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Result: Harry Arter strike keeps Fulham promotion push on track

Result: Harry Arter strike keeps Fulham promotion push on track
© Reuters
A third successive victory keep the Cottagers in the hunt for a top-two finish.

Harry Arter's superb strike kept alive Fulham's hopes of automatic promotion from the Championship as they won 1-0 against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

A game of few clear-cut chances was settled in first-half injury time by Arter's left-foot effort from just outside the penalty area which flew into the top corner of the net.

It gave Fulham a third straight victory and moved them to within four points of second-placed West Brom, who host Derby on Wednesday.

A first defeat since the restart for Forest is likely to end their hopes of catching the top two and mean they have to settle for a play-off spot.

The hosts made two changes as Tiago Silva and Sammy Ameobi were restored to the starting line up, with Ryan Yates and Joia Nuno Da Costa among the substitutes.

There were three changes for Fulham. One was enforced after Tom Cairney suffered a knock against Birmingham, while Anthony Knockaert and Cyrus Christie dropped down to the bench. Joe Bryan, Neeskens Kebano and Saturday's match-winning goal scorer Joshua Onomah were recalled.

A bright start to the game saw both sides exert some early pressure with a couple of corners apiece.

The first real chance came after 17 minutes after a mistake by Tim Ream, who was captaining Fulham in the absence of Cairney, mid-way inside his own half.

Ream's error allowed Lewis Grabban a run towards the penalty area with only Michael Hector between himself and goalkeeper Marek Rodak. But Hector stood his ground as Grabban attempted to barge past him and the Forest striker's shot was easily fielded by Rodak.

Fulham threatened for the first time as the half-hour mark approached. A driving run from Bobby Decordova-Reid saw him slalom past a sliding Ben Watson challenge before unleashing a swerving effort from 25 yards that dipped just over the crossbar.

Grabban had another chance at the end of the first half following some good work down the right by Matty Cash, but once again he was unable to make the desired contact and this time the ball dribbled harmlessly wide.

Arter had no such problems finding a clean strike moments later. The midfielder attempted a pass just outside the box but the ball deflected back to him off Watson. Arter then decided to shoot, sending a left-foot shot arrowing into the top corner of the net.

Forest responded to the setback positively at the start of the second half, putting their opponents under pressure with a succession of corners, but it was not until the 65th minute that they worked Rodak.

Alfa Semedo sent in a shot from the edge of the area but the Fulham goalkeeper held on to it well. Shortly afterwards, Oliveira Ribeiro found himself in a promising position but was unable to keep his effort down.

Bryan did likewise at the other end before Knockaert sent a shot skidding along the rain-soaked surface and into Brice Samba's gloves.

It was end-to-end as the game reached the final stages and Rodka had to be alert to catch Da Costa's looping header.

Forest pushed for an equaliser but it was not forthcoming and Fulham defending manfully for what could prove to be a crucial victory.

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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CLeeds UnitedLeeds46289977354293
3Brentford462491380384281
5Cardiff CityCardiff4619161168581073
6Swansea CitySwansea461816126253970
7Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest461816125850870
8Millwall461717125751668
9Preston North EndPreston461812165954566
10Derby CountyDerby461713166264-264
11Blackburn RoversBlackburn461712176663363
12Bristol City461712176065-563
13Queens Park RangersQPR461610206776-958
14Reading461511205958156
15Stoke CityStoke46168226268-656
16Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds461511205866-856
17Middlesbrough461314194861-1353
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield461312215270-1851
19Luton TownLuton46149235482-2851
20Birmingham CityBirmingham461214205475-2150
21Barnsley461213214969-2049
RCharlton AthleticCharlton461212225065-1548
RWigan AthleticWigan461514175756147
RHull City46129255787-3045

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