Fulham 1-0 Swansea: Aleksandar Mitrovic makes up for a missed penalty with late winner
Fulham 1-0 Swansea: Aleksandar Mitrovic makes up for a missed penalty with late winner to keep Cottagers in automatic promotion hunt
- Aleksandar Mitrovic continued his fine form with a late winner for hosts Fulham
- His late winner ensured Fulham remain in the hunt for automatic promotion
- Mitrovic missed an 89th-minute penalty before netting winner in stoppage time
Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic marked Scott Parker’s one-year anniversary in charge of the club with a stoppage-time winner against Swansea — and the manager hailed his 23-goal Championship top scorer as ‘first class’.
The Serbia international scored late on to add to two goals he netted in the reverse fixture in November.
‘He’s certainly up there,’ said Parker when quizzed on whether the 25-year-old is the best striker in the league.
Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic heads the Cottagers home to win them the game at the death
The Championship top scorer had just moments earlier missed penalty after kissing the ball
Swansea’s Conor Gallagher stands dejected as Fulham players celebrates Mitrovic’s late goal
MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS
FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Rodak, Odoi, Hector, Ream, Bryan, Arter (McDonald 90+6), Cairney, Knockaert (Kamara 83), Reid, Cavaleiro (Kebano 77), Mitrovic
Subs not used: Bettinelli, Johansen, Christie, Sessegnon
Goals: Aleksandar Mitrovic 90+4
SWANSEA (4-2-3-1): Woodman, Naughton (Roberts 82), Cabango, Rodon, Bidwell; Fulton, Grimes; Kalulu (Garrick 64), Gallagher, Ayew; Brewster
Subs not used: Mulder, Dyer, Wilmot, Dhanda, Cullen
Booked: Brewster, Fulton, Ayew, Naughton
Referee: T Robinson
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‘I still think that Mitro lacks the belief sometimes and it’s moments like tonight that will determine whether you’re a top-class player or top-class athlete. It is how you react — and his reaction after missing a penalty was one that was first class.’
Mitrovic continued his impressive form with a towering header to seal the win for Fulham, now third in the table, after earlier seeing his penalty dramatically saved.
Parker’s side were winless in three games and this will help their confidence ahead of a season-defining run of fixtures — with fellow promotion chasers Preston, Bristol City, Brentford and Leeds all to play in the coming weeks.
It looked as though Fulham were heading for another draw as they came up against a well-drilled Swansea outfit.
Parker’s side dominated possession and created the most chances but could not find the breakthrough until the fourth-minute of injury time thanks to their star man.
Swansea City’s Matt Grimes (right) appeals to the referee for a handball in the second half
Swansea’s Joe Rodon is challenged by Fulham’s Ivan Cavaleiro during the Championship clash
Mitrovic rose above the Swansea defence to meet substitute Aboubakar Kamara’s delightful cross. He headed the ball past goalkeeper Freddie Woodman in explosive style.
Just moments before he was denied by Woodman from the penalty spot after Connor Roberts was deemed to have fouled Neeskens Kebano.
Parker will see it as a deserved victory after controlling the game from the first whistle, although Swansea looked a threat on the counter.
Fulham could have taken the lead inside the opening 10 minutes. Anthony Knockaert called Woodman into action in the first 60 seconds with a low driven shot.
Moments later and Woodman’s crossbar was shaking following an inswinging corner from Ivan Cavaleiro, who was brought into the starting line-up by Parker for the clash.
Mitrovic tried his luck in the first half but Swansea had the best chances in the first 45 minutes through Andre Ayew and Jake Bidewell.
Ayew found himself through on goal but after shrugging off the challenge from Fulham defender Tim Ream was thwarted by a combination of Fulham goalkeeper Marek Rodak and full back Denis Odoi as he tried take the ball round Ream.
Ivan Cavaleiro battles with Swansea City’s Joe Rodon as the sides fought to break the deadlock
With Fulham growing increasingly frustrated, Steve Cooper’s side almost broke the deadlock from their first corner of the match. Bidewell’s header went past the post from close range with Rodak rooted to the spot.
It was a frantic end to the game with Swansea having a penalty appeal of their own before Mitrovic went from zero to hero.
Cooper was left frustrated by the refereeing decisions, he said: ‘Any late goal like that is always a tough one to take. We would have taken the point, we came here to win but we’re struggling to look past the penalty decisions which were cruel on us really.’
After three games without a win Parker won’t care how late the victory came as their hopes of automatic promotion to the Premier League remain alive.