First half goals from Alan Neilson and Paul Peschisolido secured Paul Bracewell’s first league win as Fulham manager as the Whites beat Charlton Athletic 2-1 in the Craven Cottage sunshine this afternoon.

The hosts went in front midway through the first half when Steve Hayward surged through gaps in the Charlton midfield and slipped a ball behind the visitors’ defence to put Geoff Horsfield in on goal. The burly striker thought he’d scored but his shot came back off the crossbar, with Neilson – who deputised for the injured Rufus Brevett at left wing-back – arriving on the scene at just the right time to bury a close-range header from the rebound. Things got worse for the Addicks three minutes before the break when Sean Davis won the ball back high up the pitch and played in Peschisolido inside the penalty area. The Canadian international made no mistake, doubling the Fulham lead with a precise shot inside the near post.

But Charlton gained belief that they could earn a point from this London derby when Andy Melville turned Mark Kinsella’s corner into his own net at the second time of asking seven minutes after the interval. Alan Curbishley’s side, enlivened by the introduction of Scott Parker and Andy Hunt as half-time substitutes, went close to a leveller when Maik Taylor made a fine reaction save after Clive Mendoca was left all alone in the penalty area eight yards out.

Fulham pressed for a clinching third as Charlton threw men forwards. The little Fulham forward did well to wriggle away from the attentions of Richard Rufus but Dean Kiely did well to keep out a curling shot in the closing stages.

FULHAM (5-3-2): Taylor; Finnan, Neilson, Melville, Morgan, Coleman; Davis (Symons 85), Hayward, Clark; Horsfield (Betsy 45; Trollope 73), Peschisolido. Subs (not used): Hahnemann, Uhlenbeek.

BOOKED: Neilson, Peschisolido.

GOALS: Neilson (22), Peschisolido (42).

CHARLTON ATHLETIC (4-4-2): Kiely; Powell, Youds, Rufus, Brown (Pringle 75); Newton (Parker 45), Kinsella, Stuart, Robinson; Jones (Hunt 45), Mendoca. Subs (not used): Ilic, Shields.

BOOKED: Rufus, Robinson.

GOAL: Melville (o.g. 52)

REFEREE: Graham Poll (Hertfordshire).