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Fulham 3 Burnley 1 - Match Report

last updated Wednesday 13th September 2000, 1:48 AM
Jean Tigana’s Fulham bandwagon rolled on to a sixth win out of six despite Burnley throwing a spoke in the wheels.

The Division One leaders fell behind early on, but produced a sizzling second-half show to keep up their perfect start and keep top spot just out of Watford’s reach.

Louis Saha stole the show again with a clinical double to take his tally to eight for the season but whatever Tigana said or did at half-time, was equally important in the overall equation.

Fulham’s 100 per cent start looked to be coming to an end after only 10 minutes when Paul Cook’s effort from the edge of the box capped an impressive opening from Stan Ternent’s men, even if it did need a slight deflection to beat Maik Taylor.

And with the recalled John Mullin and Andy Cooke leading their side on several threatening counter attacks, for all Fulham’s possession, they were quite simply second best at the break.

But that all changed after the restart as Bjarne Goldbaek took Tigana’s pep-talk on board and carved out a chance that should have seen Saha grab his regular goal earlier than he did.

Provider turned poacher minutes later as a free-kick on the left corner of the Burnley box saw the former Chelsea man step up and smash a vicious, curling effort past a helpless Paul Crichton to prompt a huge sigh of relief around Craven Cottage.

From then on, Burnley’s early lead became a distant memory as Tigana’s men soon slipped into the slick passing game that has plundered 18 points and 18 goals from six league games so far.

Two of those strikes went to Saha, who thrust his side into a familiar lead on 64 minutes as Fabrice Fernandes’ through-ball allowed the Frenchman to squeeze a firm finish between Crichton and his near post.

Burnley were now feeling the full force of Fulham and some desperate defending led to Lee Briscoe seeing red for a second booking on 80 minutes, for a foul on Saha.

The punishment was swift and incisive as Goldbaek swung over the free-kick from the right and Saha was able to hold off the challenge of Mitchell Thomas and head home his second from close range.

BBC ONLINE MATCH REVIEW

Fulham made it six wins out of six as they came from behind to beat Burnley.

Two second-half goals from Louis Saha and another from Bjarne Goldbaek gave them victory after Paul Cook had given the visitors a 10th-minute lead.

Cook's goal, a free-kick that took a deflection, gave goalkeeper Maik Taylor no chance.

Goldbaek got the equaliser, also from a free-kick. In the 52nd minute he hit a curling shot into the roof of the net from fully 25 yards.

Bjarne Goldbaek's wonder strike got Fulham on level terms shortly after the break

Saha's first, in the 63rd minute, was a beauty. Receiving the ball from the impressive Fabrice Fernandes, he outpaced two defenders and fired the ball in from an acute angle.

His second in the 80th minute was a close-range header from a Fernandes free-kick to make it five goals in two games following his first-half hat-trick against Barnsley at the weekend.

This was a win that Fulham had to work for. Burnley's game plan was to deny them time and space and get in with uncompromising tackles. This worked in the first half but became less effective as they tired in the second.

They also gave away a number of free-kicks and Lee Briscoe was sent off for two bookings - both bad tackles - in the 79th minute.

Burnley's goal came from their only shot in the first half but they were more adventurous after they fell behind and Taylor did well to dive and stop a shot from the hard working Andy Cooke in the 69th minute. In the end it was a comfortable victory for the Londoners but Burnley certainly gave them more problems than Barnsley.

They could have won by more as Lee Clark in particular was unlucky with his attempts on goal. In Saha they have found an impressive centre-forward and his fellow Frenchman Fernandes, only in the side because of injury to John Collins, showed similar quality.

Fulham: Taylor, Finnan, Brevett, Melville, Coleman, Clark, Hayles (Boa Morte 74), Goldbaek, Saha (Lewis 86), Davis (W. Collins 75), Fernandes.
Subs Not Used: Hahnemann, Knight.
Goals: Goldbaek 53, Saha 64, 81.

Burnley: Crichton, Little, Thomas, Cox, Armstrong (Payton 67), Cook (Branch 61), Cooke, Briscoe, Weller, Ball, Mullin (Mellon 74).
Subs Not Used: Jepson, Maylett.
Sent Off: Briscoe (80).
Booked: Cooke, Branch.
Goals: Cook 10.

Att: 11,863
Ref: T Parkes (Birmingham)
Source Sky Sports & BBC

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