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  • By Paul Lagan at Craven Cottage

Eight-goal thriller at the Cottage sees Fulham still in with chance of automatic promotion to Premie

Craven Cottage Photo by Paul Lagan

Fulham 5 Sheffield Wednesday 3

Fulham could still steal an automatic slot to the Premier League after a brace of goals from Alexander Mitrovic and Neeskens Kabano saw off dogged Sheffield Wednesday in a goal-fest 5-3 at Craven Cottage this afternoon. Substitute Bobby Decordova-Reid finally ending the resistance of the Yorkshire side to nab the fifth seconds before the end of regulation time.

Goals just flowed easily and regularly like the gentle tide of the adjacent Thames besides the stadium, as the Owls, rugged and aggressive kept on the coattails of their smoother looking opposition.

It’s an unlikely scenario - but with one game to go, Fulham have to beat Wigan Athletic while WBA and Brentford have to lose their final match against QPR and Barnsley respectively to book their spot with the big boys next term.

Which made the start of the game all the more curious as the visitors came out of the blocks all guns blazing, with Fulham looking ponderous on the ball and unsure how to proceed.

Michael Hector had to be in the perfect position on seven minutes as the Yorkshire side produced a fine counter attack. But the centre-back intercepted Joss Windass’s cross, which, if its arrived, would have seen Alessio da Cruz a free run on goal.

Incredibly, and against the run of play the home side took the lead. A long ball by Hector was wonderfully trapped by Neeskens Kebano. In one swift movement, he cut in from the left and let fly with a crisp right-footer that squeezed between Joe Wildsmith’s right and and post.

The confidence from the Whites oozed out from that lead and Cyrus Christie almost doubled the lead on 17 minutes but Wildsmith parried the shot away for a corner.

Another quick break by Windass who split the Fulham defence apart with a magnificent through ball that almost reaped dividends as Kareem Harris raced through. Bu the speedy wide man could only get a weak left-footer on target that Marek Rodak easily snaffled on 24 minutes.

But Fulham showed brilliant clinical finishing after a wonderful passing sequence that started from the back ended up with Alexander Mitrovic with the task of smashing the ball home - which he did with aplomb.

Christie almost made it three two minutes later. His blistering half-volleyed right-footer was well saved by Wildsmith.

Five minutes from the break and Kebano - a constant threat on the left was bundled over by Moses Odubajo. Up stepped Mitrovic who smashed the ball home to put the Londoners 3-0 up.

AnthonyKnockaert had the first chance of the second half, his low, left-footed drive went straight into the midriff of Rodak. But seconds later the visitors took advantage of a shaky Fulham defence and were rewarded with a penalty - substitute Atdhe Nuhiu thumped home to reduce the deficit to two goals.

This knocked the home side back for a period, and it took a while before the whits could get a foothold back in the game, but they did.

When sub Harrison Reed was taken out just on the edge of the Wednesday penalty are, up stepped Kebano.

Wednesday put in front of him a tall wall, so the winger opted something different and daisy-cutter his right-footer that foxed the jumping wall, allowing the ball a free run inti the back of the net on 73 minutes.

But like an irritating rash, the Owls just would not go away and they got there second on 77 minuted when substitute Jacob Murphy managed to drive home a 20-yarder that took a deflection on the way.

With two minutes left on the clock, the Owls got their third when a powerful header by Nuhiu zipped passed Rodak to set up a nervy finish.

But substitute Bobby Decordova-Reid finished off the Owls resistance with a pile-driver from long range.

Teams: Fulham, Rodak, Hector, Kebano, Johansen, Mitrovic, Ream, Arter, Le Marchand, Christie, Knockaert, Onomah

Subs, Bettinelli, Odoi, Manson, McDonald, Cairney, Decordova-Reid, Reed, Bryan, Sessegnon

Sheff Weds, Wildsmith, Harris, Pelupessey, Bannan, Borner, Lees, Louongo, Odubajo, Iorfa, Da Cruz,

Subs: Dawson, Palmer, Rhodes, Murphy, Nuhiu, Wickham, Reach, Hunt, Waldock

Referee: Darren England

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