Aleksandar Mitrovic took his Championship goal tally to 27 for the season after hitting a first-half hat-trick in Fulham’s 6-2 victory over Bristol City at Craven Cottage.
The win, which came on the back of the Cottagers’ 7-0 win at Reading in midweek, ensured Marco Silva’s side took full advantage of Bournemouth’s earlier defeat at Luton to move top of the table.
The outcome was decided in a thrilling first half in which Nigel Pearson’s visitors twice took the lead through Antoine Semenyo before reaching the interval trailing by three goals after four Fulham goals in 14 minutes.
Neeskens Kebano and Fabio Carvalho added to Mitrovic’s treble with Kebano adding his second after the break to complete the win.
Silva’s side have now scored 64 goals in 25 matches – 20 more than any of their rivals.
There were few signs of what was to come when Semenyo capped his side’s positive start with opening goal in the seventh minute.
The chance arose after the visitors staged a swift counter-attack with Alex Scott releasing Semenyo to run into the area and drill a rising left foot shot inside the near post.
Fulham were initially slow to respond although there were signs they were finding their feet as Mitrovic and Kebano both directed efforts wide of the target.
And after applying the first real period of sustained pressure on the Robins defence, the home side found themselves level in the 21st minute when Mitrovic rose to direct Wilson’s cross beyond keeper Max O’Leary.
O’Leary produced an outstanding acrobatic save to deny Mitrovic as Fulham appeared poised to take control.
But another incisive counter-attack saw the visitors restore their lead in the 29th minute after Semenyo raced clear form the halfway line before producing another excellent finish.
This time Fulham took just two minutes to hit back with Kebano heading in from close range after Mitrovic had nodded down Kenny Tete’s cross.
And Carvalho put Fulham ahead in the 36th minute with a superb solo effort. The 19-year-old collected the ball 35 yards from goal and ran to the edge of the penalty area before placing a side-foot shot beyond O’Leary’s dive.
Mitrovic added the fourth in the 41st minute with another header when he rose to meet Tom Cairney’s corner.
And the Serb completed his hat-trick in first half added time with a curling shot into the top corner after collecting a pass from Tom Cairney.
Nigel Pearson’s City side were relieved to reach the interval but there was no respite after the restart.
Fulham continued to dominate and they extended their lead in the 58th minute when Kebano added his second with a shot on the turn after Tosin Adarabioyo headed a corner towards the far post.
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