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Fulham 3-2 Forest

14 February 2017

Goals from Pajtim Kasami and Ben Brereton were not enough as Nottingham Forest fell to a 3-2 defeat against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Kasami fired The Reds into an early lead before Fulham hit back through Tom Cairney and Lucas Piazon. Brereton struck his second Forest goal just after half-time but Neeskens Kebano scored the winning goal 18 minutes from time to consign The Reds to two consecutive away defeats.

Gary Brazil made six changes to the side that lost at Norwich on Saturday, with Vladimir Stojkovic, Kasami, Matty Cash, Joe Worrall, Brereton and Ross McCormack all coming into the side.

It was the dream start for The Reds as Kasami fired them in front in the opening two minutes. A loose ball at the back by Fulham was latched onto by Dani Pinillos and the ball found its way to the back post for Kasami who fired a sublime sliced half-volley past the dive of David Button and into the far corner.

Fuham looked shaky at the back and high pressure from the Forest players forced the home side into mistakes. McCormack almost forced a chance on 16 after some head-tennis following a corner, but the ball was taken just off his toe by Button as he looked to smash the ball home. 

Moments later Brereton was freed down the middle and was just beaten to the ball by Button. McCormack looked to latch onto the loose ball but was forced wide and Button made a hash of the resulting goal kick, kicking the ball straight at Ben Osborn but his audacious lob from 35 yards was saved by the recovering goalkeeper.

A bright start by The Reds but Fulham came on strongly as their passing play started to have an effect on the game. Full back Ryan Sessegnon was getting forward at will down the Fulham left and he tested Stojkovic with a couple of efforts, and Sone Aluko fired over from inside the area before the equaliser came on 31 through Cairney.

Sessegnon again got forward down the left and pulled the ball back across the penalty area for the arriving Cairney who calmly slotted the ball past a helpless Stojkovic. 

Two minutes later and the home side had turned the game on it's head. Lucas Piazon was starting to cause problems down the Forest left and he jinked inbetween two defenders before skipping past another challenge and poking an effort past Stojkovic. 

It was a blow for Forest who had started the game brightly but they held on to half time with a one-goal deficit after plenty of pressure on their goal. 

The Reds started the second half as they did the first, on the front foot and were level within three minutes of the restart. Danny Fox hit a superb cross from the left flank and Brereton matched it with an equally perfect header into the far corner.

The play was even, just like the scoreline, with both sides looking to get the lead. Brereton almost found space in the box from McCormack's pass on 58 and Kasami hit the side-netting a minute later but it was the home side who took the lead through substitute Kebano on 72. A lofted ball went over the Forest defence on the left flank and found Kebano who hit a half-volley which deflected past Stojkovic via Jack Hobbs. 

The introduction of Zach Clough, Britt Assombalonga and David Vaughan from the bench gave The Reds more attacking impetus and they threw men forward searching for an equaliser. Neither side were able to create any clear-cut chances in the closing stages until the final minutes of the five added on for injury time. 

Cash crossed the back post for Hobbs who headed back across goal. Fulham failed to clear their lines and Vaughan struck a half-volley which fizzed just past the post, and Fulham went up the other end with Kebano who broke through The Reds defence but his shot clipped the outside of the post.

That was the last action of the game and The Reds' gallant effort was not effort when on another day they could have snatched a point at least.

Forest: Stojkovic; Worrall, Hobbs (c), Fox; Cash, Kasami (Vaughan 78'), Tshibola (Clough 78'), Osborn, Pinillos (Assombalonga 85'); Brereton, McCormack

Subs: J. Smith, Carayol, Vellios, Ahmedhodzic

Goals: Kasami 2', Brereton 48'

Booking: Fox 90'

Fulham: Button, Odoi, Sigurdsson (Madl 29'), Ream, Sessegnon, McDonald, Johansen, Aluko (Parker 84'), Cairney (c), Piazon, Ayite (Kebano 63')

Subs: Bettinelli, Malone, Martin, Cyriac

Goals: Cairney 31', Piazon 33', Kebano 72'

Bookings: Madl 66', Johansen 80'

Attendance: 15,365 (1,357 away)

Referee: James Linington

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