Danny Cullip’s late header secured all three points for Fulham at the end of a dour game with Burnley at Craven Cottage this evening.
The centre back’s header nine minutes after coming off the bench inflicted Burnley’s sixth defeat in seven games under new manager Chris Waddle – but the Clarets could count themselves very unfortunate to come away with nothing after a dour encounter in front of the Sky Sports cameras. Neither side created many clear-cut chances in a fixture devoid of genuine quality until Cullip, who had replaced the injured Paul Bracewell, climbed above Gerry Harrison and Chris Brass to head Robbie Herrera’s free-kick into the top corner.
Waddle, who had dropped himself down to the bench, came on to try and spark the Clarets in life but Fulham goalkeeper Maik Taylor pulled off a stunning save in stoppage time to deny the visitors an equaliser when Lee Howey headed the former England winger’s free-kick towards goal. The visitors had successfully frustrated Ray Wilkins’ side in a first half that saw the Cottage crowd make clear their displeasure at Fulham’s failure to break down Waddle’s well-drilled outfit.
It was Burnley who had the best chances of the first half. Howey headed wide from a Brass cross before midfielder Damien Matthew sent the lively Paul Barnes into the Fulham box but he was foiled by Taylor, who narrowed the angle importantly as the striker bore down on goal. The visitors continued to dominate in the second period as Andy Cooke fired wide when well placed and Taylor saved smartly from Barnes after a well-worked move through the middle of the pitch.
Waddle’s side successfully nullified most of Fulham’s creativity and Marlon Beresford wasn’t unduly troubled until the Clarets couldn’t properly clear a corner and Bracewell took aim from the edge of the area. Paul Peschisolido, well marshalled by visiting defence, headed over from a Paul Moody flick-on before Moody wasted a glorious chance when one-on-one with the Burnley keeper.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Taylor; Lawrence (McAnespie 60), Herrera, Neilson, Coleman; Bracewell (Cullip 80), Smith, Carpenter, Hayward (Thomas 74); Moody, Peschisoldio.
BOOKED: Peschisolido, Coleman.
GOAL: Cullip (89).
BURNLEY (4-3-3): Beresford; Howey, Brass, Moore, Weller; Harrison, Ford, Matthew (Little 88); Williams (Waddle 88), Barnes, Cooke. Subs (not used): Vinnicombe.
REFEREE: Paul Danson (Leicestershire).