Fulham see away-day woes continue in Nottingham Forest reality check

Away-day struggles: Fulham have won just twice on the road all season so far (Getty Images)
Away-day struggles: Fulham have won just twice on the road all season so far (Getty Images)

On a night when Nottingham Forest pulled further clear of the relegation zone, Fulham were force-fed a brutal and bruising reminder of their woeful form away from home.

Only Sheffield United have won fewer Premier League away games this season than Fulham’s two victories on their travels. A third was never forthcoming here as Forest blew them away with a 3-1 win that bluntly halted the Cottagers’ fine recent form.

Fulham have beaten Manchester United and Tottenham in the last two months, but only when chasing the game at 3-0 down in the second half did they look remotely capable of such results.

Marco Silva said this week that Fulham are a better team than when they hammered Forest and West Ham, both by 5-0 scorelines, at Craven Cottage within the space of four days in December. After this performance, that case is far less compelling.

It took relegation-threatened Forest nine minutes to break a short-lived deadlock, and Fulham will have felt a particular frustration at the scorer. Callum Hudson-Odoi, whom they twice bid for in the summer before losing out to Forest, with a fine goal and fierce finish.

Then, for 10 minutes, Forest gave Fulham a textbook schooling in keeping the ball — the home fans at the City Ground cheering every pass as though it was a collector’s item.

Then, a genuine collector’s item: a high-profile error from Fulham’s goalkeeper and captain, Bernd Leno. He lost his bearings and Chris Wood struck from range, the ball bending into the corner with Leno unmoved. 2-0 Forest, 19 minutes on the clock.

Silva rang the changes, astonishingly making a triple substitution in the 33rd minute as Willian, Tom Cairney and Adama Traore replaced Sasa Lukic, Alex Iwobi and Harry Wilson. A hell of a roll of the dice.

Fulham’s hold of possession increased, but their threat did not. Soon enough, Morgan Gibbs-White made good on a stellar individual performance as he followed a cute one-two with Danilo by stroking Forest into a three-goal lead.

Unable to produce a worse display than they had before the interval, the visitors were much improved in the second half, scoring early when Andreas Pereira’s corner was glanced in by Tosin Adarabioyo.

Fulham were beaten here though by a side who simply craved these three points much more keenly than they did.

Calvin Bassey’s header forced a remarkable reaching save by Matz Sels, Kenny Tete nodded against the crossbar, Traore fired against the post, and the points were Forest’s. Deservedly.