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Match Reports

Fulham 4 Burnley 2

The Clarets wait for first Premier League win after defeat at Craven Cottage

26 August 2018

The Clarets are still waiting for their first Premier League win of the season after leaking goals on a rain-drenched afternoon on the banks of the Thames.

Burnley’s last trip to London had seen them concede five goals in a dead rubber at Arsenal in May after European football had been secured and the Gunners were sending Arsene Wenger on his way.

This was a far more intense affair as the Clarets played their part in a six-goal thriller.

But it was another difficult afternoon for the defensive unit and those in front of them as Fulham’s big guns of Alexander Mitrovic and new signings Jean Michael Seri and Andre Schurrle shared the goals in an impressive performance from the home side.

First-half replies from Jeff Hendrick, with his first goal of the season, and James Tarkowski kept Sean Dyche’s men in at the break as they trailed 3-2 in their eighth game in a month.

But Slavisa Jokanovic’s expensively-assembled line-up had more to offer in the second half as they overan the Clarets to add a fourth goal late on and secure a deserved first win of the season.

Following back-to-back defeats in their first two games, Fulham made five changes to their starting line-up, including the return of former Burnley midfielder Kevin McDonald and a Premier League debut in goal for ex-Accrington Stanley loanee Marcus Bettinelli.

And the Londoners responded to a vibrant atmosphere inside Craven Cottage by taking the lead in an explosive start.

Seri arrived as Fulham’s club record £25m signing as part of a summer spending spree following promotion from the Championship and the former Nice midfielder claimed his first goal in English football with a thumping 25-yarder which gave Joe Hart no chance.

The Clarets’ response was impressive as Hendrick quickly levelled, keeping his composure to slot in at the far post at the second attempt after Ashley Westwood had sprung the Fulham defence for Aaron Lennon to break away and pick out the Ireland international – watched by national team boss Martin O’Neill.

Hendrick then created another opening but the Clarets couldn’t capitalise as a ball in from Johann Berg Gudmundsson eluded its targets on the edge of the penalty area in what proved to be the last contribution from the Icelander, who limped off and straight back to the dressing room to be replaced by Charlie Taylor.

Burnley looked to have taken some of the sting out of the home side as they forced the pace further up the pitch, but three goals in five minutes just before the break lit the blue touch as Fulham regained the lead through the fiery Mitrovic.

His first was a far-post header from Tom Cairney’s floated cross and the former Newcastle United number-nine then nodded in a cross from on-loan Atletico Madrid forward Lucoano Vietto as the Clarets’ defence lost its shape.

Burnley – reverting to the side that had faced Watford in their last Premier League game following the mid-week Europa League exertions in Greece – were on the ropes at that point but again showed their spirit to hit back and make it 3-2 five minutes before half time.

Tarkowski scored his first Burnley goal a week earlier and the defender – who was having a right ding-dong with Mitrovic – made it two in two in the Premier League as he met Ben Mee’s downward header from a Taylor corner to steer the ball home from inside the six-yard box.

It was breathless stuff and the interval offered little respite, Fulham attacking with purpose again after Hendrick had put a half-chance over the bar.

Former Chelsea midfielder Schurrle was a constant threat and after trying his luck on numerous occasions went closest to a goal yet with a vicious in-swinging effort which kissed the top of the crossbar.

In an effort to bring the momentum back their way, Dyche sent on both Sam Vokes and Ashley Barnes and the Clarets stayed in the contest after Timothy Fosu-Mensah had missed another Fulham chance with a shot across the face of goal.

Hart then came to the Clarets’ rescue as he made a vital save with his outstretched leg to keep out another Schurrle effort after Mitrovic and Vietto had opened up the Clarets’ back line.

And when Mitrovic lifted another ball onto the head of Schurrle, the German World Cup winner should have done better than head straight at Hart.

But Fulham were not content just to sit on their lead and with seven minutes to go they guaranteed the points when Schurrle finally got his goal.

Hart made a brilliant finger-tip save to deny Mitrovic his hat-trick but when the ball came back of the post, Schurrle picked his spot to drive home from 10 yards and get Fulham’s season moving with the Clarets still waiting for lift-off.

Fulham: Bettinelli, Fosu-Mensah, Odoi, Le Marchand, Bryan (Chambers 72), Seri, McDonald, Cairney (Anguissa 79), Schurrle (Sessegnon 89), Mitrovic, Vietto. Substitutes: Fabri, Sessegnon, Johansen, Christie, Kamara.

Booked: Schurrle, Bettinelli

Burnley: Hart, Lowton, Mee, Tarkowski, Ward (Barnes 66), Lennon, Cork, Westwood, Gudmundsson (Taylor 19), Hendrick, Wood (Vokes 66). Substitutes: Heaton, Gibson, Bardsley, Long.

Booked:

Referee: David Coote

Attendance: 23, 438 (1,509 Burnley)


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