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Fulham made to battle past plucky Preston

Fulham kept in touch with the Championship’s automatic promotion places thanks to a second home win in four days as they beat Preston 2-0.

Former England striker David Nugent scored an own goal to give Fulham the lead after 58 minutes and substitute Aboubakar Kamara scored a breakaway second in added time.

The result was tough on Preston, who remain in sixth place but dominated for long periods without being able to find the net.

The home side knew three points were essential after Leeds’ victory in the early kick-off and with Bristol City, Brentford and Leeds their next three opponents.

But it was Preston who had the best of the early stages.

Fulham goalkeeper Marek Rodak got away with a loose pass from his own area, Brad Potts intercepting but seeing his shot charged down.

Potts had another goal-bound effort blocked by Michael Hector after Rodak could only parry a low cross from Nugent.

The visitors had the ball in the net from the resulting corner but Sean Maguire was offside when he got the final touch to turn Nugent’s flick past Rodak.

Fulham had to wait until the 20th minute for their first serious effort at goal, Bobby Decordova-Reid pulling a left-foot shot wide of the near post from 10 yards.

That heralded a spell of pressure from the home side but Preston quickly pulled 10 men behind the ball at any sign of danger and a series of crosses from substitute Cyrus Christie found only the heads of Preston defenders.

When Preston broke, they looked the more dangerous side.

Five minutes before half-time, they were so eager to score that three forwards got in each other’s way, Alan Browne’s shot eventually gathered by Rodak.

Christie, who replaced the injured Joe Bryan early on, made some driving runs down the right but otherwise it looked as if an error or a moment of inspiration would be needed to unlock the visitors’ defence.

And after 58 minutes it proved to be the former as Nugent attempted to head clear from Anthony Knockaert’s corner on the right. The ball skidded off his head and looped past goalkeeper Declan Rudd into the far corner of the net.

Christie missed a chance to double the lead when he volleyed past the angle of post and crossbar following a corner that one of his marauding runs had won.

Preston’s chance to level came after 89 minutes but Rodak saved Andrew Hughes’ header and with North End committed forward in added time, Kamara broke away to score a second after exchanging passes with Ivan Cavaleiro.