Fulham created some distance between themselves and West Brom in third place in the Championship with a convincing 3-0 victory over the Baggies at Craven Cottage this afternoon.
An Aleksandar Mitrovic hat-trick proved to be the difference between the two sides in the capital, with the Serbian international taking his tally to 18 this season.
It was the hosts who started on the front foot, with their relentless pressing and tenacity helping them to pick the pockets of West Brom and subsequently they enjoyed good spells of possession.
The home side were unable to create anything clear-cut in the opening exchanges, although they restricted The Baggies to very little in the attacking third.
Harry Wilson and Jean Michael Seri both had half chances in the first 10 minutes for The Cottagers, but they could not work Sam Johnstone.
Fulham were awarded a penalty in quite controversial circumstances in the 18th minute, when Kyle Bartley was adjudged to have brought down Aleksandar Mitrovic in the area.
The Serb stepped up and fired past Johnstone, in what was his 16th league goal already this season.
Albion almost responded instantly to the hosts opener, but Karlan Grant, who was forced a little wider than he would have liked, fired wide of Marek Rodak’s left hand post.
Neeskens Kebano grew in influence as the half wore on, and after neat footwork to get past two players on the left wing, he teed up Seri, who blasted his effort over the bar.
The Baggies seemingly woke up around the half hour mark, with Matty Phillips, Jake Livermore and Matt Clarke, all having efforts with the central defender working Rodak.
But Fulham’s lead was doubled in the 41st minute, when Seri applied pressure on Robert Sondgrass, with the 34-year-old playing the ball to Mitrovic, who on the stretch, guided the ball beyond Johnstone and into the bottom corner.
Starting the second half in a positive manner, The Baggies nearly halved the deficit in the 47th minute when Conor Townsend flashed an effort across goal after an excellent passing move.
In the 57th minute, West Brom carelessly gave the ball away from a free kick in their own half, with Kebano capitalising on the loose ball, however, the winger fired an effort wide of Johnstone’s post.
As the second half wore on, West Brom started to pile the pressure on, but their hopes of a comeback was near enough shattered in the 7oth minute when Darnell Furlong was sent off for a tackle on Wilson who was racing through on goal.
Mitrovic completed his hat-trick in the 83rd minute, following a well-worked Fulham move, ending with excellent footwork from Wilson who teed up the in-form striker for goal number 18 already this season.
Tosin Adarabioyo was then shown a red card for a heavy tackle on Callum Robinson, with Fulham making their three substitutions moments earlier.