Fulham survive Huddersfield fightback to move third in Championship
Fulham climbed up to third place in the Championship with their third victory in four matches after surviving a scare to beat Huddersfield 3-2.
Bobby Decordova-Reid, Tom Cairney and Aleksandar Mitrovic had put Fulham 3-0 ahead and apparently out of sight by the 31st minute but Emile Smith Rowe and Steve Mounie made it 3-2 before the interval.
The visitors gave them an almighty scare and could have grabbed a point by the final whistle but Scott Parker’s men held on to claim their tenth home win of the season and close the gap on second-placed Leeds to just three points.
Fulham were ahead after 10 minutes when Decordova-Reid, out on the left touchline, controlled a well-hit crossfield pass from Michael Hector and hooked the ball past makeshift Huddersfield right back Juninho Bacuna.
He then charged into the penalty area, sidestepped Richard Stearman and opened his body before shooting past goalkeeper Joel Coleman.
The home side doubled their advantage after 15 minutes. Right back Cyrus Christie drove in a low cross and Fulham captain Cairney flicked the ball up in front of him and volleyed it on the turn past Coleman’s right hand.
Huddersfield tried to get back into the game with some neat passing down each wing but their final ball came to nothing and they were 3-0 down on the half-hour to another well-worked goal.
Cairney sent Joe Bryan clear with a lofted pass and the left back’s low cross was met at the near post by Aleksandar Mitrovic, whose flick appeared to take a touch off Christopher Schindler on its way past Coleman and just under the crossbar.
It was the Serbian’s 19th league goal of the season and marked his return after three games out with an ankle injury.
The Terriers reduced the arrears after 35 minutes when Schindler diverted Bacuna’s free kick into the path of Smith Rowe, and a combination of his shot and Denis Odoi’s challenge sent the ball past Marek Rodak.
Their tails up, the visitors snatched another goal back four minutes later. Bacuna’s through pass gave Smith Rowe the chance to cross from the right and Mounie bundled the ball in at the far post. It was the fifth shot on target in the match and all five had gone in.
Huddersfield did their best to continue their revival after the interval and Rodak saved well from Karlan Grant on three occasions and then dropped onto an angled shot from Smith Rowe.
Chances for Fulham were now rare and substitute Aboubakar Kamara drove the best one high past the near post after 78 minutes.
That left the home side hanging on in the dying minutes as Huddersfield attacked in waves. Frazier Campbell’s deflected shot almost gave them what would have been a deserved leveller and Elias Kachunga put a chance over the bar in the fifth of six minutes of added time.