Fulham roar back to the top of the table after blitzing Bristol City with Mitrovic treble
Fulham (5) 6 Mitrovic 20, 41, 45 Kebano 31, 57 Carvalho 36
Bristol City (2) 2 Semenyo 7, 29
Aleksandar Mitrovic took his domestic season’s tally to 27 with a first-half hat-trick as Fulham made it 13 goals in a few days to fire their way back to the top of the Championship.
The Whites were stunned by two superb individual goals from Robins striker Antoine Semenyo in the first half but are in irresistible form, and they responded with a blitz of goals.
Fulham started with an obvious spring in their step – scoring seven in the previous match tends to do that to a side. They also had the boost before kick-off of seeing their promotion rivals Bournemouth sliding to a last-gasp defeat at Luton.
They were soon carrying on where they left off at Reading in midweek, when they hit seven, even if it was the visitors who rocked the boat by drawing first blood on seven minutes.
It was an excellent individual effort too from Semenyo, who side-stepped a defender just outside the box before rifling into the top corner.
The Whites were back on level terms when Mitrovic rose to nod home Harry Wilson’s dinked cross from the right and that got the passing machine functioning again. Soon those crisp moves were creating openings galore.
Neeskens Kebano forced a save and Mitrovic almost bagged a second headed goal as the Whites started to move through the gears – Max O’Leary doing well to stretch back and tip over.
Just as a second goal seemed on the cards, Semenyo dazzled again with a fine breakaway goal, turning past Tim Ream and then outpacing the Fulham defence from half way before finding the net with a low shot off the far post.
But Mitrovic’s prowess in the air restored parity moments later, when he again outjumped the last man to nod down a long cross for Kebano to bury with a header from three yards.
And with momentum fully restored, Fabio Carvalho turned on the style, taking on a retreating defence and finding the far corner with a perfectly placed shot before Mitrovic got on the end of a Tom Cairney corner to extend the lead.
The Serb then capped a half of brilliant, bullying centre-forward play when he took delivery of a Cairney pass before turning onto his left foot and sending another blistering shot into the top corner.
He received rapturous applause when he was withdrawn with 12 minutes to go – a well-earned breather before Tuesday’s re-arranged fixture against Birmingham City at the Cottage.
After the break, Kebano nabbed his second, controlling a hopeful ball into the area and being allowed to turn and lash into the roof of the net.
“We want seven,” chanted the fans, perhaps showing rather limited ambition for once, considering there was still more than half an hour to go. But in the event, they did not quite match the midweek rout – foot well and truly taken off the gas for the latter stages.
Whites: (4-2-3-1) Rodak – Tete, Tosin, Ream, Robinson – Cairney (Chalobah72), Reed – Wilson, Carvalho, Kebano (Decordova-Reid 74) – Mitrovic (Muniz 78) Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Hector, Odoi, Stansfield
Robins: (3-4-1-2) O’Leary - Vyner, Kalas, Pring – Scott, Massengo (Atkinson 50), King, Dasilva (Martin 50) – O'Dowda (Bakinson 76) – Semenyo, Weimann. Subs not used: Bentley, Wells, Benarous, Palmer