It was like the EFL Championship on steroids. Last year’s second-tier champions Fulham deservedly beat the play-off winners, Nottingham Forest, after a three-goal streak in six second-half minutes. Forest lost their fourth consecutive Premier League game on the night Premier League football returned following Quinn’s death.
The fact that Aleksandar Mitrovic didn’t celebrate his 28th birthday with a goal shows that there is a powerful force behind Fulham’s feared No.9. However, these are troubling times for Forest as they try to secure their 22 summer contracts.
Tosin Adarabio, Paulinho and Harrison Reid scored Fulham’s goals in five minutes and 18 seconds, the fastest three goals in the Premier League since Arsenal scored three goals in four minutes and 45 seconds in a draw with 3 -3 with Liverpool in December 2017.
Once again, as against Bournemouth, Forest led at half-time; once again against up-and-coming rivals, they let the lead slip away. As Fulham climb to sixth in the table, Steve Cooper’s side remain in the relegation zone. It’s all very well to spend around £150m on a whole new team, but at some stage pretty soon they will really need to get to know each other.
Fulham were also the better team in the first half as Forest took the lead through Taiwo Avonia. Lewis O’Brien’s late goal ensured a thrilling finale but the away side deserved their third win of the season.
“Even when they scored, I thought we controlled the game,” Silva said. “At halftime we talked and said that everything will be the same, but we are doing it faster. It was fantastic; the way we came back was fantastic.
“The table is not the most important thing; it’s how we work. I’m very happy with the way we’re playing.”
The City Ground failed to observe a minute’s silence in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, perhaps a testament to why postponing all games last weekend was the right decision. The game itself had the feel of a significant opportunity for both. The game was sharp, in an old-fashioned way, with tackles and spirits flaring up in a spirited first half.
Morgan Gibbs-White, who earned a corner when his shot at the near post was deflected behind, headed home before Ryan Yates, captain in Joe Worrall’s absence, headed home his second goal since his move from Union Berlin. for £17m.
Aleksandar Mitrovic, who scored twice in last season’s 4-0 win here, made several runs into the inside-right channel in his bid to become the first Fulham player to score in five consecutive Premier League games.
This stretch of the pitch was a rich groove for Fulham and Willian had plenty to enjoy on his full debut for the visitors. Forest were the first Premier League side to take 100 shots this season and Dean Henderson, their on-loan keeper, showed why he deserves an England call-up by saving Mitrovic’s header and keeping out Tetteh’s near-post shot a break.
However, Fulham took control early in the second half and Forest didn’t know what had hit them. “It’s self-inflicted again,” Cooper said. “Part of our game is positive and we seem to be progressing. But there are other moments where we really look like a new team, there’s no doubt about that.
“That moment of conceding goals is the moment to regroup and stay together. It comes with an experienced team to be with, with connections on the field. That’s something we don’t have because of the nature of how the squad was assembled and the time. We don’t have that.”
Adarabio, deftly beating Yates thanks to Mitrovic’s block, headed in a Willian corner in the 54th minute. Then, after more good work from Willian, Polina got to the edge of the area to sideline Tete into the top corner.
Forest had no chance to come to terms with the changing dynamics of the game as Reed also raced out of midfield to score his first goal for the club following Bobby Decordava-Reid’s cross from the left wing following Mitrovic’s superb pass from the halfway line. .
Cooper went bankrupt as he made attacking substitutions and Lewis O’Brien gave the home side a boost when he slotted home from 15 yards after Adarabioyo could only push Brennan Johnson’s right-wing cross into his path. “It’s one thing to be patient, but at the same time we have to start picking up points,” Cooper admitted.