Fulham returned to second place in the championship and an automatic promotion window with a landslide 7-0 win at the risk of relegation Reading.
Marco Silva’s men took a 13th-minute lead thanks to Harry Wilson and stretched it to the edge of half-time with a penalty from Aleksandar Mitrovic. Fulham proved rampant in the second half, when Reading collapsed, with new goals from Wilson, Kenny Tete, Neeskens Kebano, Tosin Adarabioyo and Mitrovic again.
The visitors hadn’t won in five league games, although four were draws, and had gone from top of the league to third behind Bournemouth and Blackburn. But Reading started off sluggish and was soon down 1-0 when Josh Laurent delivered an attempted back pass to goalkeeper Luke Southwood. He went straight to Wilson, who slipped the ball into the empty net.
Then followed a spectacular pair of refused efforts from Andy Carroll – one with an overhead kick, the other with a 20-yard volley with his left foot. Both shots swept over Marek Rodak but each time the former England striker was ruled offside.
Fulham had the chance to extend his lead in the first half timeout. Tom Holmes unnecessarily knocked Wilson down in the box and Mitrovic coldly sent the penalty. Fulham picked up the pace early in the second period and on time Antonee Robinson crossed low into the box and Wilson was on hand to guide home unchallenged.
It was 4-0 in the 68th minute when Mitrovic nodded and Tete was on hand to take a look at Southwood. It became 5-0 two minutes later, with Kebano drifting to the back post to stab a Wilson cross. Fulham added another in the 75th minute when Adarabioyo dominated the home defense to nod in a Wilson corner. They ended the rout with a minute left of regulation time, with Mitrovic intervening after Reading’s defense was again breached with ease.
Somewhere else, Sunderland missed the opportunity to go to the top of League One and finished with 10 men as Chris Maguire’s treble set Lincoln en route to a 3-1 victory at the Stadium of Light.
The hosts were late after half an hour when Maguire punched a low shot at the near post. Defender Carl Winchester was sent off for a second warning in the 56th minute after knocking Maguire down in the penalty area, and the forward stood up to score the resulting shot on goal.
Sunderland reduced the deficit in the 68th minute when Ross Stewart managed a rebound after his own penalty was saved by Joshua Griffiths. The rally was not late, however, as Maguire completed his treble 15 minutes from time.
Wycombe closed at a point from Sunderland with a 2-0 win at Bolt. After a delay following an early header clash, Brandon Hanlan put Wycombe ahead in the 35th minute. The visitors doubled their advantage seven minutes into the second half thanks to Jack Grimmer, the defender scoring his first goal for the club after 82 appearances.
MK Donations sit fifth after a 1-0 home win over AFC Wimbledon, who finished with 10 men. Matt O’Riley put MK Dons ahead after half an hour before the visitors saw defender Nesta Guinness-Walker sent off for a second warning before the break.
Green forest extended their lead in Ligue 2 to nine points with a 2-0 home win over struggles Colchester. The visitors, in a series of five games without a win in all competitions, fell behind Jamille Matt’s goal in the 15th minute. Josh March added a second in the time out.
Rob Edwards’ team took advantage of second place Tranmere drawing 1-1 to Salford to further tighten their grip at the top. Inform Mansfield closed in the play-offs with a 3-2 victory over the other seven prospects Swindon.
George Maris gave Mansfield an early lead, before Harry McKirdy equalized. Mansfield quickly regained the lead with a penalty from Stephen McLaughlin, Jordan Bowery bringing the score to 3-1 shortly before half-time. Swindon midfielder Ellis Iandolo scored a second behind, but it was only consolation.