Burnley 3 Fulham 1
Andre Gray’s third consecutive Turf Moor brace and a late Matty Taylor clincher earned the Clarets a 3-1 victory over a resilient Fulham side.
Record signing Gray made it seven goals in six games for the Clarets, who have now won nine of their last 12 outings to go joint top of the Championship.
Ross McCormack scored just after the break to set up an exciting second half, before Taylor’s stoppage time finish sealed the win.
The game set off at a slow pace with no sign of the open game to come, as first David Jones’ 25-yard effort trickled harmlessly wide, before a Jamie O’Hara strike from a corner routine was blazed way over.
Ben Mee’s cross from the left then found Sam Vokes at the near post, but the Welshman’s thunderous header whistled over the crossbar.
The former Wolves striker then found the target at the second attempt after receiving a pull back from George Boyd, but a superb block from Dan Burn denied an opener.
But against a backdrop of fireworks lighting up the sky, Gray lit the blue touchpaper to give the Clarets the lead.
Coming back to him after taking the initial corner from the left, Jones’ deep ball was perfect for the lethal striker and Gray’s header nestled into the bottom right corner.
And 10 minutes before half time Gray clinically grabbed his and Burnley’s second.
The former Brentford striker was on the end of an exquisite through-ball from Scott Arfield before rifling past the hapless Joe Lewis to enter double figures for the season!
Two wayward strikes from Tom Cairney and then O’Hara meant the Clarets entered the second half with a two goal cushion.
But that second half lead lasted just six minutes after McCormack collected a Cairney pass, beating Michael Keane with his first touch before curling past Tom Heaton into the bottom left corner.
However, the Clarets' response was terrific and within two minutes the woodwork denied Gray that elusive third.
Jones, looking for his second assist of the night, dinked a delicate ball over the back four to Gray, who lobbed Lewis only to be denied by the face of the crossbar.
Undeterred, the Clarets advanced once more and Tendayi Darikwa’s cross to the penalty spot found Vokes, whose delicate header looked destined for the top right corner only Dan Burn to head from under the angle.
The ball landed at the feet of Gray, who fired over as he waited for the ball to drop.
The visitors then had two chances to grab a late equaliser through the lively teenager Moussa Dembele.
His first was volleyed over at the far post from another Cairney delivery, before the forward headed Ryan Tunnicliffe’s inswinging cross straight at Heaton.
But the Clarets finally sealed the win in stoppage time with a third!
Joey Barton’s deep ball evaded the Fulham defence to find Arfield at the far post and the winger squared to Taylor, who deftly found the bottom corner to grab another crucial goal.
Burnley: Heaton; Darikwa, Duff, Keane, Mee; Boyd (Taylor 75), Barton, Jones, Arfield; Vokes, Gray (Long 86)
Subs: Gilks, Ward, Ulvestad, Lowton, Hennings
Goals: Gray 18’,37’, Taylor 92’
Fulham: Lewis; Ream (Kacaniklic 59), Burn, Stearmna; Fredericks (Christensen 78), O’Hara (Smith 78), Cairney, Tunnicliffe, Husband; Dembele, McCormack.
Subs: Rodak, Garbutt, Woodrow, Pringle.
Goals: McCormack 51’
Referee: Mr. A.Madley
Attendance: 15,080 (271 away)