Mick Conroy grabbed the winner as Fulham returned to winning ways by beating Northampton Town in a physical contest at Sixfields this afternoon.

The home side were furious when they were denied an opening goal by referee Mark Halsey’s whistle after a mistake by Mark Walton appeared to hand Neil Grayson the simplest strike he will score all season. Halsey ruled it for a foul and the game immediately became much more feisty. Conroy went close with an audacious lob from nearly fifty yards out but scored a more prosaic finish heading home from three yards at the back post after Darren Freeman’s scissor kick had clattered against the crossbar.

Fulham had to show tremendous fortitude in the face of a second-half onslaught from the Cobblers and manager Micky Adams, who had to name himself amongst the substitutes again due to a midfield injury crisis, saluted their resolve after celebrating what he described as ‘a big result’ with the 1,300 travelling supporters.

NORTHAMPTON TOWN: Woodman, Rennie, Sampson, Maddison (Peer 67), Clarkson, Gibb (White 67), Hunter, Parrish, Lee (Grayson 67), O’Shea, Cooper.

BOOKED: Clarkson, Hunter, Cooper, Grayson.

FULHAM: Walton, Watson, Herrera, Cusack, Angus, Blake, Scott (Cullip 90), Carpenter, Morgan, Freeman. Subs (not used): Adams, Brooker.

BOOKED: Blake, Carpenter.

GOAL: Conroy (54).

REFEREE: Mark Halsey (Hertfordshire).