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Nottingham Forest 5-3 Fulham Cham 07 1415 Daily Mail

last updated Thursday 18th September 2014, 9:01 PM
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Laurie Whitwell at Daily Mail

Nottingham Forest (2) 5-3 (1) Fulham

Fulham manager Felix Magath insisted he was 'completely confident' in his job despite watching Britt Assombalonga net a hat-trick to condemn his team to a sixth defeat of the season in crushing style.

The Fulham manager claimed poor refereeing and bad fortune were to blame for the 5-3 scoreline that sent Nottingham Forest back to the top of the Championship table.

Magath admitted Fulham's total of one point from seven games and a goal difference of minus 12 was 'a catastrophe' as travelling supporters called for his head.

But he added: 'When you have the referee against you it's difficult to stand up. I don't know what's going on here.

'I can understand the fans' frustrations. I'm very sad that we are bottom. It's terrible I know, for the players and for me. I don't think about my job because I work with my team.'

Magath had a point about referee Darren Deadman, who awarded Forest a penalty that never was in the first-half and failed to send off Danny Fox for bringing down Hugo Rodallega as the last man in the second period.

But when his team concedes five goals and lets a 3-2 lead slip in the final minutes any angst against officialdom is undermined.

It had looked like Ross McCormack's brace and Rodallega's strike would be enough to earn Fulham their first win of the campaign having trailed 2-0.

But Michail Antonio equalised and then Assombalonga followed up his header against the post with a poacher's finish. Substitute Jamie Paterson added a fifth in the final minute after racing clear.

Magath made five changes to the team who lost 3-0 at Reading, to take his total number of players used this season to 26. It took only 20 minutes for Fulham's modest travelling contingent to chant 'Felix out'.

In that time their team had shown enough defensive disorganisation to slump two goals down. Deadman pointed to the spot when Shaun Hutchinson slid to take the ball away from Antonio. The challenge was robust but perfectly fair and Fulham's players protested their case.

Assombalonga buried the spot-kick and then ran to the touchline to hold aloft Chris Cohen's shirt in tribute to the club captain, who has suffered the third cruciate ligament injury of his career.

Assombalonga had opened the scoring in the ninth minute, charging onto a free-kick by Henri Lansbury. If a sign of the value Forest have found in Assombalonga was required, you needed to look no further than the other end of the pitch.

McCormack cost double the £5.5million Pearce paid to Peterborough but had scored only once in seven appearances before kick-off.

He doubled his Fulham total just after the half hour mark with a superb free-kick from 25-yards. Rodallega found the equaliser in the 51th minute, volleying in a cross from the left amid awful defending.

McCormack got what looked to be the winner in the 65th minute, finishing past Darlow with the aid of a deflection after Rodallega's through ball.

But Forest responded. Antonio calmly slotted home from Michael Mancienne's pass and then 11 minutes from time Assombalonga converted Chris Burke's cross at the second time of asking for his eighth goal of the season.

Steve Wigley, Forest assistant manager, said: 'I thought we were fortunate. Once it became a shoot-out we knew we had players who could score goals.

'I like Felix, he was very good to me when I worked there. I hope they're patient and give him an opportunity.'

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