Fulham have officially been relegated from the Premier League after Scott Parker’s team fell to a whimpering 2-0 defeat against Burnley on Monday evening.
The Cottagers went into the clash needing a point to keep themselves alive mathematically, but realistically they had to win to stand any chance of clawing back the ten-point gap between themselves and safety.
So when Matej Vydra raced onto a long ball and squared for Ashley Westwood to open the scoring at Craven Cottage, it wasn’t looking good for the home team.
And nine minutes later, when Chris Wood crashed a brilliant strike beyond Alphonse Areola on the brink of half-time, it looked like sayonara goodbye for Parker and his team.
They had a go at getting back into it after the break, but it wasn’t to be, as Burnley stood strong in pursuit of a win that would end any lingering threat of Fulham dragging them back into a relegation dogfight.
Parker’s team have been up against it all season after their promotion through the Championship playoffs, and they’ve shown some spirit at times. A run of ten league games between January and March saw them lose just twice, and there were a number of creditable performances in there – the best of which coming at Anfield as they conquered defending champions Liverpool.
Since that day, however, they had taken just one point from 18 available, and went into their clash with Burnley knowing that even a win only gave them a slender chance of keeping it alive.
But they failed to get it, and now sit ten points behind 17th-placed Southampton, with only nine left to play for.
It means that with three games left to play, all three of the Premier League’s relegation spots are sealed, with Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield United all consigned to the Championship next season.