Tosin Adarabioyo, Joao Palhinha and Harrison Reed struck in a thrilling six-minute stretch as Fulham edged past Nottingham Forest in a five-goal thriller.
Nigeria striker Taiwo Awoniyi marked his return to Forest’s starting lineup with an 11th-minute opener, but the game took a decisive turn as the hosts conceded three goals in quick succession.
As Lewis O’Brien set up a grandstand in the 77th minute, Fulham held on to secure a 3-2 win that condemned Forest to a fourth consecutive defeat, keeping them second in the Premier League.
The top flight resumed on Friday evening after last week’s fixtures were canceled as a mark of respect following the Queen’s death and there were heartfelt tributes to mark the monarch’s passing.
A minute’s silence was impeccably observed by the overwhelming majority in the City Ground, with an eerie explosion then drowned out by a standing ovation before fans sang God Save the King, while there was a round of applause in the 70th minute to commemorate the length of the Queen’s Reign.
Two weeks ago Forest gave up a two-goal lead 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 on his Forest debut, while Fulham brought in Issa Diop and Willian after losing to London rivals Tottenham two weeks ago.
Fulham started brightly but it was Forest who created the first significant opening when Brennan Johnson left Tim Ream in their wake before battling for Morgan Gibbs-White, whose shot was wide deflected.
But from the resulting Gibbs-White corner, Ryan Yates got the upper hand in the rush of bodies to drive past the back post, where an unmarked Awoniyi headed for Bernd Leno for his second goal of the season.
Andreas Pereira came close to getting to a teasing low cross that could have brought an equalizer for the visitors, who were furious as Steve Cook escaped with a yellow card after a seemingly cynical foul as Willian charged for goal – although Boly was covering, which might have spared his teammate a direct red.
The dangerous Aleksandar Mitrovic, with half a dozen goals already this season, guided a header past Dean Henderson as Fulham were unable to make their possession and pressure in the Forest half count.
It was a different story in the second half, with Fulham level in the 54th minute as Adarabioyo peeled off his marker and expertly headed a header from Willian’s corner past Henderson.
The outside winger was in full swing three minutes later through Palhinha, whose first strike just outside the area exploded into the top corner, leaving Henderson, breathless, helpless.
A shocked Forest couldn’t stem the onslaught and they scored their third goal in just over five minutes as Bobby Decordova-Reid crossed for Reed to drive home – the first time that he found the net for Fulham.
Awoniyi squandered a golden chance to bring Forest back into the game after heading wide in a carbon copy of a move that led to his first goal, with the home side then putting caution to the wind by bringing in Lingard, O’Brien, Worrall and Sam Surridge in quick succession.
The changes had the desired effect as Lingard’s smart flick powered Johnson, whose low cross was merely hounded by an off-balance Adarabioyo into O’Brien’s path and the substitute ran past an out-of-position Leno.
Forest, however, were unable to create anything significant in the streak, despite the crowd’s support, and Fulham held on for a win that put them sixth in the table.