Bryan Ruiz seemed to have earned Fulham a point with a similar strike late in the first half, but Mutch broke the home team’s hearts with seconds remaining.
Fulham were not at the races in the first half; hampered by the loss of Scott Parker to injury, they failed to mark Bluebirds’ skipper Steven Caulker as he headed home unchallenged from a corner on 12 minutes.
With the visitors in the ascendancy, Fulham manager Martin Jol rolled the dice and brought on Ruiz for Alex Kacaniklic on 39 minutes.
The move paid dividends when the Costa Rican received a pass on the edge of the box and curled the ball elegantly past David Marshall.
Fulham were much improved in the second half, but Cardiff had the lion’s share of the chances over the 90 minutes and just about deserved the win – for Mutch’s moment of quality if nothing else.
Pre-match: Darren Bent starts for Fulham after scoring in the League Cup in midweek. Peter Odemwingie does the same for Cardiff after doing the same. Ruiz returns to the Fulham bench.
12’ – GOAL (Fulham 0-1 Cardiff): Caulker scores from a Whittingham corner, rising to head home unmarked.
29’- DISALLOWED GOAL: Caulker has the ball in the net again after a goalmouth scramble, but Stockdale is adjudged – harshly – to have fouled Stockdale.
39’ – SUBSTITUTION: Martin Jol is unimpressed with his team so far, and in a tactical switch, brings on Ruiz for Kacaniklic.
45’ – GOAL (Fulham 1-1 Cardiff): The substitution pays off almost immediately as Ruiz fires home an elegant effort from the edge of the box.
55’ – SUBSTITUTION: Mutch comes on for the injured Kim for Cardiff. He makes a chance for Whittingham almost immediately.
69’ – CHANCE: An excellent Fulham move is ended by Kasami, but the big midfielder places his shot rather than powering it at Marshall.
90+2’ – GOAL (Fulham 1-2 Cardiff): Mutch breaks the home fans’ hearts with a tremendous curling winner from the right hand side of the Fulham box.
Fulham are now without a home Premier League win in 7 games since April.
With 4 points, this is Fulham’s joint worst start to a Top Flight season since returning to the Premier League in 2001-02. In the 2011-12 season they also only managed 4 points from their opening 6 matches under Martin Jol, but went on to finish that season in 9th.
Cardiff’s 12th minute goal is their quickest League goal of 2013 – and their fastest since their 8th minute opener from Rudy Gestede in their 1-0 Championship home win v Millwall, December 29th 2012.
TALKING POINT: Tiny margin between success and failure for Jol: After a poor first 40 minutes for Fulham, manager Martin Jol rolled the dice and made a change. It worked almost immediately with Ruiz’s goal – and the home side were much improved after the break – but it may count for nothing, as Cardiff’s last minute winner will heap pressure on the genial Dutchman.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Gary Medel (Cardiff): Makes Malky Mackay’s men motor in midfield – the diminutive Chilean was at the heart of everything good that Cardiff did.
FULHAM – Stockdale 6; Riether 6, Richardson 6, Amorebieta 6, Hangeland 5; Sidwell 5, Kacaniklic 4, Kasami 6, Parker 4; Bent 5, Berbatov 6. Subs : Ruiz 7, Karagounis 5, Taraabt 5.
CARDIFF CITY – Marshall 6; Taylor 6, Caulker 7, Turner 6, Theophile-Catherine 7; Medel 8, Kim Bo-Kyung 5, Gunnarsson 6; Odemwingie 6, Campbell 5, Whittingham 6. Subs: Mutch 7, Bellamy 5, Maynard 5.