MX23RW : Monday, November 19 01:32:59

Result: Fulham beat playoff hopefuls Millwall to go second

Result: Fulham beat Millwall to go second
© Offside
Fulham put the pressure back on Cardiff City in the race for automatic promotion with a 3-0 win over Championship playoff hopefuls Millwall at The Den.

Fulham climbed above Cardiff City into the Championship's second automatic promotion spot with a 3-0 victory over playoff-chasing Millwall at The Den this evening.

The Cottagers withstood Millwall's best efforts in the first half before showing their class after the break to put the pressure back on the Bluebirds in the quest to follow Wolverhampton Wanderers to the Premier League.

There were second-half goals for Ryan Sessegnon, Kevin McDonald and Aleksandar Mitrovic as Slavisa Jokanovic's side ended Millwall's 17-match unbeaten run, while extending their own to 22 matches.

Millwall had a clear height advantage from set pieces and that nearly paid dividends on four minutes when Jake Cooper shook off Denis Odoi only to head against the crossbar from eight yards out.

The hosts continued their early crossing assault and were perhaps unfortunate to have a goal disallowed on 14 minutes, when Jed Wallace was penalised for climbing on Matt Targett before George Saville swept home the ball from close range.

Fulham boasted their own aerial target in Mitrovic, and the on-loan Newcastle United striker got above Shaun Hutchinson from a Targett cross but could not direct his 22nd-minute header on target.

Millwall's prowess from crosses forced Marcus Bettinelli to try to take charge of his box, but one flap from the Fulham goalkeeper fell kindly to Wallace and he had to be bailed out by Tim Ream's last-ditch clearance off the line.

Another golden chance went begging for the hosts when Steve Morison overcooked a simple square cross to strike partner Lee Gregory, who otherwise would have had a free header from six yards out.

The full-backs were a useful attacking outlet for Fulham and Targett came close to breaking the deadlock in first-half stoppage time when he rattled the crossbar from 25 yards after being teed up by Tom Cairney.

Fulham raised their game significantly in the second period and took the lead within a minute of the restart, as newly-crowned Championship Player of the Season Sessegnon slotted through the legs of Jordan Archer, after he had parried a shot on the turn from Mitrovic, for a 15th goal of the season.

McDonald has been an unsung hero for the Cottagers all season but he had his moment in a high-stakes London derby as he skilfully skipped past Saville in midfield and bent a long-range shot beyond Archer.

Millwall could not recapture the attacking threat that they showed in the first half and were in frequent danger of falling further behind, with Sessegnon working Archer and going within a whisker of the bottom corner with a pair of left-footed drives.

However it was the weaker right foot of Mitrovic which put the nail in the Millwall coffin as he thrashed a shot into the top corner on 89 minutes, after substitute Tomas Kalas had skipped out from defence with the ball.

Their biggest home defeat of the season might not be a nail in the coffin of Millwall's playoff hopes though, as they hang onto sixth place heading into the weekend, albeit with a group of five teams chasing them down.

Meanwhile Fulham are now two points above Cardiff, although the Welsh outfit do have two games in hand.

MILLWALL (4-4-2): Archer; Romeo (O'Brien, 87'), Hutchinson, Cooper, Meredith (Cahill, 77'); Marshall (Elliott, 65'), Williams, Saville, Wallace; Gregory, Morison

FULHAM (4-3-3): Bettinelli; Fredericks (Christie, 90'), Odoi, Ream, Targett; McDonald, Johansen, Cairney; Piazon (Kalas, 83'), Mitrovic, Sessegnon

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Aleksandar Mitrovic in action during the Championship game between Fulham and Sheffield United on March 6, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Norwich CityNorwich1710342820833
2Middlesbrough178721981131
3Leeds UnitedLeeds1786329171230
4Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd179352719830
5West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom1784537251228
6Derby CountyDerby178452520528
7Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest176922316727
8Swansea CitySwansea177551913626
9Blackburn RoversBlackburn176832021-126
10Queens Park RangersQPR178271822-426
11Aston Villa176652723424
12Birmingham CityBirmingham175932320324
13Bristol City176472019122
14Stoke CityStoke175751920-122
15Brentford175662723421
16Wigan AthleticWigan176291926-720
17Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds175572130-920
18Preston North EndPreston174672630-418
19Rotherham UnitedRotherham174671423-918
20Reading174492429-516
21Millwall174492229-716
22Hull City174491624-816
23Bolton WanderersBolton174491123-1216
24Ipswich TownIpswich171881428-1411

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