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Match Reports

Fulham 2-0 Forest

3 February 2018

Nottingham Forest suffered a 2-0 defeat against Fulham on a wet and miserable afternoon at Craven Cottage.

In an evenly-contested game in the capital, it was The Cottagers who came out on top thanks to second-half goals from Lucas Piazon and Stefan Johansen.

Manager Aitor Karanka named three of the January deadline-day signings in the starting line-up. Costel Pantilimon replaced Jordan Smith in goal, while Adlene Guedioura was named ahead of David Vaughan. Jack Colback, on-loan from Newcastle, was the third addition in place of Apostolos Vellios.

Debutant Pantilimon was called into action early on after a long-range effort from Fulham's Oliver Norwood which the Romanian guided past his left-hand post.

The contest was evenly poised after the opening 20 minutes, with the home side looking dangerous through Ryan Sessegnon on the left, while Matty Cash was lively for Forest.

And it was through the latter that Forest nearly went ahead on 21. Cash nipped the ball off Tim Ream and drove at goal on the angle but was denied after Marcus Bettinelli saved with his legs.

The home side were dominating possession without creating any clear-cut chances as the Forest back line remained resolute. Fulham's frustration was summed up in injury time of the first half when Norwood blasted an effort high and wide from distance.

Despite the home side's bright start to the second half, it was the visitors who nearly went in front on 52. Joe Worrall met a corner from the left but saw his header rebound off the post with Bettinelli beaten and the Fulham defence managed to scramble clear.

But the pressure continued from the home side as Piazon had an effort which sailed wide and Sessegnon headed over the bar and the pressure told on 67 as Fulham took the lead.

Piazon broke down the right-hand side and struck a powerful effort at goal. Pantilimon got a hand to the ball but could only parry it into the net to give the home side the advantage.

This prompted Forest to introduce two more debutants into the match. Lee Tomlin replaced Kieran Dowell first, with Ashkan Dejagah coming on for Guedioura as the match entered the final 10 minutes.

The visitors were enjoying their best period of possession in the match and nearly found an equaliser with five minutes to go.

After winning the ball off McDonald in the Fulham defence, Vellios, on for Ben Brereton, played in Ben Osborn whose close-range effort was well saved by Bettinelli and then Vellios was unable to turn the rebound in as the Fulham keeper dived across his goal to save again.

Forest were now streaming forward in numbers at every attack in search of the leveller but that left gaps at the back and Fulham capitalised as the game headed into injury time. Worrall took a heavy touch from a high ball, Johansen stole the ball off his toe and raced through on goal to slot past Pantilimon and seal the points for Slavisa Jokanovic's side.

Forest: Panitlimon, Lichaj, Worrall, Mancienne (c), Fox, Colback, Cash, Guedioura (Dejagah 76'), Osborn, Dowell (Tomlin 70'), Brereton (Vellios 81')

Unused subs: Smith, Figueiredo, Vaughan, Darikwa

Bookings: Dowell 47', Mancienne 70'

Fulham: Bettinelli, Fredericks, Kalas, Ream, Targett (Odoi 90'), Johansen, McDonald (c), Norwood, Piazon (Ayite 88'), Fonte (Mitrovic 55'), Sessegnon

Unused subs: Button, Kebano, Christie, Kamara

Goals: Piazon 68', Johansen 90'

Booking: McDonald 73'

Referee: Tim Robinson

Attendance: 22,076 (3,508 away)

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