Spence sees red as Town blown away in seven minute spell
A second-half goal blitz saw Fulham take the points at a windy Craven Cottage after Town had been reduced to 10 men following a red card to Jordan Spence.
Joe Garner’s header from another brilliant Martyn Waghorn delivery just before the break had put Blues ahead but Spence was dismissed for a challenge on Aboubakar Kamara early in the second-half.
That gave Fulham the impetus and they struck four times in seven crazy minutes to rock Blues.
Ryan Sessegnon equalised on 69 minutes, Kamara put the Cottagers ahead and grabbed his side’s fourth after Sessegnon had made it three.
To add to Town’s misery, Grant Ward joined the ever-growing injury list with a groin problem.
Town made two changes from the side that went down to Derby at the weekend, Cole Skuse and Tommy Smith coming in for Kevin Bru and the injured Adam Webster.
Luke Hyam was named among the substitutes, the midfielder taking a significant step towards a return to action after a long absence through injury.
Bersant Celina sent in an early free-kick after Garner had been fouled, Tim Ream clearing, then the highly-rated Sessegnon cancelled out the threat from Ward on the edge of the box.
Stefan Johansen fizzed a shot over the bar from 25 yards, Bart Bialkowski had to be alert to deal with Kamara at his near post, the Town ‘keeper forced into another save from Kamara soon after.
Waghorn continued as he has done from day one and provided an attacking outlet for Blues, almost forcing his way to goal before Denis Odoi came to the Cottagers’ rescue, Bialkowski judged to have pushed Johansen’s shot behind for a corner at the other end.
Sheyi Ojo fired wide as Fulham continued to press for the opener, Oliver Norwood then sending a free-kick just over.
Celina almost capitalised on a stray pass from Norwood in the Fulham box, Waghorn high and wide from 25 yards before the home side made an early change with Floyd Ayite replaced by Kebano.
The substitute made an immediate impact, getting behind the Town defence and Kamara was inches away from converting with the goal gaping.
Town’s injury problems continued with Ward forced off, Freddie Sears the replacement.
Blues got the breakthrough right on half-time, Waghorn the provider with another glorious delivery from a free-kick and Garner heading in from close range.
Bialkowski saved low down from Neeskens as Fulham looked for an immediate response but Town held firm until the break.
Johansen hit the Town wall with a free-kick, Norwood was wide from the edge of the box, then Tom Cairney was shut out as Fulham searched for an equaliser.
Spence then saw red for a challenge on Kamara on 55 minutes, Town making a second change with Dominic Iorfa on for Celina.
Lucas Piazon entered the fray midway through the half - and referee Keith Stroud’s notebook soon after being judged to have dived in the area
Fulham were level on 69 minutes, the chance looked to have gone when Kebano couldn’t find the net at the far post but the ball fell kindly for Sessegnon who headed in.
The Cottagers struck again two minutes later, Kebano again in the thick of the action and Kamara smashed the ball in from 10 yards through a sea of blue.
Sessegnon made it three goals in five minutes with a tap in at the far post after Cairney had danced his way past three defenders and it got worse for Blues with Kamara seeing his shot deflected in on 76 minutes as the home side took complete control.
Bialkowski saved from Cairney, the ‘keeper then doing even better to stop Kamara grabbing his third but the damage had been done by that whirlwind seven minutes.
Fulham: Bettinelli, Fredericks, Sessegnon (Soares 86), Odoi, Johansen, Cairney, Ayite (Kebano 35), Ream, Norwood, Ojo (Piazon 64), Kamara. Subs not used: Button, McDonald, Fonte, Kalas. Booked: Ream, Piazon.
Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers, Smith, Knudsen, Ward (Sears 43), Skuse, Connolly (Hyam 81), Celina (Iorfa 56), Garner, Waghorn. Subs not used: Crowe, McGoldrick, Bru, Kenlock. Sent-off: Spence. Booked: Connolly, Garner, Waghorn, Chambers.