Match ends, Fulham 2, Preston North End 0.
Fulham 2-0 Preston North End: Nugent own goal and late Kamara strike earns victory for Scott Parker's side
David Nugent's own goal and Aboubakar Kamara's injury-time effort ensured Fulham edged past promotion rivals Preston North End to keep up the pressure on the Championship's top two West Bromwich Albion and Leeds.
Nugent could only flick on an Anthony Knockaert corner and the ball looped past keeper Declan Rudd into the far corner to put the hosts ahead after the break at Craven Cottage.
Preston, who have now lost three of their past four games, had the better of the first half, with Sean Maguire having an effort ruled out for offside and Alan Browne forcing a decent save from keeper Marek Rodak.
But Fulham steadily improved and after Nugent's unfortunate intervention, substitute Kamara's breakaway 95th-minute goal wrapped up back-to-back home wins and kept Scott Parker's side five points adrift of Leeds United and closed the gap to six points behind leaders West Brom.
Second-placed Leeds had earlier thumped Hull City, while the Baggies were surprise losers at home to Wigan.
Preston remain sixth and in the final play-off spot but are now just two points ahead of seventh-placed Bristol City.
But although they failed to create many openings in a match that saw just six efforts on target, they could easily have taken the lead before they trailed just before the hour, with Browne having a second shot saved by Rodak.
Fulham's steady improvement saw them get on top following the opening goal and substitute Cyrus Christie was a fraction away from a second goal with a dipping volley.
The visitors' best chance of an equaliser saw Rodak save superbly from close range to keep out Patrick Bauer's header late on.
And with the game stretched deep in added time, Ivan Cavaleiro teed up Kamara after a slick counter-attack.
Fulham boss Scott Parker said:
"It is always important for us to win matches and we always go into every game expecting to win.
"Of course, West Brom and Leeds have been the most consistent and they are two very good teams.
"We have them both to play but we have to concentrate first on Bristol City next week and the games that follow that and see what we can do."
Preston manager Alex Neil told BBC Radio Lancashire:
"I think we started brightly and then obviously the set-play comes in and I don't know how it happens but it comes off Nugent and goes in.
"As with any game the first goal is always crucial. Then we end up with a corner, they counter and it ends 2-0 which I think flatters Fulham.
"We're the makers of our own downfall really. A cross into the box and we head it into our own goal. To be honest, we gifted them [the game]."
- 23BryanSubstituted forChristieat 9'minutes
- 14De Cordova-Reid
- 18ArterSubstituted forMcDonaldat 90+1'minutes
- 24KnockaertSubstituted forKamaraat 78'minutes
- 43S Sessegnon
- 44PottsSubstituted forHarropat 83'minutes
- 24MaguireSubstituted forSinclairat 72'minutes
- 35NugentSubstituted forStockleyat 66'minutes
- David Webb
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Fulham 2, Preston North End 0.
Goal! Fulham 2, Preston North End 0. Aboubakar Kamara (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ivan Cavaleiro following a fast break.
Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Foul by Ivan Cavaleiro (Fulham).
Darnell Fisher (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Fulham. Kevin McDonald replaces Harry Arter.
Foul by Aboubakar Kamara (Fulham).
Josh Harrop (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Patrick Bauer.
Harry Arter (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tom Barkhuizen (Preston North End).
Attempt missed. Ivan Cavaleiro (Fulham) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Tom Cairney.
Attempt missed. Tom Cairney (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.
Substitution, Preston North End. Josh Harrop replaces Brad Potts.
Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ben Davies (Preston North End).
Attempt missed. Harry Arter (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Cyrus Christie.
Substitution, Fulham. Aboubakar Kamara replaces Anthony Knockaert.
Attempt missed. Cyrus Christie (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left following a corner.
Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Ben Davies.
Attempt blocked. Cyrus Christie (Fulham) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Anthony Knockaert (Fulham) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Tom Cairney.
Substitution, Preston North End. Scott Sinclair replaces Sean Maguire.
Denis Odoi (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tom Barkhuizen (Preston North End).
Substitution, Preston North End. Jayden Stockley replaces David Nugent.
Foul by Anthony Knockaert (Fulham).
Andrew Hughes (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Own Goal by David Nugent, Preston North End. Fulham 1, Preston North End 0.
Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Sean Maguire.
Attempt saved. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner.
Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Tom Barkhuizen.
Foul by Michael Hector (Fulham).
Sean Maguire (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt blocked. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Anthony Knockaert with a cross.
Foul by Harry Arter (Fulham).
Brad Potts (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Daniel Johnson (Preston North End) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Tom Barkhuizen.
Second Half begins Fulham 0, Preston North End 0.