Fulham 2-0 Nottingham Forest: Player ratings

by Dan on February 4, 2018

Marks out of ten for Slavisa Jokanovic’s side after Fulham recorded their tenth win in thirteen games by beating Nottingham Forest to move into fifth in the Championship yesterday afternoon …

Marcus Bettinelli: Not the Fulham goalkeeper’s busiest afternoon, but boy, didn’t he come up big when called upon? Bailed out Tim Ream in the first half by racing off his line to save with his feet from Matty Cash and then produced a stupendous double save when Tomas Kalas was robbed outside his own box. Looked for all the world as though he was beaten when Apostilos Velios applied the finishing touch after Bettinelli had denied Ben Osborn, but the Fulham keeper made a magnificent save. A man of the match performance. 8

Ryan Fredericks: Buzzed up and down the right flank effectively, but will probably concede he could have done better with his final ball. Fizzed a few dangerous crosses over in the first half, but really came into his own as an attacking threat after half time. Produced a fine ball that Ryan Sessegnon headed over at the far post, but never stopped running and helped to contain Forest’s fluid line of three behind Ben Brereton. 7

Matty Targett: An outstanding home debut. Targett fully deserved his opportunity at Craven Cottage after impressing off the bench at Barnsley last weekend and he combined superbly with Sessegnon throughout. Looked the liveliest man in a white shirt before the break and put in a solid defensive shift as well – frequently winning the ball in the air despite clearly being targeted by Aitor Karanka and his coaching staff. 7

Tomas Kalas: Utterly imperious in the air – heading away forward ball after forward ball – and gave Brereton no change throughout the afternoon. Seemed eager to bring the ball out from the back and carry it forward, although this did bring about a couple of iffy moments. The clearest of examples of this came when Velios robbed him of possession 20 yards from the Fulham goal, only for Bettinelli to make that brilliant double stop. 7

Tim Ream: Uncharacteristically for the American, Ream made two dreadful first half mistakes that should have been punished by more predatory finishing. He tried to shepherd a long ball behind for a corner and was surprised by Brereton’s persistence to keep the ball alive, but a combination of Kalas and Bettinelli got Fulham out of jail. Then, Cash charged down a Ream clearance and Bettinelli had to come charging off his line to save with his feet. Much more composed in the second half and started a number of strong attacks from the heart of the defence. 7

Kevin McDonald: Another commanding display from the Scottish schemer, who stood in again as skipper for the injured Tom Cairney. He lost an early duel with Adlène Guedioura that almost presented a clear chance for the Algerian on the edge of the box, but this was a real rarity as he broke up a number of promising attacks and distributed the ball well to present team-mates with good opportunities. Good forward well to exert further pressure on Forest in the second half and eventually that endeavour told. 7

Ollie Norwood: The Northern Irish midfielder played a more advanced role in the absence of Cairney and was far more effective than he had been at Oakwell last week. Might have given Fulham the lead within the first ten minutes with a bending effort from 25 yards but for a superb save from Pantilmon, but began to dictate the play with real assertiveness from a deeper-lying position. Drove over from long range in first half stoppage time, but continued to move the ball impressively in the second half and spread the ball well for Piazon out to the right for the opening goal. 7

Stefan Johansen: More like the Johansen of last season. The Norwegian set the tone by shutting down Pantilmon and his defenders from the final whistle and gone on the ball in advanced areas more than he has done previously this term, looking a lot sharper as well. Linked well with Targett and Sessegnon down the left in the first period and drove forward from deep after the break. Settled the contest in the last minute of normal time, summoning up reserves of energy to sprint clear of Worrall after stripping him of the ball on the halfway and tucked a measured finish past Pantilmon after a lung-busting run. 7

Lucas Piazon: The Brazilian buzzed around the midfield with real energy from the right side of a fluid front three from the offset. He might have broken the deadlock from a smartly worked corner when his low shot from ten yards was blocked behind on its way towards goal. Piazon never stopped running and got his reward midway through the second half when he cut inside, beat two defenders and shot from the right edge of the box – surprising Pantilmon with the venom of his drive. 7

Ryan Sessegnon: The teenager looked lively from the left, linking up effectively with Targett from the outset, and was understandably quietened by a number of crunching tackles from the Forest midfield. Recovered well after making a number of forays deep into Forest territory and penned the visitors back with his pace and precision in the second half. Might have broken the deadlock with a prodigious leap at the back post to connect with a Fredericks cross, but Fulham’s frustration didn’t last too long. 7

Rui Fonte: The Portuguese striker got very little change out of the Forest centre backs who nullified his presence with imposing physical play from the outset. Made a number of clever runs to find space but barely had a sight of goal in anger, before being replaced by Mitrovic ten minutes into the second half. The Serbian provided more bite and engaged in a battle with the Forest centre halves from the off to keep up the pressure on the visitors. 6

Substitutes:

Aleksandr Mitrovic: A vibrant debut from the Newcastle loanee, who enlivened Fulham in the final third almost as soon as he replaced Fonte. Worked the visiting back four with a number of determined runs right across the pitch and carried the ball forward at pace to unsettle the defence. Might have scored with a couple of headers, but his mere presence occupied defenders – as exemplified when he drew men away from both Piazon and Johansen as they moved in goal for their second half strikes. 7

Floyd Ayite: Brought energy and pace when he stepped off the bench to replace the exhausted Piazon with a couple of minutes left. Nearly extended the lead with almost his first touch, taking an ambitious shot from outside the box when he might have carried the ball into the area – and ran at a tiring Forest defence as Fulham broke forward on the break in the closing stages. 6

Denis Odoi: The Belgian full back came on as a very late replacement for the impressive Targett deep into the stoppage time, but had less than a minute to make an impression after Johansen had sealed the victory. 6

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