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Premier League | Gameweek 31
Apr 2, 2024 at 7.30pm UK
The City Ground

Nott'm Forest
3 - 1

Hudson-Odoi (9'), Wood (19'), Gibbs-White (45+3')
Turner (63')
FT(HT: 3-0)

Nottingham Forest boost Premier League survival chances with Fulham victory

:Headline: Nottingham Forest boost Premier League survival chances with Fulham victory:
Nottingham Forest deliver a punch in the fight for Premier League safety, beating Fulham 3-1 at the City Ground to deal the Cottagers' European hopes a severe blow.
Sports Mole

Nottingham Forest produced a barnstorming first-half display which helped them to a 3-1 win over Fulham at the City Ground, massively boosting the Tricky Trees' chances of avoiding relegation.

On a mission to claw back the four points taken away from them following last month's punishment for breaking Profit and Sustainability rules, Forest were two goals ahead after just 20 breathtaking minutes courtesy of strikes from Callum Hudson-Odoi and Chris Wood.

Furious with his side's showing, Fulham manager Marco Silva made three changes after 30 minutes but the hosts continued to blow away the visitors from West London, with Morgan Gibbs-White finding the back of net just prior to the half-time whistle to hand the Tricky Trees a handsome lead.

The Cottagers had plenty of possession and territory in the second period - and managed to pull a goal back via the head of centre-back Tosin Adarabioyo, however Forest were ultimately able to hold on for a vitally-important three points, securing only their second win of 2024.

Following Saturday's share of the spoils with Crystal Palace at the City Ground, Nuno Espirito Santo made three alterations to his XI, with Andrew Omobamidele, Danilo and Anthony Elanga being promoted from the bench, leaving American Giovanni Reyna among the substitutes despite supporters' cries for the Borussia Dortmund loanee to start.

Fulham freshened up slightly from their 3-3 draw at Championship-bound Sheffield United last time out - Harry Wilson and Kenny Tete entered the fray at the expense of Willian and Timothy Castagne, meaning that Rodrigo Muniz started once again as he looked to net his ninth goal in as many matches.

With a sold-out City Ground roaring their side on in the early stages, the Tricky Trees responded according and took the lead in the contest during the opening 10 minutes, when Nuno's side showcased their outstanding ability on the counter-attack through their key offensive men.

Picking the ball up in the midfield, Gibbs-White made a sharp turn before feeding a trivela pass behind the Fulham defence and into the path of Hudson-Odoi, who found a yard of space on his favoured foot and utilised right-back Tete as a guide, whipping a shot into the far corner past Matz Sels.

Gibbs-White was proving to be a constant nuisance for a Cottagers side who were all at sea in the early exchanges in the East Midlands, and the former Wolverhampton Wanderers man pushed the ball past Adarabioyo and found Hudson-Odoi through again, however the winger opted to take a touch into traffic and his eventual effort was blocked.

Forest were quick enough to double their advantage on the night by exposing Fulham's seeming lack of defensive effort on a rainy night in Nottingham, with centre-back Murillo drilling a ball into the feet of Wood, who had all the time in the world to turn and fire a low-driven strike past the off-balanced Bernd Leno.

Understandably fuming with what he had witnessed from his troops in the opening 30 minutes of the match, Silva resorted to extreme measures in hope of finding a way back into the encounter, with Alex Iwobi, Sasa Lukic and ex-Derby County winger Harry Wilson all being hooked off.

Adama Traore, boyhood Forest fan Tom Cairney and Willian arrived onto the City Ground turf and allowed the visitors to establish a foothold in the game, however all of the Cottagers' possession was in front of a solid Forest shape as the hosts were content with taking their two-goal advantage into the interval.

That being said, Nuno's side still posed a significant threat at the other end and made it 3-0 in added-on time at the end of the first period, when Gibbs-White was given the freedom of the Fulham box, exchanging passes with Danilo before coolly slotting to the left of Leno.

For only the second time in Premier League history - and the first since 1995 - Nottingham Forest found themselves three goals to the good at the break, although the beginning of the second half acted as a reminder that a second win of 2024 was not yet sealed for the Tricky Trees.

Forest's set-piece deficiencies have been well-documented this season and the Cottagers were the latest top-flight crew to take advantage, with Andreas Pereira's corner-kick delivery being met by the unmarked Adarabioyo, who looped his header over the attentions of Sels and into the hosts' net.

Silva's charges were beginning to enjoy a monopoly of the ball but Forest remained a threat during their moments of attack, with Neco Williams's deflected long-range strike hitting the top of bar to the relief of Leno, who - not for the first time in the match - looked on helplessly.

Having already conceded 20 goals from set pieces in the Premier League this season, Forest almost took their unwanted tally to 21 following some laboured defending from a Fulham corner, although Tete's glanced effort bounced off the goal frame and away.

Now boasting a three-game unbeaten streak, Nuno's side have earned back the four points deducted from them by the Premier League in just two matches and sit three points ahead of 18th-placed Luton Town, who face a daunting trip to title-chasing Arsenal on Wednesday night.

Fulham's unlikely push for a European berth has hit a brick wall following the weekend's draw at Sheffield United and a woeful showing at the City Ground - the Cottagers are five points behind eighth-placed Newcastle United with seven matches left to play. body check tags ::

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Premier League Table
1Manchester CityMan City32227376324473
4Aston Villa33196868491963
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs32186865491660
6Newcastle UnitedNewcastle321551269521750
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd32155124748-150
8West Ham UnitedWest Ham33139115258-648
10Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton321111105250244
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves32127134651-543
14Crystal Palace3289153754-1733
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest3379174258-1626
18Luton TownLuton3367204670-2425
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd3237223084-5416
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