Tosin Adarabioyo, Joao Palhinha and Harrison Reed scored within an exhilarating six-minute passage as Fulham edged out Nottingham Forest in a five-goal thriller.
Nigerian striker Taiwo Awoniyi marked his return to Forest’s starting line-up with an 11th-minute opener, but the game took a crucial turn as the hosts conceded three times in quick succession.
While Lewis O’Brien set up a goal in the 77th minute, Fulham secured their 3-2 win that doomed Forest to their fourth straight defeat as they finished second in the Premier League.
The top flight resumed on Friday night after last week’s games were canceled as a mark of respect after the Queen’s death and there were some heartfelt tributes to the monarch’s passing.
A minute’s silence was impeccably observed by the overwhelming majority at the City Ground, an occasional outburst then being drowned out by an ovation before the fans chanted God Save the King, while there was applause in the 70th minute to mark the length of the to remember the Queen’s reign.
Two weeks ago Forest had given up a two-goal advantage at Bournemouth to lose 3-2 and boss Steve Cooper responded by dropping club captain Joe Worrall and former Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard.
Awoniyi and Willy Boly came in on his Forest debut, while Fulham brought in Issa Diop and Willian following their loss to London rivals Tottenham two weeks ago.
Fulham started brilliantly but it was Forest who created the first significant opening as Brennan Johnson passed Tim Ream before finding Morgan Gibbs-White whose shot deflected wide.
But from the resulting Gibbs-White corner, Ryan Yates rose highest in the scrum of bodies to move to the back post, where an unmarked Awoniyi headed past Bernd Leno to score his second goal of the season.
Andreas Pereira was inches from a teasing low cross that could have leveled the score for the visitors, who were outraged when Steve Cook got away with a yellow card after what appeared to be a cynical foul when Willian rushed on goal – although Boly covered, what might have saved his teammate a straight red.
The dangerous Aleksandar Mitrovic, who has already scored half a dozen goals this season, headed in a header at Dean Henderson when Fulham were unable to maintain their possession and pressure at Forest’s half-time.
It was a different story in the second half when Fulham equalized in the 54th minute when Adarabioyo detached his marker and deflected a header from Willian’s corner deep past Henderson.
The away game was in full voice three minutes later thanks to Palhinha, whose first shot fired into the top corner from just outside the box, leaving Henderson helpless at full power.
A shocked Forest were unable to contain the onslaught and they scored their third goal in just over five minutes as Bobby Decordova-Reid focused on Reed to sweep home – the first time he’s hit the net scored for Fulham.
Awoniyi missed a golden chance to put Forest back in the game after going wide in quick succession in a copy of a move that led to his first goal.
The changes had the desired effect as Lingard’s skillful flick fed Johnson, whose low cross was only tickled down O’Brien’s path by an off-balance Adarabioyo and the substitute shot past an out-of-position Leno.
However, Forest were unable to create anything meaningful on track, despite the support of the crowd, and Fulham held on to a win that put them sixth in the table.