Aleksandar Mitrović’s second-half header condemned Hull City to a narrow 0-1 defeat against top-of-the-table Fulham.
The forward’s 31st league goal of the season secured the three points for the Cottagers in the Sky Bet Championship.
Shota Arveladze made three changes to his starting XI that faced Derby County last game. Regan Slater came in to the midfield to make his second full debut for the Tigers, while Ryan Longman and Richie Smallwood also returned, with the latter taking the captain’s armband.
Fulham had the first opportunity of the match as Mitrović met Tom Cairney’s delivery, but the Serbian’s header was blocked by Sean McLoughlin, before Cairney later struck an effort over the bar.
Former Hull City loanee Harry Wilson was next to take aim, after he rounded the onrushing Matt Ingram, but the winger was unable to find the target with his strike. The Welsh international went close again as he was played through one-on-one by Mitrović, but Ingram won the battle as he dived brilliantly to his right-hand side to parry away.
The Tigers grew more into the first half as Sean McLoughlin and Smallwood both tried to convert Brandon Fleming’s free-kick, before George Honeyman dragged his shot wide following a good passage of play in the midfield. At the other end, Wilson fired his first-time effort over the bar after connecting with a low cross at the back post.
Marcus Forss almost put the Tigers in front as Tim Ream’s clearance ricocheted off Antonee Robinson, which played through the Finnish international, but Forss could only fire wide. The Tigers’ forward then met Honeyman’s whipped delivery, with his flicked header going the wrong side past the post as the first half ended goalless.
Both goalkeepers were called into action early in the second half as Mitrović tested Ingram with a low drive, while Marek Rodák pushed away Keane Lewis-Potter’s curling effort after the winger cut inside from the left flank. Fabio Carvalho then brought out an acrobatic dive from Ingram, before the Cottagers took the lead.
Neco Williams’ inviting delivery from the right wing found Mitrović in space, with the Championship’s top scorer guiding his header into the far corner past the outstretched dive of Ingram.
The game started to slow down in terms of creating chances once the deadlock had been broken. Both teams had dangerous crosses dealt with by the respected defences, before Smallwood struck a half volley straight at Rodák in the 85th minute.
The Tigers continued to push for an equaliser in stoppage time as Smallwood’s free-kick was punched away by Rodák, before George Moncur’s powerful strike was blocked by Fulham defender Tim Ream.
Hull City (4-2-3-1): Matt Ingram; Lewie Coyle, Sean McLoughlin, Jacob Greaves, Brandon Fleming; Richie Smallwood (C), Regan Slater (Greg Docherty 75’); Ryan Longman (George Moncur 80’), George Honeyman, Keane Lewis-Potter; Marcus Forss (Tyler Smith 71’).
Subs Not Used: Harvey Cartwright, Callum Elder, Alfie Jones, Di’Shon Bernard.
Fulham (4-2-3-1): Marek Rodák; Neco Williams, Tosin Adarabioyo, Tim Ream, Antonee Robinson; Nathaniel Chalobah, Tom Cairney (C) (Harrison Reed 76’); Harry Wilson (Bobby Decordova-Reid 76’), Fabio Carvalho, Neeksens Kebano; Aleksandar Mitrović (Rodrigo Muniz 80’).
Subs Not Used: Paulo Gazzaniga, Michael Hector, Joe Bryan, Jean Michaël Seri.