Aleksandar Mitrovic netted his 20th Championship goal of the season to give Fulham victory at Blackburn Rovers and put them within a whisker of the automatic promotion places.
A drab game was finally brought to life midway through the second half when the Serbia striker collected Joe Bryan’s cross, turned and fired in.
Fulham had been frustrated by the hosts before Mitrovic’s opener, with Blackburn goalkeeper Christian Walton stopping an own goal from Bradley Johnson and palming away Tom Cairney’s strike.
Rovers, who missed the chance to narrow a six-point gap to the play-off places, showed little attacking quality and their best opening saw Sam Gallagher denied by Marek Rodak late on.
Stefan Johansen should have made it 2-0 when he raced clear close to full-time, but Walton denied the midfielder with a smart save.
Fulham stay third and are now level on points with second-placed Leeds, who lost at Nottingham Forest later on Saturday.
Once again it was the Championship’s joint top scorer Mitrovic who made the difference in a game which looked like it might end goalless.
The 25-year-old’s strike was all about instinct inside the box. It took him to 20 league goals for the first time in his career and up to 28 in 33 games for club and country this season.
Fulham have now only lost one of their past nine Championship matches to give themselves a real chance of returning to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray:
“The nature of the game was frustrating. I thought we managed them really well. Mitrovic – I can’t remember him having a touch apart from scoring a goal.
“I don’t think Fulham deserved to win. We know they’re a good side but I thought it was a game of very few goalscoring chances. It was an attritional game. I thought we managed them really well.”
Fulham boss Scott Parker told BBC Radio London:
“It’s a tough place to come, we knew the challenge ahead of us today was a big one and it was a perfect away performance.
“I thought we grew into the game, we had our moments in the first half without putting our mark or control on it.
“[In the second half] I felt we needed a bit more control in the way we played. We turned the game into what the occasion was and Blackburn make you do that.”