A second-half header from the in-form Paul Moody earned Fulham a precious three points against promotion-chasing Bristol City at Craven Cottage this afternoon.

Moody, whose brace at Plymouth Argyle on Boxing Day secured Fulham’s first win at Home Park in 61 years, nodded home the only goal of a tight contest from Steve Hayward’s left-wing free-kick ten minutes into the second half. The home side deserved their third win in a row with visiting goalkeeper Kevin Welch having made excellent first half stops to deny Hayward and then Moody on two occasions.

The hosts were indebted to goalkeeper Maik Taylor for keeping a clean sheet despite concerted late pressure from the visitors. John Ward’s side went close when Shaun Goater found space in the penalty area to shoot after latching on a right-wing cross from Mickey Bell but the Northern Ireland international saved smartly.

Fulham manager Ray Wilkins was delighted with an important victory. He said: “It was a very good performance and an excellent result. Teams like City and Watford are the benchmark by which we can measure our progress. We are still a lot of points behind the top two but there are a lot of games to go.”

FULHAM (4-4-2): M. Taylor; Lawrence, Herrera (Cullip 54), Neilson, Coleman; Bracewell, Hayward, Smith (Carpenter 69), Trollope; Moody, Peschisolido. Subs (not used): Thomas.

BOOKED: Moody, Neilson.

GOAL: Moody (55).

BRISTOL CITY (5-3-2): Welch; Bell, Carey, Locke (Torpey 84), Edwards, S. Taylor; Tinnion, Goodridge, Doherty (Murray 64); Goater, Cramb. Subs (not used): Paterson.

BOOKED: Goodridge, Tinnion.

REFEREE: Paul Robinson (East Yorkshire).