Goals from Ross McCormack and Moussa Dembele helped Fulham to defeat Preston North End 2-1 on Tuesday evening, making it two wins on the bounce for the Cottagers.
Ross McCormack fired Fulham into the lead in the 5th minute after latching onto a long ball from Tim Ream. The Scottish international outmuscled his opponents before rounding the keeper and passing it into an empty net.
Despite being a goal down and losing their captain early on to injury, the home team responded well after falling behind. Calum Woods cut onto his left foot before firing just over the crossbar. Moments later Jordan Hugil almost levelled the score for Preston, only for Michael Madl to head the ball off the line.
Despite a late header going over from Joe Garner, Fulham managed to cling onto their lead until half time.
Preston continued where they left off in the second half, with Vermijl firing over from 20 yards before Joe Garner once again managed to test Marcus Bettinelli, with a somewhat weak header.
Preston were rewarded for their hard work in the 63rd minute. Vermijl danced past an incoming challenge, before firing a powerful shot under Marcus Bettinelli at the keeper’s near post. The Fulham shot-stopper will feel he should have done better to block the right-backs attempt.
Despite looking like they would go on and win the match, it was Fulham who retook the lead against the run of play in the 73rd minute. Ross McCormack struck a curling free kick against Anders Lindegaard’s right post, allowing a lurking Moussa Dembele to steer the ball in.
Preston continued to push hard for a goal, with substitute Jermaine Beckford coming close in a goalmouth scramble.
Fulham managed to hold on to their lead through 7 minutes of added time, meaning they are now 7 points clear of the relegation zone.
After the match, Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic made it clear that Fulham were not yet safe.
“We are not safe. With six games in front of us, now it’s six points we don’t have reason to think about a holiday.
“We need to do much for our away supporters who travel with us and push us towards safety.
“In this situation that we are in the only important thing for us is the points.”
Preston manager Simon Grayson was left frustrated by the result, slating the tactics used by the opposition.
“They got the early goal but we passed the ball better and there was only one team looking to win the game. We weren’t helped by some of the tactics they used at times”.
Fulham next host Cardiff on Saturday, whilst Preston face a tricky away game to title-chasing Middlesbrough.