(Reuters) - English Championship leaders Newcastle United had their progress halted by a sensational performance from 16-year-old Fulham full-back Ryan Sessegnon, who scored twice in the London side’s shock 3-1 win at St James’ Park on Saturday.
Sessegnon, a young English prospect who has attracted the interest of Premier League sides, grabbed his double in eight minutes just before the hour as Fulham, who went ahead through Tom Cairney’s first-half strike, pulled off a fine victory.
The setback for Rafa Benitez’s side, who scored a late goal through Daryl Murphy, means they stay top of the second-tier on 77 points on goal difference from Brighton & Hove Albion, who beat visiting Derby County 3-0 on Friday.
Huddersfield Town moved within six points of the leaders with a game in hand after a 1-0 win at Brentford thanks to Rajiv van La Parra’s speculative 28th minute strike.
The Terriers moved five points clear of fourth-placed Leeds United, who were held 0-0 by Queens Park Rangers at Elland Road where the home side’s ex-England keeper Rob Green, 37, made a fine first-half save on his 600th league appearance.
Leeds stay two points ahead of Reading, who lost 3-0 at fellow playoff-chasing team Preston North End after Tom Barkhuizen’s brace for the home side.
Newcastle suffered a seriously lethargic off-day at St James’ Park as Fulham, chasing a playoff spot after a recent run of good form, took the game to the leaders from the start.
Cairney put Fulham in front with a superb 20-metre strike into the top corner in the first half and after the teenager Sessegnon made his decisive contribution, a late goal from Murphy was just a consolation for the Magpies.
It could have been worse for Benitez’s side as Tim Ream missed a penalty in added time for Fulham, who moved up to seventh only two points outside the playoff spots.
Reporting by Ian Chadband; editing by Ken Ferris