Fulham produced a stirring comeback to beat Queens Park Rangers 2-1 at Craven Cottage on Friday night.
A goal in the opening three minutes from Jordan Huggill was offset by an Aboubakar Kamara header in what was a scintillating first half of football. 20 minutes into the second half Abou swung in his second to complete the comeback on an exhilarating night at Craven Cottage.
Scott Parker made three changes from the side that picked up a solid victory away at Birmingham prior to the International break. Tom Cairney returned to captain the side, Joe Bryan returned from injury & Aboubakar Kamara was given the nod up front following the suspension of Mitro.
The match started and before the fans had settled into their seats the visitors had taken the lead. A chip over the top found Nahki Wells unmarked in behind the Fulham defence. After taking a touch to steady the ball he fizzed a perfect ball to an unmarked Hugill at the back post and the in-form striker did the rest. A terrible start for Fulham.
We continued to get any foothold in the match and QPR sensed blood in the water. A high press forcing loose passes out from the back and a quick attack one possession was gained.
In the 15th minute the lead was almost doubled. Another ball in behind, this time to Dominic Ball cut us open. With time and space the wing-back drilled in a dangerous ball which looked destined to be tapped in. Tim Ream, read the ball and looked to put it behind for a corner. However, his clearance struck the post and bounced back into the danger area before being hooked clear.
In the 27th minute we clawed level. Denis Odoi, who had looked menacing down the right flank when given the chance to venture forward spun his man and surged forward. After some fine work to create the space the fullback swung in a peach of a ball to an unmarked Kamara in the box. With only the keeper to beat the explosive striker glanced a deft header into the bottom corner. We were level with 15 minutes to play in the first half.
Despite the momentum shift the draw was almost short-lived. A ball split our defence and Wells was clean through on goal. It seemed we would have a mountain to climb again, but Marek Rodák produced a superb save, standing tall until the very end to block the shot clear. An excellent save.
A pulsating first half of football continued to eb and flow and in the 32nd minute a sublime piece of skill almost saw us take the lead. Cairney, hooked a ball out of thin air and controlled before pushing forward from the halfway line. With the Rangers defence scrambling to get back, the skipper played Cavaleiro through on goal. The winger thundered a left-footed effort off the base of the post. Another one-on-one opportunity spurned by the woodwork.
In the 42nd minute it was Rodák to the rescue again. A dangerous ball from the right wing was turned on target by Huggill. The towering keeper was alert and produced a sensational reaction save to tip the effort clear with a strong palm.
The referee brought the first half to a close, an opening 45 minutes packed with action.
The second half similar to the opening 45 minutes. QPR finding space on either flank looked dangerous, Alfie Mawson alert to two dangerous low crosses into the box in quick succession.
In the 50th minute Scott Parker was forced into his first change of the evening. Harrison Reed, who appeared to be trying to run off an injury for the opening stages of the second half could not continue and was replaced by Bobby Decordova-Reid.
His change almost made an immediate difference. After some neat link up play he was found in the box. After drawing the defender he fed Anthony Knockaert who beat his man and fired on target. However, his effort lacked power and Joe Lumley gathered.
In the 64th minute we took the lead for the first time. Lumley played a catastrophic ball out from the back directly to the feet of Stefan Johansen. With the Rangers defence at sixes and sevens the Norwegian slipped in an unmarked Kamara. After committing the keeper Abou fired home into the far corner to the delight of the Hammersmith End. Just rewards for a tireless shift up front.
Moments later we almost doubled our lead. A flowing counter lead by Decordova-Reid saw Knockaert played through on goal. He looked to do the same as his compatriot moments earlier and find the far corner. His shot fizzed past the onrushing keeper and struck the post.
It proved to be the last action for the flamboyant winger, as Cyrus Christie was brought on in his place to add an extra body to the back line.
The addition of Christie added some added height and strength to the defence at a time where the visitors were committing increased numbers forward in attack.
With two minutes to go in normal time Parker made his final change, bringing on Kevin McDonald to add more protection in front of the back five. QPR huffed and puffed but we stood firm to confirm the comeback. Friday night delight.