Fulham revived their battle against relegation when Aleksandar Mitrovic dramatically scored in stoppage-time to secure a vital 1-0 victory over Huddersfield.
The visitors had lost their last six matches and again struggled to impress at Craven Cottage when they gifted Fulham a potentially season-defining penalty in the 81st minute, but Aboubakar Kamara resisted Mitrovic to take the spot-kick – only to see Jonas Lossl save his effort.
He appeared to have cost the hosts two crucial points against a rival for relegation, but Mitrovic rescued him as Fulham attacked on the counter to lift them to 18th and, more significantly, increase the pressure on both 20th-placed Huddersfield and those above them in the Premier League.
While it was Huddersfield who sat bottom of the table at kick-off, it was Fulham, then only a point and a place in front of them, who were under greater pressure to deliver victory against a team clearly content to draw.
Beyond an optimistic 30-yard shot from Town midfielder Philip Billing that was spilt by Sergio Rico, Huddersfield posed little threat throughout the first half when the hosts also too often lacked the finishing touch.
In front of their owner Shahid Khan, Cyrus Christie missed a header at the back post from Luciano Vietto’s cross, and Mitrovic then headed over the crossbar from Jean Michael Seri’s right-wing corner.
Steve Mounie twice had the chance to test Rico but produced only tame headers, and Alex Pritchard created a shooting chance after running at the defence, but his effort lacked power and went straight to Fulham’s goalkeeper.
A fine build-up just before the hour-mark created a shooting chance for Joe Bryan at the back post, where he should have done better but offered too little power, but he then crossed towards Mitrovic who connected with a strong header at the near post to force Lossl into an impressive reaction save.
The erratic Kamara also tested Lossl in the 70th minute when Mitrovic flicked the ball towards him and it fell kindly enough for him to fire an effort on goal, but what was a promising combination almost cost them victory.
Ryan Sessegnon was also introduced by Ranieri, replacing Vietto, and his pace and intent again turned the game in their favour, but only after Kamara’s almost-costly miss.
Lossl had made another save that bounced off Kamara and then struck the outstretched hand of the unfortunate Chris Lowe, who was penalised when referee Kevin Friend awarded a penalty.
With Kamara in possession of the ball, Mitrovic attempted to take it from him as they briefly argued until Kamara stepped up and struck without conviction, leaving Lossl with a routine save.
However, in added time after an unsuccessful attack, Billing’s miskick allowed Tom Cairney to release Sessegnon, who raced ahead to play in Mitrovic who finished under Lossl before celebrating with Kamara as they consigned Huddersfield to their seventh loss from seven this month.