All season long Fulham have played with flair and attacked the Premier League fearlessly. The newly-promoted Cottagers had cruised into continental contention by playing an ultra-attacking brand of football that caught plenty of defences out. Today’s trip to Brighton and Hove Albion was arguably the strongest test of the Whites’ unlikely European aspirations and, starved off possession by Roberto de Zerbi’s dominant hosts, Fulham defended with diligence and determination before stealing all three points from the AMEX when Manor Solomon scored his second goal in a week to a complete a classical smash and grab away from home.

Fulham’s miserly defence hasn’t been referenced as much as Marco Silva’s footballing philosophy this season but they had to dig deep this afternoon. Without the hulking presence of Aleksandar Mitrovic up front, the back five had no out ball and had to absorb almost incessant Albion pressure at times. Tim Ream was outstanding throughout, Issa Diop made countless blocks and Bernd Leno produced a pair of brilliant saves. The Londoners looked happy enough with a point but Silva knew different. Substitute Solomon fired a low shot into the far corner after being played clear of the home defence by Carlos Vinicius. The goal came completely alongside the balance of play – but Fulham suffered seven minutes of stoppage time to record a first league double over Brighton for thirty yards.

The home side began like a house on fire and their quick passing meant Silva’s charges were chasing shadows for the first 25 minutes. Brighton found early joy on the flanks through Karou Mitoma and Solly March. The Seagulls might have gone ahead when Evan Ferguson, in a rich of vein of form at present, lashed over from just inside the area. Ferguson was involved again in a sweeping move that saw March curl a shot centimetres wide of Leno’s far past.

Fulham, with Bobby Decorodva-Reid leading the line in the absence of an injured Aleksandar Mitrovic, offered little by way of threat before half time with it being all hands to the pump to prevent the Seagulls from building a commanding lead before half time. Ream bravely blocked a golabound strike froim Joel Voltman before Leno sprinted off his line to clear from Ferguson in the nick of time after the midfielder had almost seized on a short backheader.

The pattern continued long into the second half, although Fulham looked more threatening on the counter. Brighton continued to press for an opener and had two goals disallowed with March and Deniz Undav correctly flagged offside by the assistant referee. The hosts were in the ascendancy in terms of territory and possession but the home faithful became increasingly frustrated by the way that Leno made a couple of good stops after he last line of defence. The German international smothered efforts from Lewis Dunk and repelled a first-time volley from Alexis Macallister after March had streaked clear down the left before substitute Undav, who later flashed a header wide, strayed behind the last Fulham defenders before Facundo Buonanotte tucked into the unguarded net from close range.

Solomon, on as a second half substitute, came back to haunt de Zerbi, who had managed the Israeli international during his two seasons at Shakhtar Donetsk. Vinicius spun superbly away from two tacklers in central midfield and threaded a fine ball through for Solomon, whose low finish across Sanchez into the far corner sparked scenes of delirium amongst the 3,000 travelling fans. Fulham scarcely merited it, as Silva honestly admitted it, but a third league clean sheet in a row saw the Whites complete a league double over Albion for the first time in three decades.

BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION (4-3-3): Sanchez; Estupiñán (Lamptey 62), Veltman (Buonanotte 73), Webster, Dunk; Caicedo, Mac Allister, Groß; Mitoma, March, Ferguson (Undav 73). Subs (not used): Steel, Ayari, Hinshelwood, van Hecke, Sarmienta, Encisco.

FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Leno; Tete, A. Robinson, Diop, Ream; Palhinha, Reed; Wilson (Vinicius 62), Willian, Pereira (Solomon 82), Decordova-Reid. Subs (not used): Rodak, Cedric Soares, Kurzawa, Duffy, Adarabioyo, James.

BOOKED: Diop, Wilson, Palhinha, A. Robinson, Pereira, Willian.

GOAL: Solomon (88).

REFEREE: Darren England (Greater Manchester).