2017/18 English League Championship, Regular Season
  • Tom Cairney (32')
  • Lucas Piazon (45')
  • Massimo Luongo (45'+3')
  • Pawel Wszolek (81')

Fulham pegged back by QPR and miss the chance to close the gap

Fulham's efforts to step up their bid for an automatic promotion place suffered a setback as they squandered a two-goal lead and drew 2-2 with Queens Park Rangers at Craven Cottage.
Tom Cairney and Lucas Piazon had put Slavisa Jokanovic's side in control, but Massimo Luongo pulled one back for the visitors in first-half added-time before Pawel Wszolek completed the comeback in the 81st minute.
The draw at least meant the Cottagers set a new club record of 16 unbeaten league games.
But their failure to hold onto the lead meant they missed out on the chance to close the gap on second-placed Cardiff to five points, 24 hours before the Welsh side travel to face Derby.
Rangers deserved a point for their second-half recovery but they were assisted by a number of Fulham errors, in particular when Denis Odoi was caught in possession by Wszolek, allowing the winger to run clear on goal and finish past Marcus Bettinelli.
Jokanovic's side have been in formidable run of form at home, coming into the clash on the back of nine league wins at Craven Cottage.
And the confidence generated by recent results was evident in a positive start that saw them dominate early possession and almost force a fourth-minute opening goal.
Cairney found space on the edge of the Rangers area and drilled in a low shot that keeper Alex Smithies could only push into the path of Ryan Sessegnon, whose effort was ruled out for offside.
Sessegnon was denied again in the 22nd minute with a far-post header and it was no surprise when the breakthrough came 10 minutes later.
Piazon picked up a loose ball near halfway before Stefan Johansen picked out Cairney's forward run and the Fulham skipper placed a precise left-foot shot inside the post from 25 yards out.
Fulham keeper Bettinelli had been largely untroubled but was forced to make a good save to deny Wszolek after left back Matt Targett had carelessly given the ball away.
Moments later, Piazon doubled Fulham's lead in the 45th minute after Ryan Fredericks had delivered a low cross that was helped into the path of the Brazilian by Sessegnon.
The home side appeared in complete control but Rangers were handed a lifeline when Matt Smith headed Luke Freeman's free-kick down towards Luongo who hooked the ball past Bettinelli.
The goal had given Ian Holloway's side hope and Fulham were again guilty of creating problems for themselves when Fredericks needlessly gave the ball away inside his own half.
Rangers worked the ball towards Smith who had a clear run on goal and was denied by another good save from Bettinelli.
Fulham then paid a heavy price for their carelessness when Odoi gifted Wszolek the chance to level.

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English League Championship Standings

1 Norwich City 17 +8 33
2 Middlesbrough 17 +11 31
3 Leeds United 17 +12 30
4 Sheffield United 17 +8 30
5 West Bromwich Albion 17 +12 28
6 Derby County 17 +5 28
7 Nottingham Forest 17 +7 27
8 Swansea City 17 +6 26
9 Blackburn Rovers 17 -1 26
10 Queens Park Rangers 17 -4 26
11 Aston Villa 17 +4 24
12 Birmingham City 17 +3 24
13 Bristol City 17 +1 22
14 Stoke City 17 -1 22
15 Brentford 17 +4 21
16 Wigan Athletic 17 -7 20
17 Sheffield Wednesday 17 -9 20
18 Preston North End 17 -4 18
19 Rotherham United 17 -9 18
20 Reading 17 -5 16
21 Millwall 17 -7 16
22 Hull City 17 -8 16
23 Bolton Wanderers 17 -12 16
24 Ipswich Town 17 -14 11