Burnley 2-1 Fulham: Own goals leave Cottagers in deep trouble

Claudio Ranieri issued instructions that no-one seemed to hear as the rain hammered in from the Pennines and plastered his face. It felt like a signature afternoon. A very graphic sense is emerging that Fulham, with Huddersfield, are fighting a cause which is way beyond them.
It says everything for the state the Italian's side are in that they managed to lose 2-1 without their opponents landing a single shot on goal, after Fulham's Andrew Schurrle had rapidly put them ahead with the game's singular moment of class. In the 15 years since OPTA has been keeping records, a Premier League side has never scored two goals in a game without getting a shot on target.
The two own-goals in three minutes which swung things lent an air of black comedy to the occasion, though no-one was laughing. Three consecutive wins take Sean Dyche's side seven ahead of Fulham, three clear of the drop zone, and believing that they will live to see next season, yet it has been their good fortune that two such impoverished teams lie at the bottom. 
Burnley (4-4-2):
 Heaton 6; Bardsley 6, Tarlowski 7.5, Mee 6, Taylor 6; Hendrick 6.5, Westwood 6, Cork 6, McNeil 7; Wood 6 (Vokes 85), Barnes 6
Substitutes not used:
 Hart, Lowon, Vokes, Gibson, Defour, Vydra, Long
Bryan OG 20, Odoi OG 23
Fulham (3-4-3):
 Rico 6; Odoi 6, Le Marchand 5.5, Ream 5.5; Christie 5, Chambers 6, Sero 5.5, Bryan 6 (Cairnley 61 5.5 ); Sessegnon 6 (Vietto 46 7), Mitrovic 5.5, Schurrle 6.5 (Kebano 74 6)
Substitutes not used:
 Bettinelli, Kebana, Cairney, Ayite, Vietto, S Sessegnon, Cisse
Schurrle 2
Chambers, Christie
M Atkinson 6
For more stats and maps visit Sportsmail's Match Zone
Fulham's defence is the weakest in the division and the goals revealed why: desperate, uncoordinated attempts to shut the door on opponents offered time and space to shoot.
Joe Bryan was the first unfortunate – still recovering from a scruffy attempt to prevent James Tarkowski from connecting on a cross when he stuck out a leg to block Jeff Hendrick's unchallenged shot and instead diverted it in. Then, more of the same from Denis Odoi. Hendrick and Ashley Barnes had exchanged passes down the left when Barnes sent in the shot which the Belgian defender conspired to convert with a glancing header.
It was crushing: a reminder to Ranieiri – who has won two out of ten since he was brought in to rescue Fulham – of the fickleness of fate when you're bumping around the base of the Premier League. Yet luck did not really come into it. Random catastrophes occur when opponents are given such free rein to overrun a midfield as Burnley were in the first half. The Ivorian Jean Michael Seri fought his corner for Fulham in his combative way, though there was little evidence in Ranieri's ranks that the team had a containment strategy in them.
The quality comes at the top of the beleaguered visiting team. That much was clear when Schurrle struck the breath-taking opening goal, a minute and 50 seconds in. The German took down a speculative, 30-yard punt from the deep by Odoi on his right foot, allowed it one bounce, and unloaded it beyond Tom Heaton on the half volley.
The visiting contingent, exuberant to the last, sensed something unexpected for a side who had not won on this turf since April 1951, six months before Ranieri was born. But it was the frailest and briefest of hopes. Fulham's rearguard is so short of confidence that the mere process of playing out from it was fraught with danger in the 18 minutes they held the lead. Maxime le Marchand and Tim Ream were both caught in possession, though Chris Wood could not capitalise. 
In the torrid past five months, Fulham have wrung every ounce out of Ryan Sessegnon, their crown jewel, who has played at left-back, left-wing, right-wing and striker. It's been a lot to ask of an 18-year-old in his first year in the top flight. He struggled to make an impression on the left of a three-man front line and did not reappear after the break.
Ranieri did manage to inject some life into his side, whose second-half showing was far better than this first. The Argentine Luciano Vietto appeared in Sessegnon's place and provided some kind a threat: a half volley which James Tarkowski impressively cleared from the line and a shot a struck across the face of goal. Calum Chambers also sent a bullet header against the crossbar. All to no avail.
Burnley's unwelcome piece of statistical history makes this a day that few will are to remember. They, like Huddersfield, desperately require a goal-scorer. Their bright spot was 19-year-old left winger Dwight McNeil, who provided more evidence of his physical strength and sweet left foot and provided some sense for an on-looking Gareth Southgate that his trip here was worthwhile.
There was a last surge from Ranieri's players, though it was hardly do-or die. The Burnley contingent taunted them with a song about relegation. 'Down with the Fulham,' they offered back before trudging away through the grim Lancashire night for a long drive south. Neither of these sides can take much confidence away. 

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