Lacklustre Fulham beaten by Brighton

Fulham 0 Brighton 2

Fulham’s turbulent year ended on a low note as a flat performance saw them beaten by their fellow strugglers at Craven Cottage.

Managerless Brighton looked the sharper of the two sides for most of the game and broke through on the hour mark when Adrian Colunga stroked home a penalty after Kostas Stafylidis’ foul.

Substitute Sean Kavanagh and top scorer Hugo Rodallega had Fulham’s only two shots on target, but they were both denied by superb saves from ex-Whites keeper David Stockdale.

And Brighton killed off the game late on when Solly March latched on to Joao Teixeria’s cute pass and slipped the ball past Marcus Bettinelli.

Defeat leaves Fulham 17th in the Championship going into the new year, five points clear of the relegation zone and 12 adrift of west London rivals Brentford in the final play-off place.

Brighton, who secured their first victory since Sami Hyypia resigned as manager last Monday, shaded a low-key first half.

Bettinelli was easily the busiest of the two goalkeepers, parrying Colunga’s eighth-minute drive and tipping behind an effort by Elliott Bennett.

Fulham’s best opportunity of the half came shortly before the break when Rodallega was inches away from diverting home a Stafylidis shot.

Bettinelli kept Brighton at bay again early in the second half when he denied Bennett and Colunga clipped the post from the rebound.

The two were to combine for Albion’s opening goal as Stafylidis brought down Bennett and the Spaniard coolly converted the penalty.

The introduction of Kavanagh added fresh impetus to Fulham’s lacklustre midfield but his goalbound effort from 25 yards was clawed away by Stockdale, who also denied Rodallega.

And March guaranteed a vital three points for the Seagulls, who moved out of the relegation zone.

Fulham (4-3-3): Bettinelli; Grimmer, Hutchinson, Bodurov, Stafylidis (Roberts 87); Parker, Hyndman (Kavanagh 63); Fofana, McCormack, Williams (Woodrow 63); Rodallega.
Subs not used: Kiraly, Zverotić, Burn, Dembele.

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