Fulham were knocked out of the Carling Cup on Tuesday evening after a tight game at Turf Moor. Neither side saw many goal scoring chances come their way but the home side netted the only goal of the game in the 88th minute when Jay Rodriguez slotted home.
Fulham made a number of changes to the side that saw action last Saturday at Ewood Park. Paul Konchesky was the only defender retained as Roy Hodgson named Fredrik Stoor, Chris Baird and Toni Kallio at the back. Pascal Zuberbuhler also made his debut between the sticks.
A fairly uneventful opening exchange, which saw neither side test their opposing goalkeeper, was interrupted when Russell Anderson, the Burnley right back, was stretchered off following a clash with Clint Dempsey after just 10 minutes.
The game resumed soon after and immediately picked up in pace. Fulham had their first concerted attack of the game and almost worked a good shooting opportunity for Andreasen but his effort was charged down by the home defence.
A nice move between Kallio, Seol and Gera created a good opportunity for Andy Johnson. The striker had pulled out wide while Gera and Seol were exchanging passes and was freed by a well-spotted ball. Johnson made ground on goal but scuffed his shot, which was easily gathered by Brian Jensen. It turned out to be Fulham's best chance of the match.
As the first half progressed, Burney began finding their feet and were certainly a danger from set pieces, which they were winning quite regularly down Fulham’s right flank. Pascal Zuberbuhler was called upon on 28 minutes to punch clear when a teasing Burnley free kick was fired into the area.
Chris McCann came close to finding the back of the net after Stoor was caught out of position but Chris Baird did admirably in holding up the attack. The ball was worked back to the edge of the area where McCann’s fierce shot skimmed just wide of Zuberbuhler’s left hand post.
Martin Paterson was played though on goal in the 33rd minute as Fulham gave possession away again. The Burnley striker raced away towards goal but was unable to escape the attentions of Toni Kallio who recovered the ball with an excellent tackle in the penalty area. It was a telling phase of play as Fulham struggled to get their passing game going – and whilst Burnley were not forcing Zuberbuhler into action, they were seizing possession and creating a number of half-chances.
Clint Dempsey tried his luck on 41 minutes as Fulham attempted to force their way up the pitch. Dempsey, who had been looking good in possession and had played some wonderful one-touch passes, shot from 25 yards but pulled his effort wide.
Dempsey was brought to ground in a central position just moments later, giving Fulham a direct free kick one yard outside the Burley box. Paul Konchesky stepped up and drilled his shot wide via a deflection.
The second half got under way with Fulham playing visibly wider across the pitch which allowed the Whites to get a number of good early crosses into the Burnley area. Certainly if Fulham were to get anything out of the game, the key would lie in maintaining their width.
Chris Baird continued looking composed at the back, winning his headers and using the ball well. Indeed, the Fulham defender, who had probably seen more of the ball than he would have wished in the first half, was playing well and sticking to the team’s passing principles, even in tight situations.
A strong run from Clint Dempsey on 55 minutes drove Fulham forward, the American striker ghosted past a couple of players before playing the ball out wide, the pass was returned but Dempsey’s shot was deflected wide.
The American attacker, who had put on a good show in the first half was becoming more of a central figure in Fulham’s attacks.
Burnley got their fans going when they saw a good headed opportunity for Chris McCann cleared from close range by Fredrik Stoor.
Fulham’s performance was showing improved cohesion even though Jensen had yet to be tested.
Fulham made a double substitution in the 73rd minute when John Pantsil replaced Zoltan Gera and Erik Nevland came on in place of Andy Johnson. Pantsil took up position at right back with Stoor moving forward to the right wing position.
Chris McCann had free header on goal after a good cross found the Burnley man in the area, fortunately his effort was directed straight at Zuberbuhler, who made a routine catch. The Fulham goalkeeper was called into action for another straightforward save when substitute Chris Eagles skipped a challenge and hit a low shot toward goal.
Substitute Jay Rodriguez scored the winner for the home side in the 88th minute when Fulham’s defence was split by a reverse pass from Eagles which found the run of Rodriquez. The Burnley substitute, who had only been on the pitch for a matter of minutes, maintained his composure to sidestep Zuberbuhler and side foot into an empty net.
Competition: Carling Cup
Date: Tuesday 23 September 2008
Venue: Turf Moor, Burnley
Team line-up is not available.
Team line-up is not available.