Nottingham Forest 3-1 Fulham: Early Hudson-Odoi stunner sets Forest on path to huge win in fight for survival

Fulham’s faint European hopes were ended by an incredible performance from relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest, who gave their survival bid a huge boost with a deserved 3-1 victory over the Cottagers at the City Ground.

Callum Hudson-Odoi got the goalscoring underway, before further strikes from Chris Wood and player of the match Morgan Gibbs-White in a sensational first half from the hosts helped earn Nuno Espirito Santo’s side a big three points. Tosin Adarabioyo headed home a consolation effort for the visitors four minutes after half-time.

As it happened

While both sides started rather brightly at a rather wet City Ground, it was Forest who won the first corner of the game and looked to apply some early pressure on a Fulham side who had only lost two of their last nine league games. However, Morgan Gibbs-White’s delivery was one to forget, as his ball in sailed over everyone and out for a goal kick.

Marco Silva’s side responded by creating the first real chance of an important clash, as Harry Wilson’s short pass found Andreas Pereira just outside the box. The Brazilian then tried an ambitious effort from 25 yards, but it was saved comfortably by Matz Sels.

With Forest having admittedly a lot more to fight for than their visitors, it was a welcome boost when Nuno Espirito Santo’s hosts took the lead with just nine minutes gone, as Morgan Gibbs-White slotted the ball through to Callum Hudson-Odoi on the left hand side. The former Chelsea man then cut inside the run of Kenny Tete and fired home past Bernd Leno to give the Reds a huge early lead. 

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It wouldn’t be long after that before the hosts did have, in truth, a deserved second goal. The ball was played forward by Murillo towards Chris Wood, who turned on the edge of the box and, with so much space being left by Leno, finished superbly past the former Arsenal goalkeeper as the City Ground erupted once again. 

Anthony Elanga almost added to Fulham’s woes just minutes after with a strike that really could’ve killed off the contest, but his close-range strike somehow whistled just wide of the far post; much to the surprise of the home support. 

By the half hour mark, Marco Silva had seen enough from his side as three changes were made by the Fulham manager. Willian, Tom Cairney and Adama Traore were introduced in place of Sasa Lukic, Alex Iwobi and former Derby County player Harry Wilson, who unsurprisingly received quite a sarcastic reception from the home faithful. 

However, while none of those changes were involved, Fulham’s second – and last – chance of the first half saw Andreas Pereira’s cross headed towards goal by Rodrigo Muniz, but the Brazilian’s effort whiskered well wide of the far post, with dire improvement needed from Marco Silva’s visitors in the second half. 

That improvement would have to be big, however, as Forest grabbed a third just before half-time to seemingly kill off the contest, and it was a wonderfully worked goal too. After applying the assist for Forest’s first, it was Morgan Gibbs-White’s turn to get on the scoresheet as Danilo found the former Wolves man through on goal and he made no mistake to add to what was a woeful night for Marco Silva’s side.

However, with just four minutes of the second half gone, Fulham did get a reprieve in the form of  a corner, and from it, they finally made an opportunity count. Andreas Pereira’s delivery in from the corner found a rising Tosin Adarabioyo at the near post, and the defender guided his header into the far post. All of a sudden, it wasn’t looking as comfortable as Forest had hoped. 

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Neco Williams was the next to test Bernd Leno in the Fulham goal, as a brilliant interchange between the Welshman and Gibbs-White saw the former get a brilliant strike away, but the effort crashed back off the crossbar and was subsequently cleared by Calvin Bassey. 

The visitors weren’t done trying to pull off the powers of recovery they showed against basement club Sheffield United last time out, as Tosin Adarabioyo’s header was saved at the far post by Matz Sels before Kenny Tete’s header from the resulting corner crashed back off the top of the crossbar. Willian’s curling effort just moments after whistled just wide of the far post. 

Forest themselves didn’t quite feel the game was put to bed just yet, as substitute Divock Origi fired just wide of the far corner before Danilo fired just over the bar from close range shortly after; both efforts leaving Bernd Leno untroubled. 

Origi then had another chance of his own as the game entered five minutes of added time at the end of the second half, but his low strike flew just past the far post. That miss wouldn’t matter, however, as Nottingham Forest held out for a massive three points that could prove a big helping hand come May 19th when the curtains come down on the Premier League season. 

The lineups

NFO: Sels; Williams, Omobamidele, Murillo, Aina; Yates, Danilo; Elanga, Gibbs-White, Hudson-Odoi; Wood

FUL: Leno; Tete, Adarabioyo, Bassey, Robinson; Palhinha, Lukic; Wilson, Pereira, Iwobi; Muniz