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Top of the league Fulham won a sixth successive Premier League 2 game with a 2-1 victory against our under-23s tonight to extend their lead at the top of Division 2 to seven points and leave us in fifth place.

The way we’ve been playing recently, I thought it would take something special to beat us and so it proved with Fulham looking better than any other team I’ve seen us play this season, but this was a good game with the visitors having to work hard for the points that they probably did deserve in the end.

Return for Dale Stephens

Michael Jackson has been naming the same side for most games but there was one change tonight with Ben Woods standing down to allow the experienced Dale Stephens to get 45 minutes football. It was his first action since getting nine minutes as a substitute for Jack Cork at Tottenham back in February with surgery following on an ankle injury at the end of last season.

He came as close as anyone to opening the scoring in the first half too with a free kick that hit the top of the netting. Michael Mellon also came close while, at the other end, Fulham had their opportunities but generally found the Burnley defence in good form and able to keep them out.

Stephens departed at half time but Fulham were soon in front once the second half got underway with Matt Dibley Dias heading home, the ball looping over goalkeeper Sam Waller and into the far corner.

We recovered from that and Joe McGlynn went close but with almost twenty minutes of the second half we won a corner from which we drew level. Owen Dodgson took the kick on the right with leading goalscorer Michael Mellon heading home.

Unfortunately we weren’t level for more than a few minutes as Luciano D’Auria-Henry, who’d not long been on as a substitute, fired home Fulham’s second and it could have been worse immediately when Bobby Thomas, in trying to recover his mistake, gave away a penalty with Waller coming to his rescue with a smart save to keep out Connor McAvoy’s spot kick.

There were still more than twenty minutes to play but we just couldn’t find that opening with a Mellon shot saved by Fulham goalkeeper Fabri the closest we came, and the final whistle brought to an end an excellent run of results in the league.

The teams were;

Burnley: Sam Waller, Finlay Armstrong, Bobby Thomas, Jacob Bedeau, Anthony Glennon, Ne-Jai Tucker (Max Thompson 72), Dale Stephens (Ben Woods ht), Mark Helm, Owen Dodgson, Michael Mellon, Joe McGlynn (Dara Costelloe 81). Subs not used: Harry Allen, Jake Rooney.

Fulham: Fabri, Connor McAvoy, Idris Odutayo, Marlon Fossey, Jay Williams, Sonny Hilton, Adrion Pajaziti, Kieron Bowie (Oliver Sanderson 80), Steven Sessegnon, Matt Dibley Dias (Charlie Robinson 88), Jean-Pierre Tiehi (Luciano D’Auria-Henry 62). Subs not used: Alfie McNally, Imani Lanqedoc.

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