Premier League relegation rivals Burnley and Fulham shared the points in a 1-1 draw with two quickfire goals after half-time.
Wednesday night’s game at Turf Moor had been rearranged from early January after a coronavirus outbreak at Fulham postponed the original tie.
The first half was the tight affair you would expect from two sides towards the bottom of the table, although Burnley should have taken the lead late on.
After the break, it was Fulham that struck first as Ola Aina (49) turned a corner home with his chest, with Robbie Brady unable to clear the ball off the line. But some lax defending saw Burnley hit back soon after, as Ashley Barnes (52) was afforded acres of space to slot home.
The draw does not do too much to ease Fulham’s relegation worries and they remain six points away from safety. Burnley – who have not lost at home to Fulham since 1951 – move above Brighton into 15th with an eight-point cushion from the bottom three.
How the points were shared at Turf Moor
It was a tentative first half at Turf Moor but Burnley saw the better of the chances. Ashley Westwood played a sensational long pass through for Barnes, but the striker skewed his shot, missing the ball completely, before Alphonse Areola collected. Just after, Westwood fired goalwards from a cleared corner, but it went straight at the Fulham goalkeeper.
With minutes left to play, both sides saw their best chances of the half. Fulham’s came from a neat corner routine as Ademola Lookman pulled his delivery back to the waiting Mario Lemina, but he fired his shot well over the crossbar from outside the area.
Burnley: Pope (6), Lowton (7), Tarkowski (7), Long (7), Taylor (7), Gudmundsson (6), Westwood (8), Cork (7), McNeil (7), Barnes (7), Rodriguez (7).
Subs used: Brady (4), Brownhill (6).
Fulham: Areola (7), Tete (6), Andersen (7), Adarabioyo (6), Aina (6), Loftus-Cheek (7), Reed (7), Lemina (6), Lookman (7), Maja (7), Reid (7).
Subs used: Anguissa (6), Cavaleiro (7), Robinson (6).
Man of the match: Ashley Westwood.
Burnley should have scored with one of the final plays before half-time. James Tarkowski flashed a sensational cross in from the left, which a sliding Barnes missed at the near post. Areola then made a vital touch to send the ball away from the incoming Rodriguez just behind.
In contrast to the opening 45 minutes, it was an incredibly fast start to the second half, with both sides scoring. Fulham initially took the lead in strange circumstances. Lookman delivered a corner, which was flicked on by Joachim Andersen before being turned home by Aina’s chest. In a similar scenario to the goal conceded against Brighton a few weeks ago, Robbie Brady was on the line but swung wildly at the ball as it flew past him. VAR checked the goal for handball, but it was only a quick check, with Aina’s effort correctly allowed to stand.
- Burnley made two changes. Ben Mee and Erik Pieters missed out through injury, although Charlie Taylor returned from his own knock to start. Kevin Long also came into the XI.
- Fulham named the same XI that beat Everton on Sunday, including the same substitutes.
But Fulham’s lead lasted all of two minutes as some poor defending allowed Burnley to equalise. Jay Rodriguez was slipped through on the right, dinking the ball easily past Tosin Adarabioyo before driving down the wing. He then swept the ball in front of Barnes, who had acres of space to make up for a poor first touch as he easily slotted home past Areola.
It was Burnley who then pushed for the second. Areola was forced into a save just before the hour as Rodriguez fired his way, but the goalkeeper saw it away with a foot. Charlie Taylor then sent in a cross from the right, but Brady nodded well wide of the target.
The pendulum soon began to swing in Fulham’s favour though. Ivan Cavaleiro was a welcome addition in attack, picking out Maja at the top after a good midfield run, but the new Fulham striker could not beat Nick Pope.
Loftus-Cheek then played in a pacey cross, but neither Maja nor Lookman were ready as the former’s attempt bounced off his team-mate before going wide. Lookman then sent an effort curling high and wide as Fulham registered their tenth draw of the season.
Man of the match – Ashley Westwood
Heading into the game, Westwood topped the charts for the Burnley squad in a number of categories, and led the way in midfield once again.
He made three key passes and had a shot on target, although it was an easy save from Areola. He also made eight cross and 40 successful passes with an overall pass rate of 78.4 per cent. He was also second for interceptions (9), one behind Taylor, as Burnley added another point on the board.
What the managers said
Burnley manager Sean Dyche: “It’s another point on the board and that’s important. We’re stripped to the bare bones once again so certainly committed, without a doubt.
“In the first half, I thought we gave a good performance. We found a good balance to our play, we were effective and we tried to ask questions. Defensively, we kept very tight. In the second half, they get their noses in front with a poor goal from our point of view.
“But then, as we do, the reaction was excellent. Some great play from Rodriguez and a lovely finish from Barnsey and then you’re back in it, they have to throw everything at you and I thought we defended it out well considering how many changes we’ve had to make and had to make even during the game tonight.
“I remember many moons ago, Ian Holloway said we had a strong jaw and I think he’s right. There’s a strong mentality here, we don’t get knocked easily and I think you saw that because the demand for the team to keep playing, keep working, keep trying to step onto the front foot…
“And Fulham fully committed. They had a stronger second half at times and they kept the ball without really opening us up, which I was pleased with. With all the players we’re having to change at the moment, I’m pleased overall.
“Our [benchmark] is to get as many wins as we can. Keep performing, keep taking on every game, keep taking on the challenges that are in-house at the moment with our injuries. But we’ve got a great mentality to get something from the game and we’ll have to keep doing that until we get bodies fit again.”
Fulham manager Scott Parker: “We came here and wanted to win the game, that was our plan but saying that, we certainly understood what the game was going to be like. It’s a tough place to come, they make the game scrappy.
“In the first half, I thought we struggled a little bit. We tried to correct that at half-time and I think that worked. We got our noses in front and really disappointed with the goal we conceded because it’s a poor goal.
“But as the game was going on, we came into the game. We’ll take a point and we didn’t get beaten here. We had some big chances at the end, but they didn’t go in. We regroup now, it’s four points so far this week coming to a tough place and we’ve got to go again now on Saturday, which is another tough game.
“I’ll stand here for the rest of the season now with every game we’re going into, it’s going to be big for us. I think we understand that. I think it was 10 points difference [to safety] only a few weeks ago and this team have got absolute honest belief and confidence and so have I.”
- Fulham have gone six consecutive away games without defeat in the Premier League (W1 D5), their joint longest such run in the competition (also in August 2004 under Chris Coleman).
- There were just 224 seconds between Ola Aina’s opener for Fulham and Ashley Barnes’ equaliser for Burnley.
- Burnley’s Jay Rodriguez has assisted in back-to-back Premier League games for the first time in his career, with this his 196th appearance in the competition.
- Burnley’s Robbie Brady is the only player to have been substituted on and off in two separate Premier League games this season.
It’s another relegation rival for Burnley on Saturday as they welcome West Brom to Turf Moor, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 3pm. It’s a similar story for Fulham too, hosting Sheffield United on Saturday, also live on Sky Sports; kick-off 8pm.