Fulham 3-0 Charlton: Addicks plunge further into relegation mire
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 20/02/16 6:56pm
Two excellent strikes from midfielder Tom Cairney ensured Fulham eased their relegation worries with a 3-0 victory at home to struggling Charlton.
Cairney opened the scoring for the hosts on 31 minutes before a 59th-minute header from Michael Madl doubled their advantage.
The former Blackburn man then sealed the win for Slavisa Jokanovic's side with a cracking volley on 79 minutes from outside the box for his sixth goal of the season.
Despite the scoreline, Fulham were not at their best, particularly in the first half, but the excellence of Scott Parker against his former club and the dynamic display from Cairney saw them finish on top in this London derby.
It was a vital three points for Fulham as they moved up to 18th in the league standings, nine points above the drop zone. Charlton, however, are in serious trouble as defeat saw Jose Riga's men drop to the bottom of the table, six points from safety.
Fulham had won just once in their previous seven Championship matches and they were unconvincing in the opening exchanges. Moussa Dembele had already spooned an effort from 20 yards out for a throw-in when Callum Harriott, forced a decent low save from Andrew Lonergan in the Fulham goal.
There was a delay as assistant referee Matthew Wilkes was allowed time to re-gather his senses after Luke Garbutt had clattered a ball into his face. After treatment, Wilkes groggily returned to his feet and received warm applause from the crowd - a rare treat indeed for a linesman.
Fulham, though, took the lead against the run of play on 32 minutes as Ross McCormack's near-post shot was pushed away for a corner by Stephen Henderson, the Charlton goalkeeper. McCormack crossed and Scott Parker's initial shot rattled the bar. The rebound fell kindly for Cairney, who blasted his shot into the top corner.
The best move of the match came from Fulham just before the interval. Cairney burst forward from midfield and played a neat one-two with Dembele. The ball was slipped to McCormack but his first time shot from 10 yards was high over the bar.
The second goal arrived on 50 minutes as McCormack's delivery from the corner was once again perfect and Madl, another half-time substitute in place of Alex Kacaniklic, expertly headed home.
Craven Cottage was in full voice and Dembele so nearly made it 3-0 as he tricked his way up the left, cut inside and smacked a 25-yard effort that rattled the crossbar.
Cairney added his brilliant third goal in a victory that could well keep Fulham in the Championship, but Charlton's immediate future does not look quite so promising.