Mitrovic makes mark as Fulham beat QPR in derby

Queens Park Rangers' George Thomas (right) and Fulham's Tosin Adarabioyo (left) battle for the ball

Queens Park Rangers' George Thomas (right) and Fulham's Tosin Adarabioyo (left) battle for the ball - Credit: PA

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored both goals as Sky Bet Championship leaders Fulham west London rivals QPR.

Mitrovic's first-half opener put Fulham in control and the Serbia striker's 78th-minute penalty sealed the victory, and took his tally to 37 league goals this season.

Fulham, who look certain to be promoted back to the top flight at the first time of asking, went ahead after 14 minutes at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.

Tom Cairney played the ball in to Fabio Carvalho, who pulled it back from the right-hand touchline for Mitrovic to score from close range.

Rangers caused Fulham some problems after the goal, with the fit-again Lyndon Dykes shooting wide and Yoann Barbet well over, while visiting keeper Marek Rodak spilled Dion Sanderson's long-range effort before gathering the ball at the second attempt.

But Fulham always looked threatening and very nearly doubled their lead on the counter-attack.

Carvalho got away from Sam Field before the Portuguese youngster's shot deflected off Sanderson and looped over keeper Keiren Westwood and against the post.

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And Westwood denied Fulham before the interval, saving from Bobby Decordova-Reid after the Whites forward found himself through on goal.

Marco Silva's side continued to have the upper hand in the second half, with Harry Wilson firing wide before having a decent case for a penalty ignored when he was barged over by Barbet after latching on to Neco Williams' excellent forward pass.

However, referee Gavin Ward did point to the spot 12 minutes from time after Williams' right-wing cross struck Lee Wallace's arm.

Mitrovic coolly converted, ending any real prospect of a QPR comeback.

While their neighbours seem on course to join fellow west London clubs Chelsea and Brentford in the Premier League, Rangers - regularly the area's top side in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, face the prospect of being left behind.

This result continued an awful run which has seen them drop out of the play-off places.

Rangers have lost their past three matches and five of the last six. In their last 11 games, they have won just twice and suffered seven defeats.

Injuries have hit them hard, with recent signing Westwood brought in because four keepers - Seny Dieng, David Marshall, Jordan Archer and youngster Joe Walsh - are all sidelined.

The loss of talisman Chris Willock to a hamstring problem has also been a hammer blow for Mark Warburton's side, who lack ideas going forward without him.

Their miserable afternoon ended with boss Warburton being yellow-carded and his assistant John Eustace sent off in stoppage time, seemingly because of comments made to the fourth official or Fulham's coaching staff.

QPR: Westwood, Sanderson, Dickie, Barbet, Odubajo, Field, Johansen (Chair 70), Wallace, Amos (Dozzell 79), Thomas (Austin 73), Dykes. Unused subs: McCallum, Dunne, Hendrick, Mahoney.