Fulham 4-2 Burnley: Clarets drop into relegation zone as defence falters again

Fulham 4-2 Burnley: Clarets drop into relegation zone as defence falters again

Burnley have conceded 10 goals in their last three matches whilst Fulham constructed their first win of the campaign.

Chris Lincoln
FulhamBettinelli; Fosu-Mensah, Odoi, Le Marchand, Bryan (Chambers 72); Seri, McDonald, Cairney (Zambo Anguissa 78); Schürrle (Sessegnon 89), Mitrovic, Vietto
BurnleyHart; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward (Barnes 66); Lennon, Cork, Westwood, Berg Gudmundsson (Taylor 19), Hendrick; Wood (Vokes 66)
SCORE1-0 Seri 4, 1-1 Hendrick 10, 2-1 Mitrovic 36, 301 Mitrovic 38, 3-2 Tarkwoski 41, 4-2 Schurrle 83

An Aleksandar Mitrovic double condemned Burnley to a third successive defeat in all competitions as Fulham leapfrogged them in the table to kickstart their return to the top-flight.

Frantic first half as five goals fly in

Burnley went into the contest on the back of seven games without a victory in normal time, drawing five after being forced to go into extra-time during both of their Europa League ties.

With two matches each week combined with long journeys to the likes of Istanbul and Athens, fatigue looks to already be setting in for a small squad that were restricted financially during the transfer window.

Despite fielding what is close to their strongest eleven, the Clarets conceded as early as the fourth minute but there was very little they could do about Fulham's opener. Jean Michael Seri had the audacity to let rip from range, firing the ball into Joe Hart's top corner to open the hosts' account.

Yet Burnley wasted little time responding, drawing level just six minutes later. Aaron Lennon worked his magic on the right before floating in a pinpoint cross that was converted by Jeff Hendrick.

However, Fulham were not to be held back in their positive attitude to the contest. They had clearly seen an opportunity to win their first top-flight game since 2014 and they were not about to pass up that opportunity, particularly as the visitors' most creative player, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, limped off after just 19 minutes. 

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Home midfield dominate

Seri, Tom Cairney and debutant Luciano Vietto dominated possession in midfield whilst both Andre Schurrle and Timothy Fosu-Mensah drew saves from Hart with the right side of midfield proving a dangerous outlet against Stephen Ward and substitute Charlie Taylor.

Burnley were visibly drained by the quick tempo and neat interchanges before being caught out on 36 minutes. Seri and Cairney worked a short corner which the latter planted onto Mitrovic's head to restore the lead. Just two minutes later, the giant Serb doubled his tally as Vietto picked him out with a cross on the break and the striker powered past Ward to head home.

Yet the Clarets gave themselves hope as Craven Cottage saw a third goal in a frantic five minute period. Ben Mee headed just wide from Taylor's corner but when the pair combined again just a minute later from another set-piece, James Tarkowski was on hand to turn the loose ball home. 

Schurrle seals a crucial three points

However, Burnley could not build any sort of momentum after the break, despite the hosts missing a number of chances to kill the game. Mitrovic headed wide from another Vietto cross before Schurrle hit the crossbar from range and saw a header saved by Hart within ten minutes of the restart. Burnley were restricted to a hopeful strike from range that flew over from Hendrick's right foot.

The game settled for a period midway through the second half as Burnley introduced both Sam Vokes and Ashley Barnes. Yet it was the hosts who continued to look the most likely to score again.

Despite playmaker Cairney picking up an injury with 15 minutes to play, Schurrle saw two more shots saved and Mitrovic hit the post before the former finally ensured all three points for the Cottagers in the 83rd minute.

Vokes went close to pulling a goal back two minutes later but the damage had been done by an impressive Fulham side who didn't even introduce starlet Ryan Sessegnon until the 90th minute. They could have scored even more as André-Frank Zambo Anguissa forced Hart into another stop and Vietto fired over.

A huge win for Fulham but a concerning result for Burnley as they drop into the bottom three.