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Fulham 3-2 N Forest Cham 27 1415 Daily Mail

last updated Friday 23rd January 2015, 5:11 PM
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Fulham (3) 3-2 (1) Nottingham Forest

Fulham fans know a bit about managerial changes so perhaps they thought they were on to something when they started warning Stuart Pearce he would be out of work in the morning.

It turns out they may have been premature words on a couple of counts, not least because they were delivered after 35 minutes when Fulham were 3-0 up courtesy of a Ross McCormack hat-trick.

What followed was an impressive two-goal comeback which, by consolation, added a lick of gloss to what might have been a dreadful night for Pearce.

But a defeat is a defeat and while these numbers were not as bad as they might have been, there was no escaping the truth in the wider figures since these sides last met. It is scarcely believable that following that 5-3 Forest win in September, Pearce's side were top of the Championship with 17 points from seven games; Fulham were bottom with one and immediately sacked Felix Magath.

Moving on four months, Forest have managed 17 points in the next 20 games and Fulham 33 under Kit Symons. Even points overall, but one side is upwardly mobile and the other is sinking quickly. The win over Derby at the weekend was popular and important for Pearce, but how much leeway will that buy him?

Forest sources maintained last night that his job is not under immediate threat, but the cracks are obvious, even before you consider how his defence operated in the first half here.

Owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi is already understood to have his reservations and it will not have gone unnoticed that when Eric Lichaj was substituted midway through a dreadful first half, he stormed past Pearce without shaking hands.

By then, Forest were two down to an £11million striker who has found some form in a mixed season. He brought a stunning save from Dorus De Vries inside two minutes and within seven had opened the scoring with a low shot from the edge of the area.

He scored his second from a similar range 11 minutes later and a deflected shot off Todd Kane completed his hat-trick and ninth goal of the season. 'You're getting sacked in the morning,' sang the Fulham fans.

Then came the fight back. Henri Lansbury pulled one back in stoppage time with what was Forest's first shot on target and a second shortly after the hour made it interesting.

Brit Assombalonga then missed a glorious chance inside the six-yard box and Robert Tesche's late header was saved by Marcus Betinelli's face.

Not enough for Pearce, but he will know this could have been worse.

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