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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Craven Cottage

Willian's poise from the spot gives Fulham precious victory over Wolves

Fulham (1) 3 Iwobi 7, Willian pen 52, pen 90+3

Wolverhampton Ws (1) 2 Cunha 22, Hwang pen 75

Two penalties from the ice-cool Willian gave Fulham the win they so badly needed to ease fears of being dragged down into trouble in the Premier League rat race.

His second in injury time following a predictable VAR intervention gave the Whites a first win since the October 7 victory over Sheffield United and was only their fourth of the campaign.

And although they scored only once in open play, the return of three goals was a welcome break from a narrative which had seen only 10 goals from their opening 12 league fixtures.

If Fulham hoped to shed this season's goal-shy reputation, the omens were not great that they would do it against Wolves. The previous six clashes had all ended in binary results, with three draws (two 1-1s and a 0-0) and three 1-0 defeats.

There had also only been one win for the Whites in the last eight clashes between the sides at the Cottage.

Then there was the curse of Monday night fixtures. The Whites had lost their previous six on these nights, which was another unwanted stat they needed to kill.

Marco Silva badly needed signs that his side are capable of goals and only had to wait seven minutes to get what he craved. Antonee Robinson exchanged passes with Willian on the left and a low pass from the American was swept in at the near post by Alex Iwobi for his first of the season.

Tails up, Tom Cairney almost added a second moments later with a good low connection from the edge of the box, which Jose Sa got behind. The Scot always adds greater craft to Fulham's endeavours and he had another influential evening.

The visitors hit back. A loose pass from Harrison Reed nearly gifted Wolves a route back - ex-Fulham loanee Mario Lemina feeding Hee-chan Hwang for a gallop at goal which ended with a thudding drive against the crossbar.

Then, fine work down the right by Jean-Ricner Bellegarde outfoxed Robinson and the winger stood up a perfect cross for Matheus Cunha to power home at the far post - his header giving Bernd Leno no chance.

Willian restored Fulham's lead just before the hour with a calmly taken penalty after ref Michael Salisbury decided Nelson Semedo's challenge on Cairney had been enough to bring him down. A VAR check did not contradict his impression.

Iwobi almost cashed in on a defensive mix-up from the visitors by bearing down on goal and letting fly. Sa was forced to tip over and the Whites could have done with the cushion of another goal because they conceded a penalty on 73 minutes when Tim Ream barged into Hwang and the Korean exacted retribution from 12 yards.

But in the end, Fulham got one more pen of their own when Stuart Attwell on VAR flagged up a challenge by Joao Gomes on Harry Wilson which invited the sanction that Wolves boss Gary O'Neil would have been dreading.

Whites: (4-2-3-1) Leno - Castagne, Bassey, Ream, Robinson - Iwobi, Reed - Cairney (Lukic 90+5), Pereira (Wilson 76), Willian (Toson 90+5) - Jiminez (Vinicius 76)

Wolves: (3-5-2) Sa - Kilman, Bueno, Gomes - Nelson Semedo, Bellegarde (Kalajdzic 62), Lemina - Joao Gomes, Ait-Nouri (Doherty 19) - Hwang Hee-chan, Matheus Cunha (Doyle 83)

Attendance: 24,366


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