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Fulham 6-2 Bristol City: FLW report as hosts go top after Craven Cottage goalfest

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Aleksandar Mitrovic’s first-half hat-trick helped Fulham beat Bristol City 6-2 at Craven Cottage this afternoon to move top of the Championship. 

City had won their last five at the west London ground and were unbeaten there since 1997 but – thanks to goals from Mitrovic, Neeskens Kebano, and Fabio Carvalho – Marco Silva’s side put that record right in comprehensive style despite the best efforts of Antoine Semenyo, who scored a well-taken brace for the visitors.

Bournemouth’s slip up in the lunchtime kick-off against Luton Town was impossible to ignore ahead of the start – not least because of the roar that rang out from the Craven Cottage concourses when Kal Naismith’s 96th-minute winner went in – and meant that only a draw would be needed for Silva’s team to regain top spot.

Kick-off was delayed by a quarter of an hour due to a power outage but an electric first half meant that was quickly forgotten about. Fulham beat Reading 7-0 in midweek and seven more were scored before halftime at Craven Cottage, though the Robins got two of them, including Semenyo’s opener after seven minutes.

Max O’Leary, preferred to Dan Bentley in the City goal once again, did well to catch an inswinging corner before launching a counter-attack through Alex Scott, who fed Semenyo outside the box and the Robins forward slalomed Tom Cairney with ease before hammering an effort into the back of the net.

Mitrovic looked back to his inevitable best in the midweek win and he dragged his side back level 14 minutes later with the first of his three goals in the game, holding off Zak Vyner with ease before directing Cairney’s floated cross into the bottom corner with a wonderfully weighted header.

Fulham began to exert their dominance after the equaliser and five goals in the last 16 minutes of the half saw them take a 5-2 lead into the break – though it was City that once again took the lead through Semenyo.

The 22-year-old grabbed his second with phenomenal solo goal in the 29th minute. Collecting the ball on the halfway line, he shrugged off both Tim Ream and Harrison Reed as he drove to the edge of the box and fired a low strike in off the post.

The away fans’ celebrations were quickly muted, however, as Fulham went right back up the other end and equalised through Kebano’s header.

With nine minutes to go until the break, Silva’s side went ahead for the first time as Fabio Carvalho was given far too much space and curled an effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

From then on it was the Mitrovic show. The striker is on course to smash the single-season Championship goalscoring record and showed his dominance both on the ground and in the air – rising highest to nod in a corner and then smashing a strike into the top corner – to complete a first-half hat-trick.

The first 10 minutes after the break were quiet in comparison to the frenzied 45 that they proceeded but Kebano’s wonder strike after 57 minutes made up for that.

The forward took down a high ball inside the box with a stunning first touch and then swivelled before hammering in an unsaveable effort from a tight angle.

He could and perhaps should have completed his hat-trick moments later when Vyner’s slip allowed him an uncontested effort on goal from five yards out but he put it wide.

City were not without attempts of their own as they looked to close the deficit but Tomas Kalas’ close-range header was put over the bar and Andi Weimann could only sting the gloves of Marek Rodak.

Feint cries of ‘we are top of the league’ rang out from the stands in the last moments of the game and Tim Robinson’s final whistle confirmed that as a fact.

You feel Birmingham City will likely be dreading their trip to the capital in midweek.

FULL TIME: FULHAM 6-2 BRISTOL CITY


London-based sports journalist at Snack Media EFL accredited, graduate of New Associates and the University of Brighton

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Fulham 6-2 Bristol City: FLW report as hosts go top after Craven Cottage goalfest

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