EFL

Championship: Fulham and Forest narrow the gap on Leeds

By Sports Desk February 08, 2020

Fulham moved just one point behind Championship leaders West Bromwich Albion after securing back-to-back victories with a 1-0 win over Blackburn Rovers.

Fellow promotion hopefuls Nottingham Forest are just one point further back in fourth after they condemned Leeds United to a second straight defeat.

In-form Brentford sit fifth after a thrilling win over Middlesbrough and Preston North End, who complete the top six, won 2-1 at Wigan Athletic.

Elsewhere there were victories for Huddersfield Town, Derby County, Cardiff City and Stoke City, while Barnsley drew 1-1 in their Yorkshire derby with Sheffield Wednesday and Reading were held by the same scoreline at home against Hull City.
 

CALAMITOUS CASILLA AT FAULT AS LEEDS LOSE AGAIN

Kiko Casilla made a crucial goalkeeping error for the second week running as Leeds slipped to third defeat in four Championship matches, losing 2-0 at Forest.

After conceding a soft goal in his side's 1-0 defeat at home to QPR a week earlier, Casilla allowed Sammy Ameobi to score with a near-post shot that the former Real Madrid man should have had covered.

Marcelo Bielsa's never recovered and failed to create the glut of chances that have typified their games this season, although Liam Cooper ought to have scored when presented with a free header from which Brice Samba made a one-handed save at the second attempt.

Having weathered some late Leeds pressure, Forest doubled their lead when the excellent Joe Lolley robbed Jack Harrison of possession and ran clean through on goal where he squared to Tyler Walker to score in the last minute of the game.

MITROVIC STRIKE EXTENDS FULHAM'S GOOD FORM

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored his 20th Championship goal of the season to earn Fulham the points at Ewood Park that made it four wins out of five in the league for the Cottagers.

Blackburn went into the game undefeated at home since September but were lucky to go in goalless at the break after Bradley Johnson almost turned Joe Bryan's cross into his own net, but Rovers goalkeeper Christian Walton scrambled across to clear the danger.

Fulham kept the pressure on in the second half and Walton made a diving, one-handed save from a Tom Cairney shot 11 minutes after the restart.

There was nothing Walton could do to as Mitrovic latched onto Bryan's cut-back and fired a low shot into the corner of the net from 12 yards to became the first player to reach 20 goals across the top four tiers of English football in 2019-20.

 

WATKINS WINNER KEEPS GRIFFIN PARK BUZZING

Ollie Watkins followed hot on the heels of Mitrovic with his 20th Championship goal of the season and his strike clinched a dramatic 3-2 victory for Brentford over Middlesbrough.

He struck late to settle matters after Boro had twice come from behind to run the Bees close, with Thomas Frank's side hosting Leeds on Tuesday. 

Derby won by the same scoreline at Swansea City, Tom Lawrence proving to be the hero for Phillip Cocu's men. 

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