Fulham comeback dashed after late penalty controversy against Bristol City
Fulham 1 Bristol City 2
Fulham were denied what appeared to be a clear-cut penalty in injury time as they slipped to a third home defeat of the season.
They looked dead and buried entering the last five minutes 2-0 down but Abou Kamara scored to set up a grandstand finish.
And in a frantic finale, which also saw two other subs almost combine to score – Neeskens Kebano heading a Cyrus Christie cross onto the bar – ref Jeremy Simpson waved play on after what looked to have been a trip on Kebano by City's Callum O'Dowda.
The official booked Tom Cairney, who led the protests, and the crowd weighed in, voicing its displeasure at the referee, who had been on the receiving end of catcalls throughout.
The win was City’s fifth in a row at the Cottage and ended a run of four straight wins for the Whites, who travel to Preston on Tuesday for their next game,
Fulham started well enough and there was an early chance when Joe Bryan – playing against his old club - swung in a wicked cross but Anthony Knockaert could not get over the ball, and lifted it into the Putney End from six yards out.
Not long after, Stefan Johansen’s perfect chip forward gave Ivan Cavaleiro a run on goal towards a kindly bouncing ball, but keeper Dan Bentley came out to smother.
Yet if the hope was that this would be a stroll towards a fifth straight win, the visitors soon dispelled it with their quick tempo and high press which caused problems and hurried Scott Parker’s men into uncharacteristic mistakes.
Marek Rodak was grateful a Famara Diedhiou header lacked power and came straight at him after Niclas Eliasson had floated a cross in from the right.
The next ball into the box from Eliasson had a different outcome on 26 minutes – the Swede picking up a loose ball near the left byline and chipping back for midfielder Josh Brownhill to head home.
There was an early opportunity to change the narrative at the restart when Cavaleiro flicked a ball through for Knockaert, but the onrushing Bentley, and a clutch of chasing defenders, blocked the chance.
Mitrovic, well-marshalled by City’s defenders in the first half, finally got in on the act with a stooping header from a Bryan cross but was well off target.
Then the Serb came closer, controlling a long pass from Johansen, before sending a rising shot over the top from outside the box. Cairney pinged another effort at Bentley.
Parker threw on Abou Kamara after 68 minutes in place of Josh Onomah – the winger perhaps unlucky not to have started in the first place given his recent form, and he had a big say in the home side's late charge.
But on 76 minutes, a slick move had the visitors 2-0 up. Brownhill’s smart backheel gave Hungarian midfielder Adam Nagy the chance to get to the byline around Tim Ream and his ball across goal gave Diedhiou the simplest of tap-ins.
Kebano came on and his rifled effort in the 86th minute was saved at full stretch by Bentley, but Kamara turned in the rebound to set up the controversial finale.
The Whites had six players booked on a fractious afternoon when the visitors frustrated them and they felt they were on the wrong end of too many decisions, but they remain third in the table.
Line up: Rodak – Odoi (Christie 87), Mawson, Ream, Bryan – Onomah (Kamara 68), Johansen, Cairney – Knockaert, Mitrovic, Cavaleiro (Kebano 82). Subs not used: Bettinelli, Christie, O’Riley, De la Torre, Sessegnon.