Freddie Sears and Brett Pitman confined the hosts to defeat number eight in the League already this term, as managerless Fulham continue to flirt with midtable mediocrity and the relegation zone a few points below them.
Ipswich Town maintained their stance as play-off hopefuls with a narrow, but deserved 2-1 victory away at Craven Cottage.
Freddie Sears broke the deadlock after just eighteen seconds, driving forward from kick-off and firing goalwards from the edge of the area. Experienced goalkeeper Andy Lonergan had barely adjusted in time, but it was already too late. A goal down within the first minute, just typified Fulham‘s current problems.
Cottagers cut open at will
Recently managerless after the sacking of Kit Symons, they always look threatening on the counter-attack. Defensively, they seem virtually the opposite. Vulnerable and easy to exploit as a result.
Chances and plenty of flair
Ross McCormack levelled the scoring shortly afterward, with a fantastic long-range effort from a free-kick. The 29-year-old Scotsman, who leads the club’s scoring charts with twelve goals in all competitions, must have been feeling frustrating as his teammates were being cut open at will off-the-ball.
Young Arsenal loanee, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, saw a dipping effort crash off the crossbar – before Sears had an opportunity to double his tally for the evening, which flashed over the crossbar.
Second 45, more of the same
Sears turned provider, fizzing in a dangerous cross toward the near post for Brett Pitman to slot home neatly unopposed. He did so, and the 27-year-old netted his second strike in consecutive games after a similar finish against MK Dons on the weekend.
Maitland-Niles was a constant nuisance for the Fulham backline to defend against, using his pace and flair to good effect – you couldn’t predict where he’d go next.
Plenty of substitutions were made by either side as the clock ticked down, and despite another few half-chances – especially from sub Matt Smith – the Cottagers were unable to find the equaliser in time.
Their winless run extends to seven games, and the future is increasingly uncertain for an out-of-sorts Fulham side, who certainly need to show more desire if they are to finish the season strongly in the New Year.