Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Fulham: Cyrus Christie winner keeps Fulham in promotion hunt

Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Fulham: Cyrus Christie winner keeps Fulham in promotion hunt

Harry Arter’s equaliser was Fulham’s first goal since the Championship season resumed on 20 June

Fulham kept their Championship automatic promotion hopes alive as they came from behind to beat Queens Park Rangers and put an end to their post-lockdown losing sequence.

Scott Parker’s side had lost both games since resuming their season to two of their main rivals, Brentford and Leeds United.

But, despite trailing inside a minute to a Jordan Hugill header and being without suspended top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic, Fulham had the character and spirit to come back and beat their west London rivals.

Harry Arter levelled after 21 minutes when he cut inside from the right and beat QPR keeper Liam Kelly at his near post with a low left-footed shot that slipped under the left hand of the former Scotland Under-21 man.

Cyrus Christie then claimed all three points with a 75th-minute stunner – the full-back’s first league goal for Fulham on his 52nd appearance.

That helped Fulham keep pace with neighbours Brentford, who won 3-0 at Reading.

Parker’s men remain as they started Tuesday, within two points of the Bees, but they are only two behind second-placed West Bromwich Albion, who face Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Wednesday.

Fulham manage without Mitrovic

Fulham remain in contention for a top-two finish but, more realistically, the victory cements their hold on a play-off place as they are now 10 points clear of seventh-placed Preston, Swansea and Derby.

As for Mark Warburton’s QPR, despite their early lead and a late rally that could so easily have brought an equaliser, they stay 14th, eight points clear of trouble with six games left.

Twice, they so nearly snatched a point with late headers from Ryan Manning. But, having hit the bar with the first before Fulham scrambled clear, he was then just off target with an even better chance.

And perhaps the worst miss QPR had to rue came in the first half when Bright Osayi-Samuel raced onto a long, sweeping ball down the left, got to the byline and squared back only for Luke Amos, in a great position unmarked 15 yards out, to send his right-footed shot just over.

After going behind when Manning crossed for on-loan West Ham United striker Hugill to power home his 14th goal of the campaign, Fulham – without their leading scorer Mitrovic for three games – did then finally settle down.

The visitors had already gone close just before their equaliser when Bobby Decordova-Reid’s speculative long-range effort came back off Kelly’s right-hand post.

Although Kelly was at fault for Arter’s goal, also a first league goal for Fulham, there was not much he could do about the second as former Coventry, Derby and Middlesbrough right-back Christie powerfully drilled in only the eighth goal of his career from 25 yards.

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