McCormack scores hat-trick in Fulham win

Fulham 3 Nottingham Forest 2

Ross McCormack scored a hat-trick before Fulham weathered a second-half storm to secure what turned out to be a hard-fought victory.

The Whites were 3-0 up within 35 minutes, but Henri Lansbury netted shortly before the interval and again just after the hour mark as Nottingham Forest came roaring back.

McCormack’s goals took his tally for the season to 10 and were just about enough to move his side up to 14th in the Championship table, level on points with 12th-placed Forest.

He troubled the Reds defence from the start and went close to scoring after three minutes when his fine strike from near the edge of the penalty area was tipped over by keeper Dorius De Vries.

The striker then scored twice from a similar distance in the space of 10 minutes, firing home after Hugo Rodallega’s lay-off and then sending a curling shot beyond De Vries and in off the post.

It put Fulham in a commanding position, although they needed keeper Marcus Bettinelli to come to their rescue following an error by Kostas Stafylidis.

The Greek’s daft back-header was a gift for the lurking Britt Assombalonga, but Bettinelli was swiftly off his line to make the save.

Fulham remained in control and more good work by McCormack almost led to a goal for Seko Fofana.

McCormack cleverly found Alex Kacaniklic who pulled the ball back from the left for the on-loan Manchester City midfielder, whose first-time effort was kept out by De Vries.

There was nothing De Vries could do, however, when McCormack once more tried his luck from near the edge of the box and this time the ball looped into the net after taking a heavy deflection off Forest’s on-loan Chelsea defender Todd Kane.

Struggling Forest, with only one win from their last 10 matches, were given hope when Lansbury’s nicely struck free-kick reduced the deficit.

They would have reduced it further early in the second half had Stafylidis not been on hand to clear Jack Hobbs’ weak shot off the line.

But the visitors did eventually find a second goal on 62 minutes when Lansbury side-footed past Bettinelli at his near post.

Assombalonga then missed a glorious chance from inside the six-yard box when he was unable to adjust quickly enough to get his header on target after Michail Antonio had blasted the ball across the face of goal.

And there was another heart-stopping moment for Fulham late on, Bettinelli fumbling Robert Tesche’s far-post header before grabbing the loose ball.

Fulham (4-1-2-1-2): Bettinelli; Grimmer, Hutchinson, Bodurov, Stafylidis; Parker (Ruiz 57); Fofana, Tunnicliffe, Kacaniklic; McCormack, Rodallega (Woodrow 77).
Subs not used: Kiraly, Roberts, Dembele, G Williams, Burn.

Follow West London Sport on Twitter
Find us on Facebook