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Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 08/07/20...

Started by WhiteJC, July 06, 2020, 09:17:31 AM

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Nottingham Forest 0-1 Fulham

Harry Arter has scored in two successive away games for Fulham

Harry Arter's spectacular 25-yard strike was enough for Fulham to win at Nottingham Forest and move to within four points of an automatic promotion spot.

In an otherwise scrappy game at an empty City Ground, Arter found the top corner on the turn after the ball had appeared to hit his arm following a sliding tackle in the build-up.

Forest struggled to mount a response, Alfa Semedo's deflected effort from range and Nuno da Costa's improvised header from the edge of the box both comfortably saved by Marek Rodak.

Both sides had late penalty shouts for handball with Fulham's Anthony Knockaert and Tobias Figueiredo escaping punishment from referee Robert Jones.

Defeat for Sabri Lamouchi's hosts effectively ends their top-two hopes, but they remain seven points clear of seventh-placed Derby, who have a game in hand on their East Midlands rivals.

Fulham, however, now need just four more points to confirm their Championship play-off spot and will hope pacesetters West Brom and Leeds slip up in their games on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

Scott Parker's side came closest to a goal before Arter's left-footed opener, with Bobby Decordova-Reid lashing just over from outside the box after a bursting run from deep.

Fatigue setting in for Forest and Fulham?
This was the second successive round of midweek Championship fixtures, with two more to come in order for the regular-season to finish on 22 July.

Fulham scored a 95th-minute winner against Birmingham on Saturday, while Forest conceded a 97th-minute leveller at Derby, both of them energy-sapping matches.

It was perhaps no surprise then that neither side were at their free-flowing best, despite the past five meetings between the sides at the City Ground bringing 23 goals.

The Cottagers were without suspended striker Aleksandar Mitrovic and captain Tom Cairney, who missed out with a knock, while Forest's livewire Joe Lolley came off at half-time after receiving treatment in the first half.

For the visitors, it was a third league win in a row for the first time since November, consigning their opponents to a first defeat since the restart.

Nottingham Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi:

"We have conceded two goals in the worst moments - (against) Derby in the last second and just before half time tonight.

"It was not a good game for both teams and a draw would have been fair. Fulham did not create a lot but they won the match, so well done for that.

"I don't need to see a replay of the goal, it was in front of me. He touched the ball with his hand and with VAR it would be a foul, but it is not available and it is bad luck for us but we don't have time to complain.

"We will analyse and rest and think about the next game."

Fulham manager Scott Parker:

"I am very proud of my team. It's a big result for us but there's a bigger picture.

"We were without Tom Cairney today and players have had to step up. Harry has done that, he was fantastic today in terms of the goal and it was a fantastic strike.

"That's two in three now for Harry. We lost (Aleksandar) Mitrovic three games ago and we have had to find another way.

"It's at this stage where seasons peter away or we go for it. We move on to Friday night and Cardiff and the way we are at the moment anything can happen. Hopefully we can keep producing results."


Head Coach press conference

Scott Parker was thrilled by the all-round combative performance that his Fulham side produced on the road against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday evening.

A well-executed gameplan and determination to the bitter end was on show from a dogged and tireless Fulham.

A proud Parker was quick to highlight the dedication of his side to defend their box, hold on to their lead and pick up a clean sheet in the process. With three wins in a row the Head Coach feels his side are hitting their stride.

"We came out of lockdown with a couple of defeats," he said. "But we have quickly bounced back and have won three in a row which is massive for us.

"Tonight for me it was not vintage us by any means. We didn't show our dominance with the ball. But saying that there have been many times this season where we have played some fantastic stuff and still lost the match.

"Tonight my team showed another side to them. I often talk about what great teams have and that is a certain mentality. Sometimes you have to dig in deep and show a desperation to get the three points.

"A desperation to not let a 1-0 win slip away and I felt to a man my team showed that. I give them full credit.

"At this stage of the season you need to keep ticking along and win football matches. When you are playing against your closest rivals its pleasing to pick up the win.

"We need to keep performing and that will put us in good stead.

"We want to keep picking up momentum. Overall I am delighted that my team have showed another side tonight." 

With the first half drawing to a close Harry Arter struck with a venomous effort from outside the box to see the deadlock broken. Once his side got their noses in front Scott Parker was quick to highlight the attitude shown by his players to battle through and secure a valuable three points.

A professional performance from the first whistle to last.

"Tonight in front of us was a very good Nottingham Forest side," Parker reflected. "Next we have Cardiff on Friday night.

"We just have to focus on what we are doing.

"We can't control what goes on above us or around us. We have to just keep winning football matches.

"We have to keep putting pressure on.

"I think it is full credit to my team that we lost Mitro, Tom Cairney tonight, Aboubakar Kamara. We have had to change things around tactically over the last couple of weeks.

"We have had to be a little bit different. Fair play to them because they have adjusted very very well.

"The players have been spot on.

"We lost 23 goals from our team and all of a sudden goals have to come from somewhere else on the pitch.

"We spoke about that, we said people needed to stand up now and chip in to get results and keep moving forward.

"Harry (Arter) has done that with two goals. Cyrus Christie has got one so that has been very positive.

"My players have been brilliant."

After picking up a knock in the latter stages of the match vs Birmingham City, the Head Coach provided an update on the fitness of Club captain Tom Cairney.

"Games come thick and fast," he stated. "I am not sure if we will be able to turn him around for Friday.

"We will have to see over the coming days and see exactly where he is and make a call." conference-forest


Celtic target Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli after suffering setback in bid to re-sign Fraser Forster

    Celtic are interested in signing goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli from Fulham
    Neil Lennon's side switched their focus after struggling to sign Fraser Forster
    Bettinelli is understood to be open to a new challenge ahead of next season

Celtic are set to turn to Fulham keeper Marcus Bettinelli after their move to re-sign Fraser Forster hit a snag.

Neil Lennon wants a new shot-stopper ahead of next season and wanted to seal a return to Celtic Park for Forster, who spent last season on loan at the club.

But the Scottish giants are now weighing up a swoop for Bettinelli after uncertainty was cast over the move for Forster.

Celtic have switched their focus to Fulham's Marcus Bettinelli as they look to sign a goalkeeper

Bettinelli, who broke into the England squad last season, is understood to be open to a new challenge ahead of next term.

The keeper could be available for as little as £1million, with only one year remaining on his contract.

Before Fulham's relegation into the Championship at the end of last season, Bettinelli had established himself as one of the best emerging keepers in England.

And Celtic have targeted the 28-year-old shot stopper to fill the need at the Glasgow club.

On Celtic's pursuit of Forster, Lennon said: 'It's gone quiet from the player's side of things.

'We would dearly love him back here but if that's not going to be the case then we'll look elsewhere.

We're looking at a number of options on the goalkeeping front. It's such an important position and Fraser did wonderful things for us last season.

'Ideally we'll try to get an exceptional number one in again.'


Report: Celtic target Fulham's Marcus Bettinelli

Celtic are targeting Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli as a replacement for Fraser Forster, The Daily Mail reports this evening.

Neil Lennon confirmed earlier this week that the deal in place with Southampton to bring Forster back to the club this season had gone cold from the player's side, leaving Celtic pursuing other options.

We've been linked with a number of different players recently, ranging from established stars like Joe Hart to Greek international Vasilios Barkas.

The latest is 28-year-old Bettinelli.

Aside from loan spells, he's been at Fulham for his entire career.

In 2019/20 he's made 14 appearances and with just a year left on his contract, The Mail believes the 'keeper could be available for as little as £1m.

That puts him firmly into Celtic's price range, with the club perhaps not having the luxury of fantastic transfer resources this summer due to the ongoing pandemic.

Bettinelli has been seen as one of the emerging goalkeeping talents down south over the last few seasons, finding a place on the England national team bench in 2018 for matches against Spain, Switzerland and Croatia (Transfermarkt).

t's said by the paper that the shot-stopper is agreeable to finally leaving Fulham and pursuing a new adventure elsewhere.

Bettinelli is not the only new name on the Celtic speculation list this week, with Freddie Woodman also said to be of interest to the Scottish champions.

As time ticks on to the season starting next month, Lennon and his recruitment staff will have to make a decision on who they want soon.


Harry Arter Screamer Gives Fulham Big Win Against Forest

Deep into injury time at the end of the first half between Nottingham Forest and Fulham at the City Ground, Harry Arter gave the London side the lead.

It was a sensational strike from the Ireland midfielder who recovered well after initially appearing to have run into trouble.

The goal was Arter's third of the season. His first in the Championship only came late last month in Fulham's 2-1 victory against QPR.

The 30-year-old scored with Ireland assistant manager Keith Andrews on commentary duty for Sky Sports. Andrews could only laugh as Arter's strike arrowed towards the top corner of Brice Samba's net.

Both Fulham and Forest went into the game solidly in the Championship playoff spots and with chances of automatic promotion still a live possibility.

Fulham won the game 1-0, a result which leaves them fourth on 73 points, four behind second-placed West Brom.


Nottingham Forest 0-1 Fulham: Harry Arter scores stunner to keep Fulham's automatic promotion hopes alive as fellow promotion-chasing Reds look set for play-offs

    Harry Arter gave Fulham the lead in fourth minute of injury time with a stunner
    Nottingham Forest upped their intensity in the second half in push for equaliser
    Defeat leaves Reds in fifth place and look set for Championship play-offs
    Victory leaves Fulham four points behind West Brom who play Derby tomorrow

For Nottingham Forest, yet more insult added to injury time. For Fulham, yet more joy in a half's dying moments.

As their faint hopes of automatic promotion gather pace, this defeat leaves Forest's top-two ambitions up in smoke.

That's now three games since the restart in which Sabri Lamouchi's side have been punished with one foot in the dressing room.

Harry Arter's stunner broke the deadlock for Fulham in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage

The midfielder unleashed a well-struck effort part Brice Samba into the top-right corner

Here, at least, Harry Arter's wonder strike – four minutes into first-half stoppage time – gave them a chance at redemption. Scant consolation, though, given they still ended with nothing.

Instead it's Fulham who are making an art of playing to the whistle. For the second time in four days, they found a winner in the nick of time.

The result? Three games without Aleksandar Mitrovic end with three wins and no shortage of stunning goals. This from Arter may well be the best of them.

So Fulham head south with a spring in their step, having earlier shuffled in via the stadium car park - without protection from the driving rain or much firepower in their ranks.

Bobby Decordova-Reid started as Fulham's sole striker with Alexandar Mitrovic suspended

Between them, Mitrovic (23) and skipper Tom Cairney (eight) have scored 31 of Fulham's 55 league goals this season. Ivan Cavaleiro was the visitors' most prolific starter last night. He has six.

Forest appeared better stocked for a fixture that has produced 23 goals in five previous meetings here.

Lewis Grabban's goals have led Forest into contention and early on here he was nearly gifted another. But after latching on to Tim Ream's calamitous attempted backpass, his shot was tame. At the other end Bobby Decordova-Reid's fierce effort from distance flew over Brice Samba's bar. Chances were in short supply until half-time approached.

First, Grabban met Matty Cash's low cross, only to skew his effort wide. The striker complained he had been held and Forest grievances only intensified after Arter's spectacular opener.

Having overrun the ball, the midfielder slid to retain possession.

His pass was blocked but, from the floor, he rose and unleashed a thumping effort into the top corner.

Forest insisted Arter had used his hand but to no avail.

Lamouchi reacted instantly, introducing both Nuno Da Costa and Ryan Yates at the break.

Sabri Lamouchi changed things up with two substitutions as the home side upped the pressure

After a reserved start Forest grew into the game in the second half to push for a leveller

More reinforcements followed and Forest urgency rose. Quality remained lacking, however, as Fulham held firm and killed the game's rhythm at every opportunity.

Marek Rodak made smart saves to deny Da Costa and Alfa Semedo, while Cash's delivery posed problems, too.

All Forest tried came to nothing. Twenty-one years of hurt will have to end via the play-offs.

Forest desperately pushed in the second half but were unable to carve out clear opportunities


Arter's cracking goal gives Fulham vital victory at Nottingham Forest

Harry Arter's superb goal gave Fulham a priceless victory, keeping them in the race for automatic promotion.

Arter scored on the stroke of half-time at the City Ground with a cracking 20-yard strike into the top corner of the net.

It took Fulham to within four points of second-placed West Brom, who play tomorrow.

The visitors defended well and came through a couple of anxious moments late on.

Fulham keeper Marek Rodak kept out Nuno Da Costa's header and comfortably gathered a shot from Matty Cash.


Nottingham Forest 0-1 Fulham: Harry Arter secures valuable win for Scott Parker's men
Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash at the City Ground

Fulham again underlined their automatic promotion credentials as they returned to London with a valuable three points after beating Nottingham Forest 1-0.

A stunning first-half strike from Harry Arter sealed victory at the City Ground (45+4), although replays suggested the ball inadvertently brushed past the midfielder's arm as he won the ball at the feet of Forest captain Ben Watson.

The Cottagers' third win in succession keeps them two points behind west London rivals Brentford in fourth, while Sabri Lamouchi's men will likely have to settle for a play-off place, trailing second-placed West Brom by nine points.

How Arter's stunner helped Fulham remain in top-two race

With much of the action taking place in the middle of the park, the first half passed largely without incident on the banks of the River Trent.

Lewis Grabban - now just three goals off the top of the division's scoring charts - took advantage of Tim Ream's risky chested interception but shot straight at Marek Rodak, while Bobby Decordova-Reid hit a dipping effort narrowly over at the other end with half-an-hour gone.

But right on the stroke of half-time, Arter drew first blood in sensational style. He clawed back a loose ball at the feet of Watson, got to his feet, swivelled and bent a brilliant effort into the top-right corner.

Lamouchi shuffled his pack shortly after the break and it was the introduction of Alfa Semedo that spurred the hosts on to force an equaliser in a similar manner to how they had been pinned back in the East Midlands derby with Derby at the weekend.

But after an improvised header from Nuno Da Costa was saved by Rodak and Grabban saw a shot bravely blocked by Anthony Knockaert in stoppage-time, the final whistle blew, extending Fulham's unbeaten run when they have scored first to 22 games.

Man of the match - Harry Arter
Despite its blockbuster billing, this clash had little in terms of goalmouth action but the accolade must go to Arter, who created the chance in typically tough-tackling style and finished it off with uncharacteristic skill to seal a massive three points.

What's next?
Fulham face Cardiff at Craven Cottage on Friday - in a game live on Sky Sports Football from 8.15pm - while Nottingham Forest travel to Deepdale to take on Preston the following day at 3pm.


Nottingham Forest 0-1 Fulham, Championship: report, ratings and verdict

Fulham kept up their faint automatic promotion hopes with a scrappy albeit professional victory over fellow promotion chasers Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

Harry Arter's long range strike in first-half injury time ensured the Cottagers sealed their third consecutive win, all without talisman Aleksander Mitrovic.

In an opening period low on quality, Arter reacted quickest to a loose ball to strike a sweet drive into the top corner of Forest keeper Brice Samba's net.

The second period saw Fulham happy to sit on their lead, keeping Forest at arms length and reducing them to rare sights at Marek Rodak's goal.

Forest's best chance saw Alfa Semedo force Rodak to get down low to save his deflected effort but it was as good as it got for the home side.

The Cottagers closed out the remainder of the game with minimum fuss to move within four points of second placed West Bromwich Albion.


Leeds United's underlying data from last four games shows fans can dream of promotion

The Whites' results have been mixed since the Championship's return but the deeper numbers suggest promotion is close

Leeds United were on one of their best runs of form of the season when the Championship season was suspended, which they've failed to quite replicate on their return.

Marcelo Bielsa's promotion-chasers were on a run of five straight victories when the country went into lockdown, but they couldn't keep that going when they returned with a 2-0 defeat by Cardiff City, before subsequently being frustrated in a 1-1 draw with relegation battlers Luton Town.

But how does the underlying performance data from United's first four games back, in which they've dropped four points, compare to before?

As a direct comparison to the four straight wins before the league's suspension, the statistics show Leeds haven't actually dropped off a great deal, although it's worth keeping in mind they're to be taken with a pinch of salt from two relatively small samples of fixtures.

United have only kept one clean sheet from the last four games and conceded four goals, averaging a goal every game since the restart. But according to Infogol's expected goals (xG) algorithm, Leeds allowed their pre-lockdown opponents better chances.

They've averaged 0.41xG against over their last four games (0.15 fewer than in the four games before lockdown), which is validation for those who feel they were somewhat unlucky to concede four goals with well-taken strikes from Junior Hoilett, Robert Glatzel, Harry Cornick and Adam Armstrong.

The league leaders have faced slightly fewer shots per game on their return (8.25 to nine) but have allowed more on target, going from an average of two before lockdown to 2.75 after.

Going forward, it's also broadly consistent. Leeds scored eight goals in the four games before the hiatus compared to seven since, while the xG (1.63 to 1.66) rate is almost identical - they're still creating chances at a similar rate.

Shots per game have gone from 16 up to 16.75 but shots on target have fallen, down from 6.5 to 5.5 (statistics via

One particularly noticeable difference between the two sets of samples is the difference in consistency between the two.

Things were steady pre-lockdown, with most stats consistent within a limited range: possession somewhere between 56% and 66%, shots on target between five and eight, exactly two shots on target faced each time, xG between 1.27 and 1.82, pass completion between 76% and 83% and passes completed ranging from 338 to 464.

That's largely to do with the lower-half opposition faced, as Leeds recorded similar levels of dominance against Reading, Middlesbrough, Hull and Huddersfield.

Subsequently facing more possession-focused and attacking sides like Fulham and Blackburn alongside the deep defensive low-blocks of Cardiff and Luton has returned a much more varied set of statistics, as much as the overall averages are similar to before lockdown.

For example, Leeds registered nearly twice as many passes against Luton (450) as they did against Fulham (232), going from a season-low possession share of 42.6% against Scott Parker's Cottagers up to 75.3% against Luton.

They had 23 shots and nine on target in the 1-1 draw with Luton compared to 10 and just five on target in the 3-0 win over Fulham.

As a quirk, Leeds have dramatically over-performed xG to put six goals past Fulham and Blackburn from a combined 2.10xG, while from 2.07xG against Cardiff alone they failed to find the back of the net.

Against Luton, they recorded their highest xG rate (2.49) from their last eight matches either side of the hiatus, as well as the lowest against (0.29) - yet still somehow conspired to only draw 1-1.

By putting 10 goals past Hull, Fulham and Blackburn, Bielsa's men have shown some positive signs of improvement in terms of their great weakness (inefficiency in taking chances), but on other days (Luton, Cardiff) they've been just as infallible as ever.

Leeds were putting in steadier and more consistent performances before the break, but in terms of the wider overall picture, United haven't dropped off in terms of their performance data, even if their results have slightly.


Fulham supporters react as Tottenham reportedly ready to sanction loan move

Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly ready to sanction the loan exit of left-footed youngster Ryan Sessegnon this summer with Jose Mourinho seemingly unwilling to give him a chance – and Fulham fans have reacted.

Sessegnon, 20, joined Tottenham from West London side Fulham for a fee of £25million last summer – but the England Under-21 ace has managed just 12 appearances for Spurs since being bought by Mauricio Pochettino.

Indeed, since the restart, Sessegnon has failed to play even once for the north London club. Mourinho has included him in the 20-man squad to face Manchester United and West Ham, but he has been dropped for the last two games.

The Telegraph claimed that following his omission from even the bench against Everton on Monday night – with Dennis Cirkin ahead of him – Spurs are now willing to sanction a loan exit for the left-footer.

Sessegnon remains a fan favourite at Craven Cottage after scoring 25 goals in 120 games during his teenage years – as well as creating 18. He helped Fulham get promoted in 2017-18, shining on the left flank.

Now, Fulham fans have responded to reports that Sessegnon could be loaned out by Tottenham with Spurs keen to further his development – and many have urged Scott Parker to lure him back to the Championship club.


Arter's rocket fells Forest

A fabulous strike from Harry Arter on the stroke of half time handed Fulham a third straight victory as Scott Parker's side battled past promotion rivals Nottingham Forest this evening at the City Ground.

Arter's second goal in three games was another long-distance effort, but this time no blame could be attached to the opposition goalkeeper. Brice Sampa was grasping at thin air as Arter curled a majestic finish into the top right hand corner from just outside the penalty area. There was an element of fortune in how the goal came about, a typically full-blooded Arter tackle saw the ball rebound back towards the on-loan Bournemouth midfielder before striking his hand as he lay on the ground, but there could be discounting the quality of the finish once he sprung back to his feet.

This was a workmanlike and professional performance from Fulham, who defended from the front with real resilience and were shrewd in their management of both the ball and the game. Parker's team showed three changes from the one that had taken so long to break down Birmingham City on Saturday – captain Tom Cairney was injured in the closing stages of that dramatic win and was replaced by matchwinner Josh Onomah, whilst Joe Bryan replaced Cyrus Christie and Neeskens Kebano came in for Anthony Knockaert.

Forest seemed content to operate on the counter attack as they had so successfully at Craven Cottage in August and Lewis Grabban almost profited from a dreadful error by stand-in skipper Tim Ream to give Sabri Lamouchi's side the lead in the seventeenth minute. The American defender made a complete hash of controlling a hopeful punt forward and Grabban surged dangerous towards the penalty area before producing a rather tame shot having been held up by Michael Hector.

Fulham were seeing plenty of the ball, but openings were at a premium at both ends. Bobby Decordova-Reid looked livelier than on his two previous outings as a lone striker, dropping into pockets of space to unsettle the Forest centre halves. One driving run from deep carried particular promise and his dipping drive from 25 yards concerned Samba, who was caught off his line, but flew fractionally over. The contest threatened to turn spiky at several points before the break, chiefly when Onomah was cautioned for kicking out at Samba Sow, whose pesky presence in midfield was missed by the hosts when he didn't reappear after the interval.

Arter's astonishing strike in first-half stoppage time altered the complexion of a contest that might have swung the other way moments earlier had Grabban delivered a better finish after being found by a dangerous Matty Cash cross. The centre forward seemed surprised the ball had reached him and stabbed wide. As it was, Arter's moment of brilliance gave Fulham a lead to protect, something they have done masterfully this season, with Parker's side securing 21 wins from 24 matches after going ahead.

Lamouchi rang the changes in the second half, but it took Forest a while to break down Fulham's disciplined shape. Two substitutes combined to fashion an opening when Adama Diakhaby's cross reached Alfa Semedo but a couple of deflections took the sting out of his shot, which made it much easier for Marek Rodak to handle. Nuno Da Costa almost equalised with a touch of quick thinking when Hector was caught out by a long clearance from Samba, but the forward's cleverly flicked header was plucked out of the air by a relieved Rodak.

Referee Rob Jones waved away penalty appears at either end of the field and Fulham largely restricted Forest to hopeful efforts from long range, like the one a frustrated Grabban fired in at the end of stoppage time, which was brilliantly blocked by Anthony Knockaert, who got through an outstanding amount of defensive work having been sent on in the closing stages. Forest's first defeat after lockdown was a significant scalp for the visitors, whose position in the play-offs looks much more secure following three wins in seven days.

Parker conceded that this was far from 'vintage Fulham' afterwards, but he will have been heartened by the resolution and spirit shown by a side, who had looked alarming brittle in the key moments of damaging defeats by Brentford and Leeds. A fourteenth clean sheet of the season also indicates that this side, if not as classy as the one that dazzled under Slavisa Jokanovic, is becoming much more miserly as the business end of the campaign approaches.

NOTTINGHAM FOREST (4-2-3-1): Samba; Cash, Ribeiro, Worrall, Figueiredo, Worrall; Sow (Yates 45), Watson (Mighten 85); Ameobi (Diakhaby 57), Silva (Semeda 64), Lolley (Da Costa 45); Grabban. Subs (not used): Smith, Jenkinson, Dawson, Carvalho.

BOOKED: Cash, Ribeiro.

FULHAM (4-3-3): Rodak; Odoi, Bryan, Hector, Ream; Reed, Arter (Johansen 71), Onomah; Cavalaeiro, Kebano (Knockaert 71); Decordova-Reid (Le Marchand 87). Subs (not used): Bettinelli, S. Sessegnon, Christie, Mawson, McDonald, Jasper.

BOOKED: Onomah, Odoi.

GOAL: Arter (45+3).


Parker praises players after Fulham win

Fulham boss Scott Parker praised the way his side coped without key duo Aleksandar Mitrovic and Tom Cairney after they kept in touch with the Championship's top two by beating Nottingham Forest.

Harry Arter's stunning strike just before half-time was enough to earn victory over their fellow promotion hopefuls at the City Ground.

Parker's side are fourth, just four points behind second-placed West Brom, but having played a game more.

"We lost Aleksandar three games ago and we have had to find another way," Parker said. "We were also without Tom Cairney and the players have had to step up.

"Harry has done that. He was fantastic in terms of the goal. It was a fantastic strike.

"I'm very proud of the team. It's a big result but there's a bigger picture.

"It's at this stage where seasons peter away or we go for it. We move on to Friday and Cardiff and, the way we are at the moment, anything can happen."


Harry Arter's stunning strike keeps up Fulham promotion push

CHERRIES loanee Harry Arter's superb strike kept alive Fulham's hopes of automatic promotion from the Championship as they won 1-0 against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

A game of few clear-cut chances was settled in first-half injury time by Arter's left-foot effort from just outside the penalty area which flew into the top corner.

It gave Scott Parker's side a third straight victory.

A bright start to the game saw both sides exert some early pressure with a couple of corners apiece.

The first real chance came after 17 minutes after a mistake by Tim Ream, who was captaining Fulham, mid-way inside his own half.

Ream's error allowed former Cherries striker Lewis Grabban a run towards the penalty area with only Michael Hector between himself and goalkeeper Marek Rodak.

But Hector stood his ground as Grabban attempted to barge past him and the Forest striker's shot was easily fielded by Rodak.

Fulham threatened for the first time as the half-hour mark approached. A driving run from Bobby Decordova-Reid saw him slalom past a sliding Ben Watson challenge before unleashing a swerving effort from 25 yards that dipped just over the crossbar.

Grabban had another chance at the end of the first half following some good work down the right by Matty Cash, but once again he was unable to make the desired contact and this time the ball dribbled harmlessly wide.

Arter had no such problems finding a clean strike moments later.

The midfielder attempted a pass just outside the box but the ball deflected back to him off Watson.

Arter then decided to shoot, sending a left-foot effort arrowing into the top corner of the net.

Forest pushed for an equaliser in the second period but it was not forthcoming and Fulham defending manfully for what could prove to be a crucial victory.

It is understood Fulham have an obligation to buy Sidcup-born Arter, depending on certain performance-based criteria.

This is believed to include whether or not the west London side seal promotion.