2017-18 English League Championship, Regular Season
  • Aleksandar Mitrovic (78')

Fulham pile pressure on promotion rivals Cardiff with victory at Hillsborough

Aleksandar Mitrovic fired Fulham to a priceless three points as their automatic promotion hopes were boosted by a 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
Second-placed Cardiff lost to Wolves on Friday night and Fulham now sit just two points behind the Bluebirds in the Sky Bet Championship.
Mitrovic struck the only goal of the game in the 78th minute when he seized on good work from Ryan Sessegnon to break the deadlock.
Fulham thought they had taken a 10th-minute lead when Sheyi Ojo turned in Kevin McDonald's cross, only for the winger to be flagged offside.
Ojo was soon in again. He wriggled his way into the box and cut inside onto his left foot. However, his shot was not powerful enough to trouble Joe Wildsmith, who got down and held comfortably.
McDonald then took aim from just inside the penalty area, aiming towards the bottom corner, but Wildsmith got down well to push it away.
Half an hour in and Fulham full-back Matt Targett sent a great low ball across the face of goal towards Mitrovic, however the striker's touch was not enough to guide the ball on target, going narrowly wide of the post.
The Owls had carried little threat and were soon to be frustrated. After a throw-in, Daniel Pudil was sent free down the left and sent a low cross to Lucas Joao who finished with a cheeky backheel. However, Pudil had long since been flagged for offside.
Near the end of the first half, Fulham missed a golden opportunity to snatch the lead. Ryan Fredricks aimed a great looping cross into Mitrovic and the big Serbian rose the highest, aiming a powerful header on goal, only to be denied by a brilliant save by Wildsmith who turned the ball over the bar.
Just past the hour mark, Wednesday centre-half Frederico Venancio thought he had a golden chance to snatch the lead. A free-kick was nodded onto his feet five yards from goal, but Venancio scuffed the ball wide, his blushes saved by the offside flag.
At the other end another opportunity was wasted. Tom Cairney pulled the ball across to McDonald just inside the box but the midfielder skied his first-time effort.
Fulham finally took the lead through Mitrovic. Teenager Sessegnon burst into the box from the left and threaded a perfect ball across to Mitrovic who calmly slotted home his ninth goal of the season.
Fulham missed an opportunity for a second goal soon afterwards. A superb long ball from Targett found substitute Neeskens Kebano, however he guided the ball wide of the post.
Wednesday had one last chance deep into injury time when Pudil pulled the ball across to substitute Fernando Forestieri, however he could not keep his shot down.

English League Championship Standings

1 West Bromwich Albion 28 +19 53
2 Leeds United 28 +19 52
3 Fulham 29 +12 49
4 Nottingham Forest 28 +11 48
5 Brentford 28 +23 47
6 Preston North End 29 +8 46
7 Swansea City 29 +1 45
8 Millwall 28 +4 44
9 Bristol City 28 +2 44
10 Sheffield Wednesday 28 +8 42
11 Blackburn Rovers 28 +5 40
12 Hull City 28 +4 39
13 Cardiff City 28 -2 39
14 Queens Park Rangers 28 -5 38
15 Reading 28 +3 37
16 Derby County 28 -7 37
17 Middlesbrough 29 -7 35
18 Birmingham City 29 -11 34
19 Stoke City 29 -6 31
20 Charlton Athletic 29 -4 30
21 Huddersfield Town 28 -13 29
22 Barnsley 29 -19 24
23 Wigan Athletic 28 -18 23
24 Luton Town 28 -27 21