Josh Onomah’s first goal since Christmas 2017 rekindled Fulham’s automatic promotion hopes with a crucial 2-1 win over Leeds at Craven Cottage.
The midfielder’s clinical finish in the 69th minute moved Scott Parker’s side to within nine points of their opponents and halted Leeds’ 11-game unbeaten run.
Fulham climbed to third thanks to the win, courtesy of Aleksandar Mitrovic’s seventh-minute penalty and Onomah’s second-half strike, either side of Partick Bamford’s 10th goal of the season.
Leeds are second, three points behind leaders West Brom who drew at Brentford.
The first goal was always going to be vital and after Helder Costa had sent a first-minute volley into the arms of Marek Rodak, it went to the home side.
There seemed little danger as a cross came into the Leeds area, but Ben White needlessly pushed Bobby Decordova-Reid in the back. The striker fell and Fulham were awarded a penalty.
Leeds keeper Kiko Casilla guessed the right way and even managed to palm away Mitrovic’s spot-kick, but unfortunately for the Leeds keeper, the ball struck the inside of the post before rebounding over the line.
For the remainder of the first half it was Rodak who was the busier keeper, racing off his line to block a Stuart Dallas shot after 23 minutes before plunging to his right to push a Mateusz Klich shot to safety via the post.
A tetchy affair then saw four yellow cards issued in the final 25 minutes of the first half as both sides demonstrated the importance of the result for their respective seasons.
Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa clearly felt it, too, bringing on Eddie Nketiah for Costa at half-time. Within 10 minutes, the substitute had played a crucial role in Leeds’ equaliser, turning on a smart pass from Ezgjan Alioski, a third-minute replacement for the injured Pablo Hernandez.
Nketiah’s shot ought to have been held by Rodak but was pushed instead into the path of Bamford, who tapped the ball into an empty net.
It seemed that Leeds would take advantage of the momentum they had built up to secure victory, but when the game’s third goal arrived, it was at the other end.
After Ivan Cavaleiro had forced a flying save from Casilla with a 20-yard rising shot, Mitrovic caused problems at a Fulham corner, attempting a bicycle kick that was blocked.
The ball rolled out to Onomah, who directed a fierce shot into the corner of the Leeds net.
Leeds pressed for a second equaliser, particularly in a frantic final five minutes.
A 90th-minute Klich shot was headed away by Alfie Mawson before Alioski struck a shot over the bar in injury time. Then Mitrovic somehow cleared the ball over his own bar after Liam Cooper had headed across goal following a desperate final corner.