Sheyi Ojo marked his first game back from a shoulder injury with two goals as Fulham sealed a dramatic 5-4 victory over Sheffield United on Tuesday.
Ojo was sidelined with a dislocated shoulder at the end of September, having been withdrawn midway through the second half in Fulham’s 2-0 win over QPR.
The 20-year-old was initially expected to miss three months of action, with his return date pencilled in for the New Year, but instead he made a swift recovery.
Taking to the field for his first outing since that night at Loftus Road, Ojo made his eighth start for the Cottagers, lining up on the right wing.
Fulham went behind within six minutes through Blades striker Leon Clarke, but it was Ojo who restored parity just before the half-hour mark.
The winger had already gone close after a smart interchange driving into the box, before he latched onto a sloppy backpass to surge through and sidefoot past Jamal Blackman to make it 1-1.
Former Liverpool target Ryan Sessegnon, making his 50th competitive outing for Fulham at just 17, put the away side ahead two minutes later, before Clarke added another for United.
Sessegnon pushed Slavisa Jokanovic’s side back in the lead just before half-time, firing home from Ojo’s great cross from the right.
Ojo and Sessegnon then scored a quick-fire double late on to give the Cottagers a commanding lead, with the latter sealing a landmark hat-trick.
Ojo’s second goal of the night was an impudent effort with his left foot, which crept past Blackman at the far post as the No. 19 peeled away in elation.
Clarke and Samir Carruthers both scored for Sheffield in the closing stages, setting up a tense finale, but Fulham held on to seal the three points in what Ojo described as a “mad game.”
Mad game! Back with a bang?, 2 goals and an assist. Thanks to the fans for the support during my injury rehab? pic.twitter.com/9Zx9Pyyjzi
— Sheyi Ojo (@sheyi_ojo) November 21, 2017
The youngster will now set his sights on reclaiming his regular starting role under Jokanovic, as he aims to carve out a long-term future at Liverpool.
Having spent much of last season on the sidelines, Ojo’s shoulder injury was a major blow, but the speed of his recovery highlights a determination to succeed.
Fulham are currently 14th in the Championship, having taken 23 points from their first 18 games, and the performances of their Reds loanee could be key to climbing up the table.
And if Ojo does return to Anfield next summer, the hope will be that he convinces Sessegnon to join him there.