Fulham 2-0 Barnsley: Cottagers cruise to victory
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 14/01/17 6:46pm
Fulham ended Barnsley's recent good form with a comfortable 2-0 win at Craven Cottage.
Chris Martin opened the scoring from the penalty spot just before half-time, before Scott Malone doubled the lead 10 minutes into the second half, as the Tykes - who had won five of their previous seven league matches - left south-west London empty handed.
Slavisa Jokanovic welcomed back Martin to his line-up - after recent questions about the on-loan Derby player's future at the club - and he drove straight at goalkeeper Adam Davies early on.
Barnsley - minus departed striker Sam Winnall - settled into the game after the frantic start, although the hosts let another chance slip in the 26th minute when Sone Aluko fired his effort from the edge of the box over the bar.
Barnsley offered few chances, although Adam Hammill nearly stunned the home crowd eight minutes before the break when his shot hit the crossbar. The effort appeared to rejuvenate the visitors, as Tom Bradshaw headed a Conor Hourihane free-kick just wide a minute later.
However, Fulham finally broke the deadlock just before the break, when Martin converted a penalty after Kevin McDonald was fouled by Angus MacDonald. Although the awarding of the spot-kick by referee Andy Davies may have been considered soft, it was in truth no more than the home side deserved.
The lead was doubled 10 minutes after the restart. Aluko laid the ball off to Martin, who delivered a cross into the box for Malone to volley with his left foot past Adam Davies.
Fulham became even stronger, and on the hour mark Aluko had a shot through a crowded penalty area saved after he combined well with Ryan Fredericks. Stefan Johansen narrowly failed to add to his FA Cup goal against Cardiff with a curled effort on 66 minutes that went just wide of the post.
Martin was again foiled by Davies six minutes later, after picking up a cross by Johansen, before Lucas Piazon saw an effort blocked on the line soon afterwards.
The Cottagers continued to dominate, and a solo run 11 minutes from time by Tom Cairney was matched by an equally impressive save by Davies.
Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic:
"Chris Martin did a job with his team mates, and he did his job for Fulham. Everyone knows how important he is for us. We are fighting to convince him to stay with us.
"He showed us a great performance and we are happy because he is back. But on the other hand, I am proud of all my players. We played very good football, we created many things along with a clean sheet. This is more important for us."
Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom:
"From our point of view we were second best, looking back at the whole game, but I was disappointed at how we started in the game. From 30 minutes to half time was probably our best spell - our game plan was working, we were more comfortable.
"The penalty was a killer. I saw it at the time and watched it back afterwards to see if there was anything more to it. There was a hand there, don't get me wrong, but it was soft. They tangled beforehand and both were appealing. You know the referee is watching."