• Freddie Sears fired visitors Ipswich Town ahead after just 16 seconds 
  • Ross McCormack equalised in the 14th with his free kick into the corner
  • Brett Pitman made it 2-1 for Ipswich, finishing off a cross from Sears
  • Tractor Boys move above Cardiff into sixth spot with three points  

Kieran Gill for MailOnline

The wait for Stuart Gray’s first win as Fulham interim manager goes on and so does the search for the right man to fix the problems that are piling up at Craven Cottage.

Fulham moved to seven Championship games without a win on Tuesday night as they lost at home to Ipswich, who took only 16 seconds to score through Freddie Sears.

Ross McCormack got Fulham back into the game against the run of play but Brett Pitman’s tidy finish was enough to condemn Gray to his first defeat since being appointed as a senior coach last week. 

Brett Pitman celebrates scoring the winner for Ipswich on Tuesday night against Fulham at Craven Cottage

Brett Pitman celebrates scoring the winner for Ipswich on Tuesday night against Fulham at Craven Cottage

Luke Chambers squeezes Pitman's cheek after the 27-year-old forward fired in his side's second goal

Luke Chambers squeezes Pitman’s cheek after the 27-year-old forward fired in his side’s second goal

Fulham were booed by their own fans at full time and Gray said: ‘What is said in the dressing room stays in the dressing room but the players know they’ve let themselves down.

‘What’s been happening at this football club far too often this season is we’ve been going a goal down. You don’t expect to go a goal down after 10 seconds.

‘Sears just went through the players as though they weren’t there.’

Fulham are still searching for a permanent successor to Kit Symons, who was sacked in November, and Gray added: ‘The only thing we can control is when we go over that white line. The decisions upstairs will be made by the people in charge. At the moment nothing has been said. I’ll be preparing the team for Bolton unless I’m told differently.’ 

Freddie Sears struck as soon as the referee's whistle blew putting the visitors ahead after 16 seconds

Freddie Sears struck as soon as the referee’s whistle blew putting the visitors ahead after 16 seconds

Ipswich celebrate their perfect start after Sears stormed through the Fulham defence after the kick-off

Ipswich celebrate their perfect start after Sears stormed through the Fulham defence after the kick-off

Fulham's Ross McCormack fires his free-kick beyond Ipswich keeper Dean Gerken from 30 yards

Fulham’s Ross McCormack fires his free-kick beyond Ipswich keeper Dean Gerken from 30 yards

McCormack celebrates getting Fulham back in the game, despite their vulnerabilities, but it wasn't to last 

McCormack celebrates getting Fulham back in the game, despite their vulnerabilities, but it wasn’t to last 

Fulham kicked off but immediately lost possession, allowing Sears to storm through their defence after beating Richard Stearman and Dan Burn to the ball. The attacker found the bottom right corner to make it 1-0 and Fulham were off to the worst possible start.

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy said: ‘It was a fabulous finish because he’s running at full pelt. He’s been terrific all season. It was a great start.’

Ipswich had not lost to Fulham since a 10-1 mauling on Boxing Day in 1963 and weren’t about to give up that 52-year record without a fight.

They almost doubled their lead in the ninth minute after fancy footwork from Ainsley Maitland-Niles but the Arsenal loanee was denied by the crossbar.

Ipswich dominated but were made to pay for their missed chances as McCormack equalised for Fulham in the 14th minute. The attacker smashed his free-kick from 30 yards into the bottom corner and, all of a sudden, Fulham had turned up.

It ended 1-1 at half time, though Ipswich sensed the win was there for the taking.

They soon got their reward when Pitman met a cross from Sears to find the only available space in the bottom left corner to give Ipswich the lead in the 57th minute.

Fulham pushed for a last-gasp equaliser but Ipswich stayed strong, ensuring they would be clinging to the coattails of the Championship’s play-off positions on Wednesday morning.

As for Fulham, they were jeered at full-time as the side temporarily being managed by Gray were left dangling above the relegation zone by this defeat. 

Pitman clinically finishes off from a cross by Sears as Ipswich claim three points to move into sixth

Pitman clinically finishes off from a cross by Sears as Ipswich claim three points to move into sixth

 

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