Ryan Tunnicliffe was left gutted that Fulham couldn’t build on their excellent opening 45 minutes in the early stages of the second half on Tuesday evening.
Goals from Ross McCormack and Moussa Dembélé had put the Whites in front after Sam Vokes’ early opener, but the Burnley striker restored parity from the spot four minutes after the restart when Tom Cairney was adjudged to have fouled Joey Barton.
Andre Gray then put the Clarets back in the ascendency just after the hour mark, and that was the way it stayed.
“Obviously Burnley winning a penalty a few minutes after half-time has given all the momentum to them,” Tunnicliffe told fulhamfc.com. “Then they scored again and we pushed, but it wasn’t to be.
“It’s heartbreaking for us but the referee thought it was a penalty, he gives it and they’ve scored, but to go 3-2 down not so long after as well and be on the wrong end of a complete turnaround was even worse.
“You can’t do anything about the ref’s decision but to give the third goal away was the killer. It’s obviously disappointing but we need to start picking up points now. We can’t keep coming in and saying, ‘we did this well and we did that well.’”
The match saw Tunnicliffe get a full 90 minutes under his belt for the first time since our meeting with the Clarets at Turf Moor back at the beginning of November.
And he showed just what he can add to the Fulham cause with a performance full of energy and grit; something that was personified in first-half stoppage time when his excellent sliding tackle and run launched a counter attack that ended with Tom Heaton making a fine save to deny Cairney.
“I got that tackle in and we could’ve been 3-1 up at the end of the half,” he stated. “I think that would have been a bitter blow to them and would have given us all the momentum coming out second half but, again, it wasn’t to be.
“On a personal level it’s nice to be back playing football, especially having been sidelined for so long with injury, which is horrible.”
All attentions are now on Saturday’s meeting with Bristol City at the Cottage, with the intensity on the fixture ramped up with the two sides now level on 37 points in the Sky Bet Championship, two off the drop zone.
“Considering how close they are to us I think it’s a must-win on Saturday,” Tunnicliffe admitted. “But I think as you’ve seen against Burnley, we’re up for the fight.
“They came here top of the league and we’ve matched them. I think we more than outplayed them in the first half and could have been 3-1 up at half-time, but it didn’t happen.
“So we’re going to fight, dust ourselves off, get back in training, watch the video, and look forward to Saturday, and hopefully get the win.”
Get behind the boys and secure your seat at Fulham v Bristol City on Saturday, with tickets available from £25 for adults and £15 for juniors.