PL REPORT: Burnley 1 Fulham 1
Clarets hit back again as Ashley Barnes’ equaliser secures important point
The Clarets maintained an eight-point gap above the Premier League’s bottom three as they again came from behind to earn a precious reward.
For the third time in four top-flight games at Turf Moor, Burnley wiped out a deficit as they extended their unbeaten league run to three matches.
Ashley Barnes’ swift response to the visitors’ opening goal four minutes into the second half was enough to deny draw specialists Fulham a fourth win of the season as they remain adrift in the relegation places.
And the striker's third goal of the season also allowed Sean Dyche’s injury-hit men to move back up a place to 15th in the table as they continue to close in on safety.
As well as the absence of Ben Mee as a result of the concussion he sustained in Saturday’s win at Crystal Palace, the Clarets’ back four was also missing the injured Erik Pieters.
That meant starts for Charlie Taylor and Kevin Long as Burnley looked to extend an unbeaten home record against Fulham stretching back 50 years and 30 games.
Long had one important piece of defending to do as he got in front of Josh Maja to prevent the on-loan striker from looking to add to the two debut goals he scored in securing Fulham’s first win since the end of November at Everton last weekend.
But that apart Burnley’s back four was barely stretched in a first half in which goalkeeper Nick Pope didn’t have a save to make.
Fulham keeper Alphonse Areola wasn’t over-employed either, but the Clarets still looked the likelier scorers before the break.
Long had a chance to make an impact at the other end as he headed a Dwight McNeil corner just over the bar as Burnley looked a threat from set-pieces.
Ashley Westwood gave Barnes a sighter of goal he couldn’t take with a beautiful ball over Fulham’s back line before connecting with a sweet volley Areola held.
And in the last minute of the half James Tarkowski made a storming run forward which ended with a superb low cross that Barnes and Jay Rodriguez were only inches away from steering into the net.
Fulham had been unbeaten in their previous five away games and were looking to equal a top-flight record of six in a row undefeated on the road.
And their cause was helped five minutes into the second half when they took the lead.
The Londoners had looked all night to strike on the break and when they counter-attacked to force a corner, Joachim Andersen’s flick bounced in off the chest of Ola Aina with substitute Robbie Brady – who had replaced the injured Johann Berg Gudmundsson before going off himself with a knock – unable to clear off the line.
That goal stung the Clarets but crucially they were behind for just three minutes.
Rodriguez has made a habit of scoring against Fulham, including two goals in last month’s FA Cup victory at Craven Cottage.
But this time he was the creator as he cleverly dropped a shoulder to give Tosin Adarbioyo the slip out wide before delivering the perfect square ball for Barnes to control at the second attempt and then keep his composure to calmly stroke home his third goal in nine league games.
Immediately the Clarets went for the kill with Areola saving from a rejuvenated Rodriguez as the striker searched for the 100th league goal of his career.
And Brady then headed an excellent cross from Taylor wide shortly before making way for Brownhill.
But having weathered that spell of pressure, Fulham sensed there might be a winner for them and Pope was called into action for the first time as he saved Maja’s skidding effort.
The Clarets were suddenly the ones hanging on but in typical style – led by stand-in skipper Tarkowski – they dug deep to keep the visitors at bay and secure a key point in the chase for a bigger prize.
Burnley: Pope; Lowton, Long, Tarkowski, Taylor; Gudmundsson (Brady 38 replaced by Brownhill 66)), Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Barnes, Rodriguez. Substitutes: Peacock-Farrell, Norris, Bardsley, Dunne, Benson, Glennon, Mumbongo.
Fulham: Areola; Tete (Robinson 78), Andersen, Adarabioyo, Aina; Reed, Lemina (Anguissa 62); Loftus-Cheek, De Cordova-Reid (Cavaleiro 68), Lookman; Maja. Substitutes: Rodak, Hector, Odoi, Ream, Onomah, Kongolo.
Referee: Jon Moss
Wed, Mar 3, 2021