Fulham ease to victory over Sheffield United as they continue fight for automatic promotion

Matt Murphy
The Independent
Fulham ease to victory over Sheffield United as they continue fight for automatic promotion
Fulham ease to victory over Sheffield United as they continue fight for automatic promotion

Fulham made it nine home victories in a row as they cruised to a 3-0 win over Sheffield United at Craven Cottage on Tuesday night.

Two first-half goals from the in-form Aleksandar Mitrovic and another from captain Tom Cairney helped them see off the visitors, who were themselves looking for a chance to break into the play-off places.

Fulham are in the best form they’ve had for some time – and the quality of their football shows it – clinching their 11th win in 14 games, while remaining unbeaten since mid-December.

With just ten games to go in the Championship season, they’re still in search of an automatic promotion spot – only Cardiff and Aston Villa stand in the way, with 5 points separating them.

READ MORE: Championship Review - Fulham leapfrog Derby, Bristol City thrash woeful Wednesday

Sheffield United began the game fighting, but were lacking both an edge and top scorer Leon Clarke. It wasn’t long before Slaviša Jokanović’s men then started to take control.

Newcastle loanee Mitrovic has settled nicely into life in south-west London, and his confidence on the ball showed as he held up the play, allowing his teammates space to run in behind him on a couple of occasions.

But it was the Serbian himself who opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark; a low ball in from raiding wing-back Ryan Fredricks found him in the middle to clatter home his fourth goal in as many games. He glided proudly back for the restart, celebrating with a bodybuilder pose.

Sheffield United had their chance to respond from a corner 10 minutes later. An unmarked Clayton Donaldson was picked out from a corner at the far post, but fluffed his chance to the dismay of the travelling Blades.

Shortly after Mitrovic then doubled the lead for Fulham. On the break, a clever ball over from Johansen into the box found the outside of the loanee’s right boot just before half time. A slick move from Fulham, and a chance to flex their muscles. And, much to the crowd’s enjoyment, so did Mitrovic as he was quick to copy his strongman celebration once more.

He should have also had a hat-trick before the half-time whistle too, had he not put a shot from Sessegnon’s pass inches wide.

Although the visitors tried to keep a tight line at the back, and kept a close eye on top-scorer Sessegnon, he wasn’t needed as much as usual as the free-flowing football transcended the second half.

Captain Cairney got in on the action himself just after the hour mark when substitute Lucas Piazon had enough time and space to lay a pass off to the midfielder inside the box. A curling shot from his left foot gave keeper Jamal Blackman no chance.

The hosts closed out the half easily without much of a response. Cheers from the home crowd only put more pressure on the Sheffield United defence as they slipped and almost allowed a fourth late on. By this point, the game was all but done.

What to read next