Marco Silva’s Fulham beat Birmingham City comfortably at St Andrew’s to return to the top of the Championship.
The Cottagers were on their way from the moment defender Denis Odoi headed home Harry Wilson’s right-wing corner on 10 minutes.
Aleksandar Mitrovic then drilled home a 44th-minute penalty after Nathaniel Chalobah – their deadline-day signing from Watford – got bundled over in the box.
Fulham debutant Chalobah was then also involved in Fulham’s third with a superb pass for Wilson to run on and score on 54 minutes.
Jean Michael Seri then set up a second for Mitrovic on 83 minutes – the Serb’s sixth goal of the season.
His brace takes him to within one goal of Reading’s John Swift as Championship top scorer this season.
Blues did pull one back on 87 minutes when second-half substitute Troy Deeney scored his first goal for Blues – at the Tilton End too – from the penalty spot, after he had been dragged back by Odoi.
In stoppage time, Deeney had another header saved and Gary Gardner hit the bar. But, despite that late rally from Lee Bowyer’s men, Deeney’s goal was scant consolation for Blues, who had previously only conceded three goals in six games this season, on a night when victory could have lifted them third.
Birmingham City striker Troy Deeney told BBC Radio WM:
“Hopefully this is just a bump in the road. This is the best team we’re going to play in this league by far. We had chances but they were just a bit better with their quality and calmness in the final third.
“You can turn things rounds really quickly in the Championship. You haven’t got a week to sulk like you have in the Premier League.
“The majority of the fans stayed and that was a huge positive for us. And it was nice to get off the mark, You don’t want to be waiting five or six games for your first goal.
“The last game I started was for Watford here against Coventry in January. That’s two games now coming off the bench and I’m only going to get better the more I play.”
- 11BelaSubstituted forGardnerat 60′minutesBooked at 67mins
- 7ChongBooked at 48minsSubstituted forAnekeat 75′minutes
- 9HoganSubstituted forDeeneyat 53′minutes
- 24SeriBooked at 36mins
- 6ReedSubstituted forQuinaat 65′minutes
- 8WilsonSubstituted forMawsonat 78′minutes
- 14De Cordova-ReidSubstituted forCavaleiroat 74′minutes
- 19Muniz Carvalho
Match ends, Birmingham City 1, Fulham 4.
Second Half ends, Birmingham City 1, Fulham 4.
Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Joe Bryan.
Gary Gardner (Birmingham City) hits the bar with a header from the left side of the six yard box. Assisted by Maxime Colin with a cross.
Offside, Birmingham City. Lukas Jutkiewicz tries a through ball, but Chuks Aneke is caught offside.
Kristian Pedersen (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Nathaniel Chalobah (Fulham).
Attempt saved. Troy Deeney (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Attempt missed. Harlee Dean (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Goal! Birmingham City 1, Fulham 4. Troy Deeney (Birmingham City) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.
Penalty Birmingham City. Troy Deeney draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Denis Odoi (Fulham) after a foul in the penalty area.
Goal! Birmingham City 0, Fulham 4. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jean Michael Seri.
Attempt missed. Ivan Cavaleiro (Fulham) right footed shot from the left side of the box is too high.
Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Alfie Mawson.
Offside, Fulham. Joe Bryan tries a through ball, but Aleksandar Mitrovic is caught offside.
Substitution, Fulham. Alfie Mawson replaces Harry Wilson.
Foul by Ivan Cavaleiro (Fulham).
Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt blocked. Marc Roberts (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ryan Woods with a cross.