Already relegated Fulham ended a run of seventeen league games without an away-win after Aleksandar Mitrovic’s second half spot kick secured a second victory in succession for caretaker head coach Scott Parker at Bournemouth this afternoon.
The upturn in home came too late to save the Whites’ Premier League status but it will do the world of good for the former Fulham captain’s hopes of securing a permanent appointment at Craven Cottage. The visitors successfully navigated a sticky opening twenty minutes at Dean Court and Mitrovic coolly tucked home a penalty after being clipped just inside the area by a clumsy tackle from Jack Simpson.
Bournemouth initially looked likely to replicate their thrashing of Brighton on the south coast last weekend as they fashioned a number of good early chances. It took barely thirty seconds for the Cherries to find Callum Wilson in the box, but the striker volleyed over the bar. Both Josh King and Ryan Fraser had efforts deflected wide inside the opening six minutes and King should have done better than fire wastefully over after Fraser had tormented an overworked Fulham defence. The Scot then had a strike tipped aside by Sergio Rico before the visitors began to get a foothold in the game.
Parker’s charges began to pass the ball with purpose even if their best opening before the break came from a set play. Babel’s flighted corner found Denis Odoi at the near post but the Belgian’s header was well saved by Artur Boruc. Bournemouth’s momentum was stalled by Eddie Howe, managing his 500th club fixture, opting to switch to a back three after half-time and Fulham continued to make the running when Babel headed over from a Ryan Sessegnon cross.
Mitrovic ended a barren run of nine league matches without finding the net by dusting himself down to convert the penalty given by referee David Coote. It was the Serbian striker’s first away goal since the beginning of September and it did galvanise the hosts into a response. Rico saved well from Fraser and Harry Wilson, but Fulham held on for all three points in front of a sold-out away section with the travelling fans making the most of the sunshine and a very rare win away from Craven Cottage.
AFC BOURNEMOUTH (4-4-2): Boruc; Stanislas (Simpson 22), Ake, Mepham (Mousset 76), S. Cook; Lerma, Gosling, Brooks, Fraser; C. Wilson, King (Solanke 61). Subs (not used): Begovic, Ofoborh, Hyndman, Surridge.
BOOKED: S. Cook.
FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Rico; Odoi, Bryan, Le Marchand, Ream; Anguissa (Nordveit 89), Chambers; R. Sessegnon, Babel (Ayite 86), Seri (Christie 79); Mitrovic. Subs (not used): Fabri, Kebano, Schurrle, Elliott.
BOOKED: Chambers, Mitrovic, Rico.
GOAL: Mitrovic (pen 53).
REFEREE: David Coote (Northamptonshire).