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Fulham 3-2 N Forest Cham 27 1415 GetWestLondon

last updated Friday 23rd January 2015, 5:04 PM
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Paul Warburton at GetWestLondon

Fulham (3) 3-2 (1) Nottingham Forest

Fulham striker Ross McCormack netted a 28-minute first-half hat-trick - his sixth against Forest in two seasons - but it was mighty close.

The visitors hit back from 3-0 down to set home hearts a-flutter, but they held out - just.

No one watching the first half could have foreseen Fulham on the back foot for most of the second. They started like a house on fire, and when fans started chanting '6-0' as they tore forward, there was every chance of a cricket score.

But Henri Lansbury curled home a free-kick in time added on at the end of the first 45, and it was all that was needed for a pulsating second period.

Much earlier, McCormack took a clever step inside and let go a fizzing right-foot curler tipped over by the keeper hurtling to his left.

He made no mistake four minutes after that when Hugo Rodallega played him to smash a left-footer past De Vries and into the corner.

Alex Kacaniklic scuffed a decent chance as Whites kept their foot on the pedal. Seko Fofana poleaxed a Forest defender with a fierce drive. But McCormack's second was slide-rule stuff as he took a second before curling on to the far post and then watch the ball first roll across the line and in at the other corner.

As Fulham fans screamed for handball, ace scorer Britt Assombalonga turned in the box and only the quick reactions of Marcus Bettinelli saved the day to smother the Forest forward's effort.

It was business as usual at the other end seconds later. Fofana will wonder how Dorus De Vries got across to keep out his point-blank connection, but the overworked Forest custodian was beating the fists in frustration on 35 minutes.

McCormack looked to play a ball outside, but changed his mind to take aim and catch a deflection off Todd Kane that sailed over the hapless De Vries.

A minute into added time, Forest creviced themselves a sliver of light. A nicely worked free-kick gave Lansbury the chance to bend a shot around the wall and beyond Bettinelli at the far post.

It was the spur 3,000 visting fans needed. As their team turned the screw, Lansbury again was in the right place to burst through and cut the deficit to one just past the hour.

Assombalonga then missed an absolute sitter when a bolt of a cross only needed the striker to have his head pointed at the frame, Instead, from five yards out the ball cannoned off the side of his head and hopelessly wide.

It was the bit of good fortune Fulham needed - and they deserved to hold out for a second home win in five days.

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