Fulham 2-0 Cardiff City: Cairney and Mitrovic lift Fulham to second in Championship

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Tom Cairney celebrates his first goal since October 2020

Fulham moved up to second in the Championship after beating Cardiff City. This increased the pressure on Mick McCarthy, Bluebirds manager.

Both sides hammer the woodwork in an open, unexpectedly even half.

After nearly a year of being out injured, substitute Tom Cairney was back to help Fulham with a stunning strike.

Aleksandar Mitrovic was the second goal for Cardiff as they suffered their seventh consecutive league defeat, the first since 1934.

Fulham's second-half performance saw it leapfrog West Bromwich Albion to the automatic promotion spots after the Baggies' defeat at Swansea City.

Cardiff was 21st on the table, and although it was a marked improvement on Sunday's 3-0 derby loss at Swansea this performance still left McCarthy fighting for his job.

Fans had been calling for his resignation long before the weekend. It is believed that the club hierarchy only stayed with the former Republic of Ireland manager to avoid burdening a potential successor with a fixture like Fulham away.

McCarthy is believed to have lost his last chance to win at Craven Cottage or Saturday's match at Middlesbrough.

His team was overwhelming underdogs against Fulham's side, led by Championship's top scorer Mitrovic. Mitrovic now has more goals than any Cardiff squad.

Cardiff took control quickly and forced Cardiff back into their half. However, the Bluebirds had the first chance of the game when Kieffer Moore's bold first-time left-footed attempt from a tight angle was scored into the goal.

The first half was played with ferocious pace. Both sides were intently attacking the woodwork and seven minutes later it was shaking again.

Harry Wilson, an ex-City of Cardiff midfielder, appeared to be on target for Fulham, but instead of shooting, Neeskenskebano received the ball backheeled. His low strike hit the post.

Both ends saw further scoring opportunities, with Harrison Reed coming close to Fulham and Rubin Colwill threatening Cardiff.

Fulham was able to create the opening after Mitrovic saved his header by Alex Smithies. The second half didn't reach the same frantic heights as the first.

Cairney, a midfielder for the home team, scored the winning goal with a popular goal at Craven Cottage. He guided a characteristically elegant shot from the left foot into the top corner.

Six minutes later, the match was finished as a contest. Fulham penalized Cardiff for not defending well enough to place Mitrovic in the penalty area. The Serbian scored confidently to score his 13th goal of this season.

Cardiff provided resistance, with Moore and Aden Flint among those who came close. However, McCarthy's job prospects were not improved by another defeat. His side fell further down the table, one point and two points below the relegation zone.

"Unfortunately, 90% of my life revolves around football results. You can see how I feel."

Cardiff manager Mick McCarthy:

It leaves me at the back of a terrible run of results. If football is as normal, we all know what happens. But I don't have any control over it.

"We've come back from a terrible defeat against Swansea. We've had a much better performance, and I'll do exactly the same for Middlesbrough, until I'm told otherwise.

"If we do the same against other teams, then we will win games. But Fulham were too strong and too good for us.