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  • By Alessandro Schiavone at Groupama Stadium, Lyon

Pitiful Fulham slump to 1-0 defeat at West Bromwich as Mitrovic misses late sitter

A lacklustre performance by Fulham saw West Bromwich deservedly claim all three points thanks to a 1-0 win at the Hawthorns on Tuesday night.

Callum Robinson capitalised on a moment of indecision from Fulham’s backline to fire West Bromwich ahead with an angled effort through Marek Rodak’s legs after 63 minutes.

Aleksandar Mitrovic and Nathaniel Chalobah both had chances to equalise in the final minutes of regular time but the resurgent Baggies hung on to the lead to make it seven points from their last three games, and who knows, rekindle their fading top-six hopes.

West Bromwich Albion could have easily been 3-0 up in the first half such was their dominance and control over the game.

Loaded in attack and assured at the back, the Baggies avenged the 3-0 drubbing earlier this season as they outfought and, barring a brief spell in the end, outplayed the Londoners from start to finish.

The Baggies oozed confidence and style after fighting back from 2-0 to earn a share of the spoils against Huddersfield here at The Hawthorns on Friday night, playing an entertaining brand of football.

They tried to cause a stir against the league leaders Fulham early on but could could not reap the rewards of their high pressing in the opening 45 minutes.

Manager Steve Bruce’s side came close to opening the lead on six minutes, but Karlan Grant fired into the side-netting after a well-weighted pass in behind from Callum Robinson.

The table toppers were extremely passive in the first half, conceding possession to the visitors and failing to fashion a single goalscoring opportunity with 35-goal hero Aleksandar Mitrovic finding himself on the periphery of the game.

Shortly before the hour-mark, Grant had a pop at goal but his first-time volley from around 20 yards out was beaten away by Rodak who did well to storm off his line and punch it clear and away from danger, with Robinson on hand to potentially tap home the rebound.

Grant then had a third chance to break the future Premier League side’s resistance but fluffed his lines through on goal.

Robinson swept out a majestic pass into space, and after making a run in behind Tim Ream, the ex-Charlton striker fired his effort straight at Rodak as Fulham were hanging in.

In the 37th minute journeyman Robinson cut inside Tosin Adarabioyo before unleashing a thumping effort goalwards but Rodak was equal to it.

The Czech international was his side’s top performer in the first period and whenever that is the case it hints at major issues across the pitch.

A lethargic Fulham side failed to show a reaction and kept conceding possession to the hosts, who kept committing numbers forward in their search for a merited opener.

Harrison Reed then nearly prodded the ball into his own net following a low cross into the six-yard box.

But the despite the gulf in quality, nothing separated the two sides when the referee blew the half-time whistle.

After the restart, the lanky Semi Ajayi headed a long ball forward into the box from the right but Grant again wasted a chance to get his side off the mark, directing a free header right into the arms of Rodak.

After labouring for large parts of the game and seeing little of the ball, Fulham showcased why they sit top of the table.

Momentum was shifting but they missed chance after chance. Fabio Carvalhos’ curled effort went a fraction wide from edge of box on 56 minutes before Harry Wilson didn’t do much better 14 minutes later, sending a bending effort wide of the post after finding space.

And if the unplayable Mitrovic fails to bury a chance inside the penalty box after a wonderful square pass from Carvalho you know that it was simply not meant to be.

Bournemouth’s 1-1 draw at Reading ensured however that the out-of-sight Cottagers still have an 11-point advantage at the top of the table and a lot has to go wrong for them not to seal promotion.


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