Lee rolls the dice for Robins
FORTUNE favours the bold and Lee Johnson admits he took a risk throwing on Peter Odemwingie and Bobby Reid – but it worked to hand Bristol City a crucial three points.
Fulham took the lead early on in the game through goal-machine Ross McCormack to calm the nerves inside the stadium.
Marlon Pack then drew Bristol City level with a fierce right-footed shot midway through the second half, after Johnson had taken off Jonathan Kodjia and Luke Freeman for his super subs at half-time.
And at the death, Lee Tomlin whipped in a free-kick to ensure the visitors left London having leapfrogged their fellow relegation battlers.
“The first 30 minutes we were well off it,” said Johnson, who signed Odemwingie on loan from Stoke last week.“I felt Fulham were the better side, first to the ball everywhere and the front two looked dangerous.
“I was quite bold, I made two substitutions to two of our big players because we needed something. I brought Peter Odemwingie and Bobby Reid on and the pair of them I thought were excellent.
“It just meant we got a foothold on the game and I thought second half, the majority of it was played in their half.We deserved the win.”
The visitors could have taken the lead moments after the game started as Joe Bryan was played in down the left but Andrew Lonergan denied him.
However, the clinical McCormack opened the scoring in the third minute with a delightful chip past the stranded Richard O’Donnell.
McCormack then nearly struck again from a free-kick that drifted just wide of the right-hand post.
The Robins nearly drew level but Fulham’s Fernando Amorebieta’s defensive header wandered just wide of his own left hand post.
McCormack, who now has 19 Championship goals this season, then nearly stretched the Whites’ lead with another free-kick but his effort curled just wide.
The visitors came out fighting in the second half and nearly scored straight from kick-off but Tomlin’s effort was saved by Lonergan.
Moussa Dembele could have stretched Fulham’s lead with a one-on-one but the ball eluded him after a heavy touch.
Odemwingie nearly opened his account for the Robins but Ryan Fredericks made a goal-saving tackle to deny the striker.
Luke Garbutt also had the chance to double Fulham’s lead but his shot flew over the bar.
Pack equalised for the Robins in the 69th minute, striking the ball into the bottom left hand corner, to score his first of the season.
Fulham nearly snatched it near the death through McCormack but O’Donnell produced a great save down to his right.
However in the 90th minute, Tomlin’s curling free-kick found the bottom left-hand corner to leave the Fulham faithful restless at the final whistle.
And Slavisa Jokanovic is under no illusions as to how much trouble Fulham find themselves in.
“Generally we start the game very well, we play good football and we can score goals,” he said.
“But we didn’t control the second half because we made many mistakes. It’s disappointing for us and it’s disappointing for our supporters through this situation.
“We are in a relegation battle. This is now really clear, our situation is very important for all of us to understand where we are.
“I understand where we are, everything is in our hands still and we need to be brave.”