Fulham fell to a 2-1 defeat against Nottingham Forest on a frustrating afternoon under the sun in south-west London.
Lewis Grabban struck either side of half-time to give the visitors a commanding lead until Aleksandar Mitrović pounced to make the final stages a nervy one.
Scott Parker named the same side for the third successive match, looking to build on the emphatic 4-0 victory over Millwall on Wednesday night. A beautiful, sunny day on the banks of the Thames.
The tone was set early on. The visitors were not going to allow the Fulham back line to patiently start attacks from the base, pressing high up the pitch, driven on by a noisy away following.
In the 4th minute the deadlock was broken. After some free-flowing build-up the ball was worked out to the left wing. A teasing ball was fed across the 6 yard box and in the blink of an eye Grabban had smashed home. A sluggish start from Fulham punished by a rapid counter from a confident looking Nottingham Forest outfit.
The goal proved a spark for the Whites and in the tenth minute Tom Cairney muscled through two challenges and looked to curl an effort into the far corner from just outside the box. The onrushing Michael Dawson appeared to use his arm to block the drive but the referee waved away the protests and awarded a corner instead.
With the tide turning somewhat Joe Bryan and Steven Sessegnon both saw efforts from outside the box miss the target. The visitors were struggling to keep hold of the ball and confidence swelled within the Fulham ranks.
As the clock wound down on a stale first 45 Bryan unleashed a vicious half-volley from 30 yards after a tidy lay-off from Mitro. His outswinging shot flew past the left-hand post and the deficit remained.
The Whites were fortunate to go in only one goal behind as after a hopeful ball over the back four, Grabban was through on goal. After steadying himself he looked to fire one in with his left foot. However, Marcus Bettinelli stood tall and parried away his effort with a smart save.
The start of the second half signalled a change from Head Coach Scott Parker. Bobby Decordova Reid was brought on to replace Stefan Johansen who had been a tireless presence in the Fulham midfield.
The second half started very much in the same way in which the opening 45 had ended. Nottingham Forest, contented with their lead, sat back and invited pressure.
In the 52nd minute a deep cross was met by the head of Anthony Knockaert. The lively winger rose the highest to flick a header on target. His glanced header looked destined for the far corner, but Brice Samba reacted well to claw it out behind for a corner.
The atmosphere ratchetted up a notch but against the run of play the lead was doubled for the visitors.
Steven Sessegnon, a composed figure on the right side of the defense played a loose pass back towards goal. Grabban, who had been feeding off scraps all afternoon pounced and glided out to the right side of the box. After picking his spot the striker fired home into the far corner to the delight of the travelling supporters in the Putney End.
In the 69th minute Sessegnon almost provided the perfect response. A clearance fell perfectly at the feet of the young fullback. Without hesitation he struck a clean effort that looked destined for the bottom left-hand corner. However, Samba again was alert and produced a fine save to tip it wide.
The clock ticked down with Nottingham Forest determined to waste as much time as physically possible. The spectacle became wholeheartedly irritating and putrid until out of nowhere Mitrović latched on to an Aboubakar Kamara cross with a delightful left-footed shot that glided into the far corner.
With the defecit now halved the Craven Cottage faithful erupted and with aplomb the time wasting ramped up from Forest. The final 5 minutes would not have looked out of place just down the road in Twickenham as Nottingham hoofed the ball to either corner in a desperate attempt to stem the tide.
With eight minutes of additional time the Whites continued to surge forward in waves. However, the goal did not come and on a beautiful day by the Thames, gamesmanship was sadly the winner.