A huge Premier League clash between two struggling sides took place at Craven Cottage on Wednesday evening. Marco Silva’s side suffered a heartbreaking last-gasp defeat at Anfield on Sunday, while Steve Cooper headed to the capital as a man under severe pressure, in desperate need of points after a narrow defeat to Everton last time out left Forest with one win in ten games.
FUL: Leno; Castagne, Adarabioyo, Bassey, Robinson; Palhinha, Cairney; Pereira, Iwobi, Willian; Jimenez
NFO: Vlachodimos; Aina, Felipe, Murillo, Toffolo; Mangala; Sangare, Dominguez, Hudson-Odoi, Elanga; Origi
A breezy winter’s evening down by the River Thames saw a start that provided early evidence that this may be one of the most equal Premier League games one will ever see, with both sides looking to catch each other out.
Fulham edged possession, however, and forced the first block of the game, with Raul Jimenez’s shot being cleared up by Murillo with eight minutes gone.
The first real attempt on goal all evening came the way of the visitors as Divock Origi got away from Timothy Castagne and looked for the bottom corner, but the Belgian’s shot curled just wide.
Some excellent footwork and resilience from Fulham captain Tom Cairney down the left hand side saw the Scottish international lay the ball off to Raul Jimenez, who pulled it back towards Castagne, but Odysseas Vlachodimos collected the ball before it reached the Fulham right-back.
Andreas Pereira was very unlucky not to open the scoring, as his wonderful free-kick came back off the post and out for a goal kick. But as the game approached the half-hour mark, Fulham did take the lead, and with a great team move.
Tom Cairney did excellently to get past Felipe and proceeded to play the ball out wide to Willian. The Brazilian then cut inside and delivered the ball in towards Alex Iwobi, who tapped home past Vlachodimos to open the scoring.Embed from Getty Images
Marco Silva’s side doubled their lead just four minutes later, as Alex Iwobi played the ball in towards Andreas Pereira, who slipped the ball through to Raul Jimenez who unleashed a first-time finish into the top corner from close range. The relief on the Mexican’s face when he celebrated was palpable.
The home side could have made it three just before the break, as former Fulham loanee Ola Aina failed to clear the ball and left it to fall to Alex Iwobi, whose curling effort just about evaded the top corner.
The first chances of the second half fell the way of a dominant Fulham side, as Raul Jimenez had two chances to add to his personal tally; firstly with a header that was flicked away by Felipe and a second effort which curled just wide.
But moments after his second attempt, he added a third in audacious style. The Mexican got into the Forest box and outmuscled Ola Aina before rounding Vlachodimos and flicking the ball into an open net.
Fulham continued to dominate the ball in the second half, and as a result, added a fourth to their tally for the evening. Substitute Harry Wilson got down the right hand side and into the Forest box, and cut the ball back towards Alex Iwobi at the far post, and the Nigerian made no mistake as he steered the ball home for his second of the night.Embed from Getty Images
Regardless of a unflattering score-line, Forest fans continued to voice their support towards under-pressure boss Steve Cooper, with their only notable chances of the half coming from Reds substitute Chris Wood and Anthony Elanga, with Wood’s shot at the near post going just wide, and Elanga’s effort being saved well by Bernd Leno. The Swede’s shot proved to be Forest’s first and only shot on target all game.
With five minutes to go before full-time, Forest substitute Ryan Yates passed the ball straight to Andreas Pereira, who laid the ball off to Fulham captain Tom Cairney, who slotted home the Cottagers’ fifth goal of the evening to round a highly comfortable night for Marco Silva’s side.
Both sides are next in action this weekend, as Nottingham Forest travel to Molineux to face Wolves on Saturday at 3pm, while Fulham welcome West Ham United to Craven Cottage the following day at 2pm.