Fulham relegated from Premier League as defeat by Burnley seals fate

·3-min read
Scott Parker reacts on the touchline at Craven Cottage (Getty Images)
Scott Parker reacts on the touchline at Craven Cottage (Getty Images)

Fulham have been relegated from the Premier League after a 2-0 defeat by Burnley sealed their fate. First-half goals by Ashley Westwood and Chris Wood settled the game to leave Scott Parker’s side 10 points adrift of safety with only three games to play.

The game was a microcosm of Fulham’s season as they created and spurned several chances before their defensive frailties were exposed. The team improved over the course of the season but ultimately lacked the cutting edge to gather enough wins, with only five on the board, while earning 12 draws – the second-highest tally in the league.

Parker's men went into the game needing a win to avoid the drop, but yet again struggled in the final third and were unable to find the breakthrough. Westwood slid the ball home to give Burnley a first-half lead, with Wood's effort from distance following soon after as the Clarets secured their place in next season's top flight.

Fulham knew they would have to surpass their great escape from relegation in 2007-08, in which they won their last three matches, but their 12th home league defeat of the campaign ensured they would be playing Championship football next season. Goals have been hard to come by for Parker's team, with just 25 in the Premier League, and despite dominating possession they were unable to add to their tally.

Fulham started brightly and committed numbers forward. Frank Anguissa had the first opportunity of the match, but his shot was straight at Nick Pope inside the opening seven minutesDespite chances for Ademola Lookman, including a header which dipped over the bar from an Antonee Robinson cross, as the game went on, Burnley looked the more likely to find the crucial first goal.

The visitors had the ball in the back of the net when Wood tapped the ball past Alphonse Areola, but it was disallowed. The France international was called on again from a corner to bundle the ball behind on the goal line, but Burnley looked to be getting closer.

The Clarets were then rewarded for their efforts when Westwood was picked out at the back post by Matej Vydra and he made no mistakes slotting the ball home. With half-time approaching Fulham's challenge was made harder, and their fate was all-but sealed when Wood struck the ball expertly into the top corner from distance.

Fulham went into the second half needing three goals without reply and, having managed just nine goals at home all season in the Premier League, it looked an unlikely scenario. They continued to push forward, and just before the hour mark Aleksandar Mitrovic headed wide of the post after a hard-hit cross from Bobby Decordova-Reid.

Two penalty appeals were heard from the Fulham bench, first Lookman, who stumbled in the box, but a louder shout was when Ivan Cavaleiro went down under a heavy challenge, but neither were given. Areola could have been awarded a red card himself, after coming out of his area to make a crucial challenge, but the ball appeared to strike his hand and VAR decided not to intervene.

Fulham kept up the pressure until the end, with a makeshift back three to commit more attacking players. Anguissa came closest when he rattled the bar from the edge of the area, but Parker's side could not get on the scoresheet and their Premier League stay came to an end.

Additional reporting by PA

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