Substitute Chris Donnell scored a fourteen minute hat-trick as Fulham’s under 21s put eight past Burnley in a blistering PL Cup performance at Motspur Park this evening.
Hayden Mullins’ side made it three emphatic wins from three fixtures in Group G but Australian midfielder Donnell’s dramatic impact after coming the bench made this their most clinical victory in the competition so far – outstripping a 6-1 success at Brentford and the 4-0 win over Leicester City last month. The hosts included Luciano D’Auria-Henry, who has returned early from an injury-hit loan spell at Cheltenham Town, at right back and paired Jay Williams with Idris Odutayo at the heart of the defence.
Aaron Loupalo-Bi, who scored the only goal at Gillingham on Tuesday evening as the young Whites reached the knockout phase of the Football League Trophy, needed just two minutes to get on the scoresheet again. The in-form striker turned home D’Auria-Henry’s cross to give the hosts a dream start and, with the number of promising raids along the right flank that the full back enjoyed, it was something of a surprise that Fulham had to wait a further half an hour to double their advantage.
Imani Lanquedoc was the architect of the second goal, surging past a number of would-be Clarets’ tacklers during a terrific individual run. The winger had the presence of mind to cross and his deflected centre was driven into the net by Luke Harris. It took just five minutes for the dominant Whites to make it three when D’Auria-Henry headed home a fine cross from Jonathan Esenga – and Burnley were delighted to hear the half-time whistle.
Lemar Gordon nearly found a fourth in the early stages of the second half, lashing against the crossbar after combing well with Loupalo-Bi. Harris did increase Fulham’s lead with his second of the evening nine minutes after the interval – locating the bottom corner of the net with a long-range left-footed strike that left goalkeeper Charlie Casper completely helpless. Donell, who has made a real impact since arriving from Perth Glory earlier this summer, replaced Loupalo-Bi in the aftermath of that sensational goal and went on to rub salt in Burnley’s wounds.
He took just five minutes to get off the mark, soaring majestically to head home a superb ball in from Gordon at the back post. The Glasgow-born midfielder then scored a second four minutes later – converting another peerless delivery from Esenga and completing his hat-trick when Casper failed to cut down another cross from the left by Esenga with twelve minutes to play. The visitors were out on their feet now and there was still time for Fulham to add an eighth when Devan Tanton, a half-time substitute for D’Auria-Henry crossed for George Okkas to complete a ruthless rout.
FULHAM UNDER 21S (4-2-3-1): McNally; D’Auria-Henry (Tanton 45), Esenga, Williams, Odutayo; Okkas, Pajaziti; Laquedoc (Araujo 75), Gordon, Harris (Sekularac 65); Loupalo-Bi (Donnell 64). Subs (not used): Borto.
GOALS: Loupalo-Bi (2), Harris (32, 54), D’Auria-Henry (37), Donnell (69, 73, 78), Okkas (85).
BURNLEY UNDER 21s (4-2-3-1): Casper; Healy-Byrne, Ashton (Ly 79), Sassi, West (Rogers 65); Campbell, Davies; McCoy (Le Fondre 65), Tweedy, Hugill; Wesley. Subs (not used): Moss.
BOOKED: Hugill, Healy-Byrne, Sassi, Westley.
REFEREE: Abigail Byrne.