PARTY poopers Fulham had not read the script for Eddie Howe’s 500th game as a manager.

Despite already being destined for the Championship and without an away win in the top flight all season ahead of kick-off, the Cottagers were clearly up for hijacking Cherries’ manager’s milestone fixture.

They could have easily arrived at Vitality Stadium with nothing to play for, rolled over and offered up three points to their hosts on a scorching Dorset afternoon.

But driven on by former England international Scott Parker as caretaker boss, the struggling visitors took advantage of an injury-ravaged Cherries outfit – who were left with Easter egg on their faces in their penultimate home fixture of the season.

A 1-0 defeat in game 500 had been “hugely frustrating” for the Cherries boss – especially considering game 499 in the dugout had been such a stark contrast.

The Dorset club attacked with swagger and joie de vivre in the 5-0 win at Brighton but failed to make opportunities count against Parker’s men just a week later.

These two clubs are destined for separate league tasks next season.

But chants of “1-0 to the Championship” from the away section would have irked a Cherries’ home crowd, who have not seen victory in the past five games on their own patch.  

The loss also meant Cherries had been beaten at home by a promoted side in the top-flight for the first time.

Cherries had initially named an unchanged starting XI.

But with Adam Smith limping out of the pre-match warm-up, he was replaced by Junior Stanislas – who came in as a makeshift right-back.

Howe’s men started with gusto. Ryan Fraser’s corner was met by Nathan Ake, who headed into the path of Callum Wilson - the England international forced a point-blank save from Spanish stopper Sergio Rico.

Joshua King then should have put Cherries ahead on 15 minutes. After Fraser surged in behind the home defence, his cutback fell to the Norwegian, who could only blaze over from eight yards out.

Fulham then fashioned their first chances. A corner met at the back post by Calum Chambers was cleared off the line by Ake. Cottagers’ skipper Aleksandar Mitrovic then volleyed over with the goal at his mercy from six yards out.

Fraser continued to cause havoc down the left and, with another burst of pace on the counter, he rifled a shot across goal which Rico parried to safety.

The injury curse at full-back continued to hurt Cherries when Stanislas went down and was forced off with a knee problem on 23 minutes.

Unable to continue, the former West Ham man was replaced by Jack Simpson – Steve Cook shifted to right back with the hosts effectively playing four central defenders.

Fulham then worked Artur Boruc with another well-worked corner.

Denis Odoi’s glancing header tasked the Pole with getting down to thwart the effort – Ake managed to stab the ball away. Mepham then switched to right-back with Cook reverting to centre-half.

But the Cottagers did take the lead from the penalty spot on 53 minutes.

After Simpson swung a wild boot in an attempt to clear in the box, he felled Mitrovic and the Serbian picked himself up to send Boruc the wrong way from 12 yards.

Fulham should have doubled their lead just past the hour mark. Joe Bryan cut the ball back for Ryan Sessegnon, who could only fire straight at Boruc unchallenged from inside the area.

Despite the visitors searching for a second, Howe’s men almost drew level on the counter after 65 minutes.

A sumptuous pass from David Brooks evaded the covering defenders and found Fraser but Rico was sharp off his line to thwart the effort with a brave stop.

Substitute Dominic Solanke then found Wilson inside the box and after his low drive was saved, a remarkable last-ditch tackle from Maxime Le Marchand kept the hosts at bay.

Brooks then looked to create once again as he surged past his man and stood up a cross which clipped the top of the bar.

Cherries substitute Lys Mousset then saw a header saved in the dying moments, as the visitors held firm to more than double their away tally of points for the entire campaign.

Cherries: Boruc; Stanislas (Simpson, 23), Cook, Mepham (Mousset, 76), Ake; Brooks, Lerma, Gosling, Fraser; King (Solanke, 61); Wilson.

Unused subs: Ofoborh, Hyndman, Surridge, Begovic (g/k).

Booked: Cook.

Fulham: Rico; Odoi, Ream, Le Marchand, Bryan; Chambers, Anguissa (Nordtveit, 90), Seri (Christie, 80), Babel (Ayite, 86), Sessegnon; Mitrovic.

Unused subs: Kebano, Schurrle, Elliot, Fabri (g/k).

Booked: Chambers, Mitrovic, Rico.

Referee: David Coote.

Attendance: 10,511