Fulham produced a solid all-round performance to beat Middlesbrough 1-0 under the Friday night lights.
An electric opening from Fulham saw us take a lead in the opening 10 minutes through Anthony Knockaert and it proved to be enough to see us pick up our second league win in succession.
Scott Parker made two changes from the side that had picked up a gritty away victory a week ago against Hull City. Captain Tom Cairney returned following a short injury lay-off to take his place in the heart of the Fulham midfield and Joe Bryan came in at left-back.
It was a bitterly cold night at Craven Cottage, a light wind whipping off the Thames and swirling around the ground.
It was Fulham who came out the traps the quickest, with some exquisite short exquisite link up play on show in the opening five minutes. Aside from a Djed Spence effort that went wide it was all us.
In the sixth minute the deadlock was broken. After some more neat play in the build-up play starting from the back with a searching ball from Tim Ream we slowly worked our way up the pitch. Cairney, allowed time and space on the edge of the box, fizzed a nice pass out to Bryan on the left wing. The full-back in turn swung in a delicious cross to the feet of Knockaert who only had to tap home to open the scoring.
We were visibly brimming with confidence and in the 14th minute some more delightful play culminated in Josh Onomah firing an effort on target. His low shot lacked power and Aynsley Pears was on hand to smother the effort. Onomah had been an imposing presence in the middle of the Fulham midfield, marauding forward at any given opportunity.
We were in electric form, producing some dazzling attacking play. In the 17th minute another one-two between Cavaleiro and Bobby Decordova-Reid ended with the Portuguese winger being played clean through the Boro backline. With only the keeper to beat Ivan fired over the bar. Agonisingly close to a second for Fulham.
In the 21st minute Onomah was in the thick of it again. A deep corner found the powerful midfielder unmarked in the middle of the Boro box. Looking to find the bottom corner with a glancing header he put his effort inches wide of the post.
It seemed like a matter of time before we grabbed a second but in the 30th minute the visitors came close to snatching an undeserved equaliser. Hayden Coulson had ventured forward down the left and looked to swing a ball into the area. Denis Odoi stretched out a leg and the ball deflected dangerously on goal. In the blink of an eye the ball had cannoned off the bar and deflected clear.
Middlesbrough were showing signs of life now and in the final 10 minutes of the half they caused some problems. Despite the increased time in possession they were unable to find a way through our resolute defence and we held on to our slender one goal advantage as the referee brought the first half to a close.
It was a tentative start to the second half from Fulham. Middlesbrough were actively pushing and pressing for a leveller, enjoying large parts of the half in possession.
We failed to trouble the opposition goal in the opening stages of the second period aside from a Bryan right-footed effort that was saved easily. A very bitty and scrappy affair compared to the flamboyant football that was on show in the first half.
In the 72nd minute the game sparked into life. A well worked free-kick was whipped into the six yard box. Odoi, who had stolen a march on the defenders, flicked the ball into the far corner and the stadium erupted. A backflip celebration sealed the deal until the linesman raised his flag to signal offside. Replays showed that Denis was a fraction offside. Gutting for Fulham.
With time ticking down Middlesbrough threw more men forward in attack but we stayed strong until the final whistle and picked up another precious three points to move up to third.