Philip Zinckernagel delays Fulham’s title party as Forest claim vital win

Fulham missed the chance to wrap up the Championship title as Nottingham Forest boosted their own automatic promotion hopes with a 1-0 win at Craven Cottage.

Marco Silva’s promoted side would have secured the title had they bettered Bournemouth’s result at Swansea, where the Cherries produced a remarkable late comeback from 3-0 down to draw 3-3.

However, Philip Zinckernagel’s close-range goal after 15 minutes proved the difference, the Danish playmaker pouncing on a defensive mix-up between Tim Ream and keeper Marek Rodak to prod home. Fulham could not find an equaliser as Forest moved to within three points of second place with a third straight win.

“It’s a brilliant win in the toughest game of the season,” said the Nottingham Forest manager, Steve Cooper. “We attacked the game from the start and forced them into a mistake. Fulham had more of the ball, which is not what I normally like but I will accept it as we made as many chances as they did.

“It was a case of doing everything right in terms of defending,” Cooper added. “We showed heart and soul with blocks to keep the ball out of our net.” Silva was left disappointed by Fulham’s third loss in five games. “The players wanted to get the job done tonight but we didn’t perform at our best level at all,” he said.

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Exeter secure promotion to League One


Exeter City have sealed promotion to League One after fighting back from a goal down to beat Barrow 2-1 at St James Park. The captain, Matt Jay (pictured), struck the winner 12 minutes from time, after Kieran Phillips had cancelled out an early Cameron Dawson own goal.

The Grecians will return to the third tier for the first time since 2011-12, but below them the race for the third automatic promotion spot is incredibly tight. Mansfield beat Stevenage 2-0 to go fifth, just one point behind third-placed Northampton with two games to play. 

Alistair Smith’s double helped Sutton stay seventh, three points behind Northampton, as they beat Crawley 2-1, while Swindon boosted their hopes of snatching a play-off spot with a 2-1 home win over already-promoted Forest Green, Louie Barry getting a goal and assist.

Photograph: Phil Mingo/Rex Features

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Bournemouth looked to be heading towards a costly defeat at Swansea before recovering with three goals in the final 18 minutes to earn a dramatic point in a 3-3 draw. Joel Piroe gave the Swans a sixth-minute lead and it was soon 2-0 when the Dutch forward slotted in his 22nd goal of the campaign from the edge of the area.

Cyrus Christie added a third on the counter just before the hour, but Wales striker Kieffer Moore headed in his first Bournemouth goal to give the visitors a lifeline before Dominic Solanke slotted in from the penalty spot with nine minutes to go. Moore then completed the comeback in the closing moments, tapping home the rebound after Solanke’s header was saved.

Kieffer Moore celebrates his late leveller for Bournemouth.
Kieffer Moore celebrates his late leveller for Bournemouth. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

The Bournemouth manager, Scott Parker, praised his side’s “immense spirit, desire [and] passion” after the late fightback. “We started very slowly against a very good side … at 3-0 you probably think ‘take your medicine and regroup’, but I am very proud of the team.”

“To come back from 3-0 down was massive for us,” Parker added. “Something you need from a team comes within, and my team have shown that consistently this year.” Bournemouth are now three points above Forest, who visit the Vitality Stadium in what is likely to prove a pivotal fixture next Tuesday.

Relegated Barnsley were beaten 2-0 at home by Blackpool. The Tykes parted company with manager Poya Asbaghi last week and went behind when Owen Dale gave Blackpool the lead shortly before the break, with Oliver Casey adding a second after 66 minutes.