Reading 0 – 7 Fulham

Fulham moved back into second place in the Championship and an automatic promotion slot with a thumping 7-0 victory at relegation-threatened Reading.

The west London side took a 13th-minute lead through Harry Wilson and stretched it on the brink of half-time with an Aleksandar Mitrovic penalty.

Fulham proved rampant in the second period, as Reading collapsed, with further goals from Wilson, Kenny Tete, Neeskens Kebano, Tosin Adarabioyo and Mitrovic again.

The visitors had not won in five league matches, though four had been draws, and had slipped from top spot in the Championship to third behind Bournemouth and Blackburn.

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored his 23rd and 24th goals of the season in the rout

But they returned to winning ways in the FA Cup third round on Saturday with a 1-0 victory at Bristol City after extra-time.

The home side opened lethargically and were soon 1-0 in arrears when Josh Laurent delivered a loose attempted backpass to goalkeeper Luke Southwood.

It went straight to Wilson, who had the easiest of tasks to slide the ball into the empty net for his eighth goal of the season.

Reading had shown little going forward but could have equalised when early substitute Mamadi Camara tried an audacious backheeled prod from a Junior Hoilett cross.

But Fulham survived thanks to a superb close-range save from ‘keeper Marek Rodak.

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Andy Carroll thought he had scored two spectacular goals for Reading but on both occasions saw his efforts ruled out for offside

Then followed two spectacular disallowed efforts from Reading striker Andy Carroll – one from an overhead kick, the other a left-footed 20-yard volley.

Both were thundered home past Rodak but, on each occasion, the former England forward was adjudged offside.

Fulham rode their luck and were fortunate to stretch their lead in the third minute of first-half stoppage.

Tom Holmes needlessly brought down Wilson in the area and Mitrovic coolly dispatched the penalty for his 23rd goal of the campaign.

Fulham upped the tempo at the start of the second period, with Wilson again much to the fore on the right flank.

The Wales international found space at the far post but, with Southwood left exposed, he fired weakly into the side-netting.

It was, though, only a temporary reprieve for Reading with Wilson proving far more accurate on the hour mark.

Left-back Antonee Robinson crossed low into the area and Wilson was on hand to guide home unchallenged.

It was 4-0 in the 68th minute when Mitrovic nodded goalwards and Tete was on hand to glance it past Southwood.

That became 5-0 just two minutes later, with Kebano drifting in at the back post to stab in a Wilson cross.

Fulham added another in the 75th minute when Adarabioyo towered above the home defence to nod in a Wilson corner.

And they completed the rout one minute from the end of normal time, Mitrovic tapping in after the Reading defence had again been breached with ease.

What the managers said…

Reading’s Veljko Paunovic: “Will I be in charge [on Saturday]? I can’t answer that question. This was just a horrible night for us, another horrible night. It has come at a difficult moment for us. We had a setback with our early injury [to Scott Dann, who was replaced]. That changed our whole game, our whole approach and our whole shape.

“From having a trusted line-up, without Scott we had to do a lot of reshuffling. People had to play in positions that they would not do normally. With all that, we needed to adjust pretty quickly. But then we conceded the first goal, which was really avoidable. And the penalty kick, that was also avoidable. But I still have belief in this group. And I do believe in miracles.”

Fulham’s Marco Silva: It will be a special season if you get success at the end of it. If we get that success, of course it will be special. For us and our fans. Until then, we don’t win nothing. In the Championship, in this competition, everything can change so quickly. Sometimes we have deserved points, sometimes we didn’t get them. But this allows us to regroup again. I’m very pleased with it.

“It was a very good result for us and it was a very good performance. It was for our players and for our fans as well. There were some good goals by us and, of course, none conceded. It was a happy night for us.”

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