Fulham 2-1 Brighton: Cottagers continue impressive start to the season
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 30: Aleksandar Mitrovic of Fulham FC and Moises Caicedo of Brighton and Hove Albion in action during the Premier League match between Fulham FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Craven Cottage on August 30, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images)

Fulham continued their strong start to the season with a 2-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion. Goals from Aleksandar Mitrovic and a Lewis Dunk own goal, provided the foundation for their success. 

The first half was a dull affair between the two sides. Joao Palhinha and Solly March came closest for either team retrospectively. However, neither side gave the opposition keeper a serious threat in the opening 45 minutes. 

But, the game kicked into life after the half-time break. Aleksandar Mitrovic gave the hosts the lead, which was later doubled by a Lewis Dunk own goal. Alexis Mac Allister halved the deficit from the penalty spot in 60th minute. Despite late pressure, the south coast side were unable to find an equaliser.

This result means Fulham move into the top half of the table, with eight points from a possible 15. Meanwhile, the Seagulls remain on ten points, but still occupy fourth place due to current results. Up next, the Cottagers travel to North London to face Tottenham Hotspur, whilst Brighton travel west along the coast to face struggling Bournemouth

Story of the Match

The home side were unchanged from their narrow defeat against Arsenal at the weekend, whilst Brighton made one change. Enock Mwepu replaced Danny Welbeck for the Seagulls. With games now coming thick and fast, it came as a slight shock to see little rotation. 

The game started slowly in the opening five minutes, with a succession of fouls breaking up the rhythm of either side. But  Fulham had the first chance of the match in the seventh minute as Joao Palhinha had a fine header saved by the outstretched Robert Sanchez.

Brighton knew a win would take them to the top of the Premier League for the first time ever. However, it was the hosts who continued to have greater control within the match as the clock ticked away. 

Mitrovic had a tame effort from range easily saved in the 18th minute, which summed up the quality of the match early on. Brighton had their first shot in the 28th minute. Pascal Gross placed a weak shot towards Bernd Leno. With both sides matching one another, it provided a boring affair for the first thirty minutes in West London

With 35 minutes on the clock, the visitors began to increase the tempo. Solly March came closest for Brighton as he latched onto a stunning cross from Leandro Trossard. But, despite being unmarked, he could only direct his header wide of the left post.

It finished 0-0 at half-time. Both sides lacked the final ball required to score, as the Craven Cottage atmosphere quietened over time. 

An impressive team talk from Marco Silva?

Fulham started the second half with assertion, as an early free-kick in the 48th minute allowed the home side to win a corner, forcing the visitors deep. From the resulting corner, Neeskens Kebano lashed the ball across the box, with Mitrovic latching onto the end of it.

The Serbian striker placed it into the bottom right corner, to send the home fans into raptures. This took the target man's goal tally to five for the season.

Brighton replied strongly by forcing the hosts deep into their own half. However, these efforts were in vein minutes later.

In the 55th minute, a counter-attack from Marco Silva's men saw Andreas Pereira place a low cross into the box. In an attempt to clear the danger, Lewis Dunk smashed the ball past his own goalkeeper into an empty net. 

Despite a poor start to the second half, Brighton were gifted a chance back into the game. Bobby Decordova-Reid kicked Pervis Estupinan whilst attempting to clear the ball. 

Alexis Mac Allister stepped up in the 60th minute and fired the ball into the top left corner to half the deficit.

With the game now alive and kicking, winger Kebano was gifted a chance to extend Fulham's lead in the 61st minute as Sanchez spilled the ball. However, he blazed his shot over an empty net.

In an attempt to change the dynamic of the game, Graham Potter made a triple sub in the 64th minute. Danny Welbeck, Kaoru Mitoma and Tariq Lamptey replaced Mwepu, Estupinan and Joel Veltman retrospectively. 

These changes helped Brighton gain control within the match, however they failed to materialise the possession into clear-cut chances until the 71st minute. Impact sub Mitoma played a perfectly placed through ball into Trossard's path, however the Belgian could only fire it straight towards the German goalkeeper. 

Despite gaining control, the Seagulls had to be aware of the threat Fulham possessed on the counter-attack. Decordova-Reid fired one chance over the bar in the 72nd minute.

Late on, Brighton hit the post through Deniz Undav's delicate chip. The linesman failed to raise his flag, despite the German being in an offside position. From the resulting corner, Brighton failed to create a clear chance. This did not stop Marco Silva from venting his anger towards the official from the touchline. 

Brighton mounted increased pressure on the hosts in stoppage time, but they were unable to find a crucial equaliser. A much needed win for Fulham sees them continue an impressive, and potentially surprising, start to the season. 

Player of the Match - Aleksandar Mitrovic

Many doubted whether the Serbian could continue his lethal goalscoring form from last season in the Premier League. With 5 goals to his name so far, it seems the former Newcastle striker can. 

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The 27-year-old provided a consistent outlet upfront, allowing the home side to be effective on the counter-attack, but also from wide. Mitrovic's goal showed his effective movement within the box as he prodded the ball home.