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Fulham 4-3 Middlesbrough Cham 45 1415 The Guardian

last updated Tuesday 28th April 2015, 12:46 PM

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The Guardian

Fulham (1) 4-3 (0) Middlesbrough

Fulham striker Ross McCormack scored three goals, including a stoppage-time winner, as Fulham took all three points at Craven Cottage.

Middlesbrough's hopes of automatic promotion were dealt a huge blow by resurgent Fulham

Boro thought they had clawed back a precious point when the substitute Kike made it 3-3 with a minute to go, but Aitor Karanka's side were punished for pressing for a winner when goalkeeper Dimitrios Konstantopoulos went up for a corner that was cleared, allowing McCormack to find the net at the other end.

Middlesbrough must now hope Bournemouth, who play on Monday as well as next week, slip up in similar circumstances.

Boro began brightly and Fulham were under pressure at the other end when Michael Turner fouled Patrick Bamford, Boro's on-loan Chelsea striker. Lee Tomlin nudged the free-kick to Grant Leadbitter, who flicked the ball up and launched a fierce shot that was touched over by the Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli.

Boro had Konstantopoulos to thank for the save that denied Hugo Rodallega after Adam Clayton had been dispossessed by Danny Guthrie just outside the area. Rodellaga could not get enough power on his shot and it was tipped wide.

Fulham took the lead in first-half stoppage time when Shaun Hutchinson headed on Bryan Ruiz's corner to defensive partner Turner, who stooped to nod into the net from close range right in front of the Boro fans.

In the second half, Fulham almost doubled their lead when Bettinelli came out to clear and found McCormack on the right flank. The Scot's cross was met by the head of Rodallega at the back post, but somehow Konstantopoulos pulled off a superb save.

Boro were living dangerously and somehow McCormack and Rodallega were unable to set each other up as defenders failed to clear.

The reprieve was short-lived, however, as Daniel Ayala barged McCormack over during the next attack and the Scot dispatched the penalty himself.

A response was required and Adam Reach, part of a triple substitution on the hour, provided it within four minutes of coming on, firing in a shot that Bettinelli could not keep out.

Boro were immediately back in trouble, however, and George Friend was shown a red card for upending Rodallega to concede another penalty, which was converted once more by McCormack.

There was nothing left for Boro to do but press forward in the hope of a comeback and Tomlin saw an effort blocked again before Ayala headed home a cross from the right from Albert Adomah.

Patrick Bamford almost fashioned an equaliser but saw his back-post effort go across goal and wide before Ayala's curling effort clipped the crossbar.

Fulham almost caught Boro again from a counter-attack but this time McCormack blazed over.

Still Boro came forward and Bettinelli had to dive to deny Reach, whose block of a clearance almost found the top corner.

There was still time forKike made it 3-3 after being set up by Tomlin, but Boro went on attacking and were made to pay by McCormack.

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