Fulham 0-1 Nottingham Forest: Philip Zinckernagel strikes winner as Steve Cooper’s side hold charge | football news

Philip Zinckernagel’s solitary goal prevented Fulham from clinching the Sky Bet Championship title and increased Nottingham Forest’s chances of going up automatically with them.

Marco Silva’s side, who achieved promotion on 19 April, had to improve on second-placed Bournemouth’s result to secure top spot.

Instead, it was Forest who ended up celebrating a win that moved them up to third place and three points behind the Cherries, who host them on Tuesday 3 May.

Fulham dominated possession and took 20 shots but lamented not finding the net in an end-to-end encounter.

It started with Jack Colback testing Fulham goalkeeper Marek Rodak with an early effort from long range before Fulham responded with a Harry Wilson shot that hit Djed Spence and bounced wide.

Tim Ream failed to land a backheel attempt on the resulting corner kick and it wasn’t long before Aleksandar Mitrovic’s first chance of the night came: a downward header from five yards wide.

Both sides sped up quickly with some deft passing, with Brennan Johnson, watched by Brentford manager Thomas Frank, firing through the goal and wide for Forest.

News that Bournemouth were 2-0 down at Swansea with just 12 minutes played buoyed up both groups of supporters, and three minutes later Forest were buoying a bizarre opener.

Remaining Nottingham Forest matches

  • Swansea (H) – Saturday 30th April, 3pm
  • Bournemouth (A) – Tuesday, May 3, 7:00 p.m.
  • Casco (A) – Saturday, May 7, 12:30 p.m.

Fulham claimed there had been a foul on Neco Williams in the build-up, but center back Ream and goalkeeper Rodak got terribly tangled up in the box and allowed Zinckernagel to come in and push Sam Surridge’s pass over the line.

Fabio Carvalho fired an instant chance to equalize directly with Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba before Mitrovic saw a header from the corner deflected over the crossbar. The Serbian striker ended the break with a free-kick that also went too high.

Fulham started the second half with intent and Mitrovic headed in again after Samba touched Wilson’s cross.

But Rodak redeemed himself with a point-blank save from Surridge after another error by Ream allowed Johnson to gallop down the right and find the striker at the far post.

Carvalho was denied just after the hour mark, but a good save was made by Samba, who dove to deflect the teenager’s curling effort.

Home fans thought referee Keith Stroud had signaled a handball penalty after consulting with an assistant, but it soon became clear that Carvalho had been caught offside.

The excellent Samba saved from Wilson, but Rodak was needed at the other end to prevent Johnson from finishing the victory for Forest.

The Reds withstood a barrage of late pressure, but Fulham can claim the crown with a favorable result at home to another team with promotion hopes, Luton, on Monday 2 May.

What the managers said…

from fulham Marco Silva: “It wasn’t a good game to watch. The players wanted to get the job done tonight, but we didn’t play at our best level at all. But the pressure to complete is the best pressure we can have. We have to learn from this. In certain moments we didn’t do the basics. We had to control the game in our own way and in the first half we didn’t do that.”

“The goal was strange. It was a clear foul, the player jumped on Neco [Williams]. I saw it and the fourth official has to see it too. The goal we conceded was our fault, but it was Neco’s fault.”

nottingham forest Steve Cooper: “It is a brilliant victory in the most difficult game of the season. I am sure that Fulham will be the champion. We attacked the game from the beginning and forced them to make a mistake. Fulham had more control of the ball, which is not what I usually do.” I like it, but I will accept it because we made as many chances as they did. It was a case of doing everything right in terms of defense. We show heart and soul with screens to keep the ball out of our net.

“Swansea on Saturday is the only thing on our minds. We need to bounce back and see where we can improve. It’s been our focus so far and there’s no need to change.”

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