Danny Ward and Duane Holmes were on target as Huddersfield pulled off an impressive 2-1 win at Fulham, the Championship leaders.
Carlos Corberán’s Terriers consolidated their position in the play-off positions thanks to two first-half goals. Ward netted in the 31st minute before Holmes doubled the lead from the penalty spot two minutes before the break after the Fulham goalkeeper Marek Rodak had been adjudged to have fouled Sorba Thomas. Bobby Decordova-Reid pulled a late goal back but Marco Silva’s side had to swallow a first league defeat since 20 December.
Huddersfield had the ball in the back of the Fulham net in the 14th minute but Thomas, who had earlier tested Rodak, had strayed offside before setting up Ward for a tap-in.
The Championship’s top scorer, Aleksandar Mitrovic, went in late on Tom Lees and was booked by referee Tony Harrington in the 26th minute. The Serbia striker almost broke the deadlock, though, when Fabio Carvalho raced into space on the left and rolled the ball across the face of goal. Mitrovic slid in but could not get a touch.
Huddersfield’s response was to take a shock lead. Ward saw a long-range effort blocked but when Harry Toffolo’s cross from the left bounced off Tom Cairney towards his own goal the striker reacted instantly to rifle through Rodak.
Worse was to follow for Fulham when the ball again bounced off a home player towards his own goal – Nathaniel Chalobah this time – and Rodak was penalised for bringing down Thomas. Fulham protested as it seemed to be a collision rather than a foul but Holmes made no mistake from the spot, despite Rodak getting a touch.
The second period began with Neco Williams firing a long-ranger off target for the hosts and Carvalho forced Nicholls into a diving save soon afterwards but the home fans were restless. Cairney was replaced on the hour by Neeskens Kebano but Fulham’s cause was not helped by Harry Wilson scooping a free-kick well over.
Silva was shown a yellow card for words said from the touchline after Harrington correctly ruled Matty Pearson’s challenge on Kebano in the penalty area was not a foul. Williams then sent in a cross that eluded Mitrovic and Kebano as it fizzed across goal. Wilson saw an effort deflected over and no action was taken when Jonathan Hogg, who had already been booked, elbowed Mitrovic in the face in the penalty area.
Nicholls pulled off a fine save to keep out Mitrovic’s header but was given no chance by Decordova-Reid, who controlled Williams ball into the area and lashed high into the net in the 83rd minute.
Nicholls was hurt making a brave save after Mitrovic almost bundled his way through and Huddersfield had to survive a fierce late barrage to bag the points.