Fulham kept their Championship automatic promotion hopes alive as they came from behind to beat Queens Park Rangers and put an end to their post-lockdown losing sequence.
Scott Parker’s side had lost both games since resuming their season to two of their main rivals, Brentford and Leeds United.
But, despite trailing inside a minute to a Jordan Hugill header and being without suspended top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic, Fulham had the character and spirit to come back and beat their west London rivals.
Harry Arter levelled after 21 minutes when he cut inside from the right and beat QPR keeper Liam Kelly at his near post with a low left-footed shot that slipped under the left hand of the former Scotland Under-21 man.
Cyrus Christie then claimed all three points with a 75th-minute stunner – the full-back’s first league goal for Fulham on his 52nd appearance.
That helped Fulham keep pace with neighbours Brentford, who won 3-0 at Reading.
Parker’s men remain as they started Tuesday, within two points of the Bees, but they are only two behind second-placed West Bromwich Albion, who face Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Wednesday.
Fulham manage without Mitrovic
Fulham remain in contention for a top-two finish but, more realistically, the victory cements their hold on a play-off place as they are now 10 points clear of seventh-placed Preston, Swansea and Derby.
As for Mark Warburton’s QPR, despite their early lead and a late rally that could so easily have brought an equaliser, they stay 14th, eight points clear of trouble with six games left.
Twice, they so nearly snatched a point with late headers from Ryan Manning. But, having hit the bar with the first before Fulham scrambled clear, he was then just off target with an even better chance.
And perhaps the worst miss QPR had to rue came in the first half when Bright Osayi-Samuel raced onto a long, sweeping ball down the left, got to the byline and pulled back only for Luke Amos, in a great position unmarked 15 yards out, to send his right-footed shot just over.
After going behind when Manning crossed for on-loan West Ham United striker Hugill to power home his 14th goal of the campaign, Fulham – without their leading scorer Mitrovic for three games – did then finally settle down.
The visitors had already gone close just before their equaliser when Bobby Decordova-Reid’s speculative long-range effort came back off Kelly’s right-hand post.
Although Kelly was at fault for Arter’s goal, also a first league goal for Fulham, there was not much he could do about the second as an unchallenged Christie powerfully drilled in an angled shot from 25 yards which purely beat the home keeper for pace.
QPR boss Mark Warburton: “We’ve given away three points. It was a very, very strong display – intensity, desire, quality. We had to maintain it in the second half and did that but we didn’t get the rewards.
“There’s one team in it in the second half, we’ve hit the bar and gone close, but we’ve let in two soft goals shot from distance. I have huge respect for Scott Parker and Fulham, but I don’t see how that has happened.
“We should have saved both goals, simple as that, and I’m trying to think of when Liam Kelly had another save to make.
“When you play like that, the more you play like that, the belief’s got to grow. And if we play like that week in week out, we’ll be in a good place come the end of the season.
Fulham boss Scott Parker: “While it’s disappointing to lose Aleksandar, other players are going to have to step up. He’s definitely going to be a big loss for us in the next few games. How we work, everything is around him. So to the players coming in, it’s a big responsibility now.
“We had to shuffle things around a bit here and obviously the result was key. But I don’t think my team have deserved what we’ve got out of the first two games.
“The performance and the way we’ve played in the last two games, I’ve been really pleased with. We showed real character. To go a goal down as early as we did was very disappointing. It was poor on our behalf and sloppy.
“But not to drop our heads and be the team to really take it to QPR, get control of the game and have real impetus was pleasing.”