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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
21:55 9th February 2010

FULHAM 3 BURNLEY 0

Burnley continue to do things the hard way as they sunk without trace on the banks of the Thames to remain under pressure just above the relegation zone.

Following the euphoria of their win over West Ham three days previously, the Clarets must have fancied their chances of a rare reward on the road against a Fulham side struggling to regain some of their early season form.

But instead it was an all-too familiar tale as the Cottagers rediscovered the route to goal and handed Burnley their seventh successive away defeat.

Two goals in eight first-half minutes all but did for Brian Laws' side as Danny Murphy and David Elm made the most of generous decisions from an assistant referee, who twice failed to flag for off-side, to put Fulham in the comfort zone.

Without a goal on their previous five trips that was always likely to make it a near impossible task for the Clarets to add to their solitary point away from home and an uncertain defensive display allowed the home side to add a third through Bobby Zamora early in the second half.

Not since August have Burnley managed to record successive wins and they now have close to a fortnight before their next fixture at Aston Villa to work on a formula for the consistency needed to avoid a nervy end to the campaign.

With such a poor away record behind them, Laws attempted to stiffen the Clarets' resolve by bringing in David Edgar in place of Robbie Blake with Edgar starting at left-back behind Danny Fox in midfield.

Leon Cort limps away with physio Luke Bussey

But it did little to help as Burnley found themselves 2-0 down after half an hour.

A composed start in which Kevin McDonald had done his best to get the Clarets on the front foot was undone after 23 minutes when the Clarets suffered a self-inflicted blow.

There had been little in the way of chances, bar a weak shot from Elms which Brian Jensen comfortably saved, before Tyrone Mears needlessly conceded a corner.

The initial threat was repelled but Burnley didn't get out of their own half again before Nicky Shorey swung over a cross for Elm who looked to be starting from an off-side position when he headed down for Danny Murphy to steer the ball home from six yards out.

Burnley replied immediately with their best opening to date as Steven Fletcher combined with McDonald to shoot just wide.

But the momentum had swung decisively Fulham's way and after Dickson Etuhu has been denied by Jensen they doubled their lead.

Again the Clarets could consider themselves let down by the assistant referee who failed to see Bobby Zamora start his run from behind the Burnley back four but once allowed to run on the striker struck a low shot Jensen couldn't hold and Elms tapped in his first Fulham goal.

David Nugent is tackled by Dickson Etuhu

To add to Burnley's problems Leon Cort limped off which forced Laws to re-shuffle his back line with Edgar pushing inside and Fox resuming left-back duties.

Chris Eagles came off the bench to at least add a potential attacking threat and with the Clarets desperately in need of a goal to give themselves hope for the second half, Mears clipped a curling free-kick against the angle of post and bar.

But the next goal came Fulham's way nine minutes after the break as it threatened to be a long night in the capital for Laws' travel-sick troops.

Zamora had already been thwarted by Jensen's fine save when he helped himself to a gift-wrapped 12th goal of the season.

Steven Fletcher gets away from Danny Murphy

The striker too easily held possession and drew a free-kick from Edgar on the edge of the penalty area and was then given a huge target in the corner of the goal to curl in a free-kick with his left foot.

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson was then able to withdraw Zamora and Damien Duff for their domestic and european cup commitments to come.

But the home side still almost added a fourth when the assured Murphy played in Stefano Okaka for a run on goal halted only by the legs of the well positioned Jensen.

Okaka also volleyed wide in the dying moments but the wonderfully defiant Burnley fans refused to be silenced as they stoically showed their undying belief that the Clarets can overcome another set-back to achieve their survival goal.

Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Cort (Eagles 32), Edgar, Elliott (Cork 56), Bikey, McDonald, Fletcher, Nugent (Paterson 76) Fox. Substitutes: Duff, Blake, Thompson.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Shorey, Duff (Riise 77), Murphy, Etuhu, Elm, Zamora (Okaka 71), Davies (Greening 62). Substitutes: Kelly, Nevland, Smalling, Zuberbuhler.

Referee: Steve Bennett

Attendance: 23,005

    Data provided by Press Association