Championship
FulhamFulham1MiddlesbroughMiddlesbrough0

Fulham 1-0 Middlesbrough: Anthony Knockaert sends Whites third with winner

By Brendon MitchellBBC Sport
Anthony Knockaert
Anthony Knockaert scored his first Championship goal since September to give Fulham victory

Fulham moved up to third in the Championship as Anthony Knockaert's early goal gave them victory over in-form Middlesbrough at Craven Cottage.

Knockaert capped a blistering opening half an hour from the hosts with what proved to be the winner, meeting Joe Bryan's low fizzing cross to tap home at the far post.

It was the least Fulham deserved for their relentless first-half pressure, with the absence of injured top goalscorer Aleksandar Mitrovic perhaps telling as Scott Parker's side squandered at least three gilt-edged opportunities.

Ivan Cavaleiro and Josh Onomah were most guilty, both failing to hit the target when well placed, while Denis Odoi deflected Hayden Coulson's cross on to his own crossbar on a rare foray forward from Boro.

The contest was much tighter after half-time, although Odoi thought he had made the game safe when his glancing header found the corner of the net - only to be flagged offside by the barest of margins.

But Fulham were able to see the game out relatively comfortably to leapfrog Brentford and close the gap to the automatic promotion places to four points.

The result also checks Middlesbrough's recent resurgence, with defeat in west London their first in six league matches, after they had clawed themselves clear of relegation trouble.

That run included eye-catching wins at West Bromwich Albion and Preston North End, but they never came close to repeating that level of performance against Fulham.

Knockaert had already curled one effort wide even before opening the scoring in the sixth minute, while captain Tom Cairney and Bryan also had efforts saved.

Paddy McNair came closest to an equaliser in the closing stages, inadvertently guiding a free-kick from out wide towards the far corner and forcing goalkeeper Marek Rodak into a smart save.

Fulham manager Scott Parker told BBC Radio London: "I thought we were very, very good first half. And I thought second half we had some big chances but didn't capitalise.

"We weren't clinical enough in the first half. I thought everything we've worked on this week worked so well.

"But we won the game with another clean sheet, we looked pretty solid and for the majority of the game we played some good stuff."

Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate told BBC Tees: "Fulham are a good team. They were right on top. But we kept on going.

"We didn't give up. In the second half, we were miles better."

On the signing of goalkeeper Dejan Stojanovic on Thursday, Woodgate added: "His concentration level is very good. He makes important saves, he's quick off his line.

"It's Aynsley [Pears]'s shirt to lose at the minute so Dejan will come in and challenge Aynsley for the number one spot along with Tommy [Tomas Mejias]. You can't drop Aynsley. He's done really well."

Line-ups

Fulham

  • 12Rodák
  • 4Odoi
  • 3Hector
  • 13Ream
  • 23Bryan
  • 10CairneySubstituted forJohansenat 68'minutes
  • 6McDonaldBooked at 60mins
  • 25OnomahSubstituted forArterat 79'minutes
  • 24KnockaertSubstituted forMawsonat 90+2'minutes
  • 14De Cordova-Reid
  • 19Cavaleiro

Substitutes

  • 1Bettinelli
  • 5Mawson
  • 8Johansen
  • 18Arter
  • 22Christie
  • 36De La Torre
  • 61Stansfield

Middlesbrough

  • 42Pears
  • 16Howson
  • 17McNairBooked at 72mins
  • 6Fry
  • 29Spence
  • 8ClaytonSubstituted forNmechaat 80'minutes
  • 22SavilleSubstituted forFletcherat 80'minutes
  • 33Coulson
  • 19Roberts
  • 7TavernierSubstituted forWingat 61'minutes
  • 14Gestede

Substitutes

  • 1Mejias
  • 11Fletcher
  • 20Nmecha
  • 21Johnson
  • 25Wood
  • 26Wing
  • 37Liddle
Referee:
David Webb
Attendance:
18,375

Match Stats

Home TeamFulhamAway TeamMiddlesbrough
Possession
Home62%
Away38%
Shots
Home17
Away8
Shots on Target
Home6
Away0
Corners
Home3
Away8
Fouls
Home10
Away6

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Fulham 1, Middlesbrough 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Fulham 1, Middlesbrough 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Harry Arter (Fulham) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Tim Ream.

  5. Post update

    Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Michael Hector.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Fulham. Alfie Mawson replaces Anthony Knockaert because of an injury.

  7. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Rudy Gestede.

  8. Post update

    Offside, Middlesbrough. Jonny Howson tries a through ball, but Lukas Nmecha is caught offside.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Marek Rodák.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Anthony Knockaert (Fulham).

  11. Post update

    Patrick McNair (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  12. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Harry Arter (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Middlesbrough. Lukas Nmecha replaces Adam Clayton.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Middlesbrough. Ashley Fletcher replaces George Saville.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Fulham. Harry Arter replaces Josh Onomah.

  16. Post update

    Attempt saved. Denis Odoi (Fulham) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Anthony Knockaert with a cross.

  17. Post update

    Anthony Knockaert (Fulham) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Hayden Coulson (Middlesbrough).

  19. Post update

    Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Djed Spence.

  20. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Bobby De Cordova-Reid (Fulham) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is blocked. Assisted by Joe Bryan with a through ball.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Friday 17th January 2020

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1West Brom271411250302053
2Leeds27157543232052
3Fulham28146842301248
4Brentford27144944212346
5Nottm Forest2612863526944
6Sheff Wed27126939261342
7Swansea2711973230242
8Millwall27101163432241
9Bristol City2711884140141
10Preston2711793733440
11Hull27116104035539
12Cardiff2791173840-238
13Blackburn27107103535037
14Reading26106103429536
15QPR27105124551-635
16Middlesbrough28810102835-734
17Derby2781092836-834
18Birmingham2795133344-1132
19Charlton2778123639-329
20Huddersfield2777133144-1328
21Stoke2774163342-925
22Barnsley2759133550-1524
23Wigan2758142441-1723
24Luton2763183358-2521
View full Championship table

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