Match ends, Fulham 3, Preston North End 1.
Fulham ended Preston North End's five-game unbeaten run to boost their hopes of reaching the Championship play-offs.
Sone Aluko fired in from Neeskens Kebano's cutback to open the scoring before Chris Martin found the bottom corner to double the hosts' lead.
Tom Barkhuizen made it 2-1 on the break, but Kebano pounced to end Preston's hopes with a calm finish.
Fulham stay seventh, five points off the play-off places, with Preston still ninth, nine points adrift.
Slavisa Jokanovic's side have now won four of their last five Championship games, but Reading's 2-1 victory over Wolves and Sheffield Wednesday's 5-1 thrashing of Norwich meant they did not gain any ground.
The home side, who have a game in hand on their rivals, enjoyed 70% of possession and went ahead after 22 minutes through Aluko's well-taken finish and could have widened the deficit at the break had Tomas Kalas made the most of two chances from corners.
Kebano then struck the crossbar from a narrow angle, but goalkeeper David Button had to be alert to keep out Daryl Horgan's strike at the other end.
Martin's 10th league goal of the season, created by Ryan Fredericks' pace and vision, finally gave the dominant Cottagers a two-goal lead.
Barkuizen guided the ball underneath the onrushing Button from Aiden McGeady's clever through ball on his full debut to give Simon Grayson's side hope.
But Kebano slotted into the bottom corner from Aluko's pass to round off an outstanding personal performance and ensure that Fulham have now scored 13 goals in their last five league matches.
Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic:
"We are around the top six and we now want to close the gap to the top six. This is our target and we are still in position to be fighting to play after the first week in May.
"We have taken 13 points from the last five games and my team plays with confidence.
"In general where we are now, we can be relatively satisfied."
Preston assistant manager Glynn Snodin:
"We've come up against a good side today. I felt they were different class, a step above us.
"To be fair to our players they kept going and got back in it at 2-1. They have got belief as a unit and always believe we can get something from a game.
"But Fulham are a good counter-attacking side with good footballing brains. And that's what we've been undone by today."
- 30R Sessegnon
- 14JohansenSubstituted forParkerat 80'minutes
- 24AlukoSubstituted forOdoiat 88'minutes
- 25MartinSubstituted forCyriacat 84'minutes
- 17R Sigurdsson
- 3CunninghamBooked at 90mins
- 8BrowneSubstituted forPearsonat 57'minutesBooked at 80mins
- 7HorganSubstituted forRobinsonat 57'minutes
- 25HugillSubstituted forMayat 80'minutes
- Simon Hooper
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Fulham 3, Preston North End 1.
Greg Cunningham (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Denis Odoi (Fulham) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Greg Cunningham (Preston North End).
Foul by Tom Cairney (Fulham).
Daniel Johnson (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Fulham. Denis Odoi replaces Sone Aluko.
Offside, Fulham. Scott Parker tries a through ball, but Neeskens Kebano is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Sone Aluko (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Cyriac.
Substitution, Fulham. Cyriac replaces Chris Martin.
Offside, Preston North End. Tom Clarke tries a through ball, but Stevie May is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Sone Aluko (Fulham) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Tom Cairney.
Substitution, Fulham. Scott Parker replaces Stefan Johansen.
Substitution, Preston North End. Stevie May replaces Jordan Hugill.
Ben Pearson (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Neeskens Kebano (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ben Pearson (Preston North End).
Goal! Fulham 3, Preston North End 1. Neeskens Kebano (Fulham) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Sone Aluko.
Attempt missed. Callum Robinson (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Greg Cunningham.