1 Middlesbrough 0

An early goal from Anthony Knockaert was enough to lift Fulham into third place in the Championship.

The home side, who were without the injured Aleksandar Mitrović, started brightly with Knockaert blazing over, though former Fulham academy player Djed Spence threatened with a shot that flashed wide within the first five minutes.

And moments later, Knockaert made no mistake from close range as he met Joe Bryan’s excellent driven cross at the back post for his fourth goal of the season.

The in-form Frenchman put in another tireless shift and was involved again early on with good work down the right flank, pulling back for Josh Onomah, who should have doubled the Whites’ lead.

It was the theme of the opening half, with a neat give-and-go between Ivan Cavaleiro and Bobby Decordova-Reid sending the former Wolves man through on goal, but he lifted his shot over the bar.

Onomah then wasted another glorious chance when he was left bizarrely unmarked from a corner, but glanced his header wide from six yards.

Fulham almost paid the price for their wastefulness when Hayden Coulson’s deflected cross looped over Marek Rodák, only for the ball to bounce off the bar to safety.

Boro raised their level after the break, but the introduction of Stefan Johansen 20 minutes from time injected some much-needed energy into Fulham.

Knockaert went close twice again – either side of Denis Odoi’s disallowed goal that appeared to be given wrongly offside – but his strike was enough to secure his side a third consecutive win in all competitions.

Fulham: Rodák; Odoi, Hector, Ream, Bryan; McDonald, Cairney (Johansen 68), Onomah (Arter 80); Knockaert (Mawson 90), Cavaleiro, Decordova-Reid.
Subs not used: Bettinelli, Christie, De La Torre, Stansfield.