Robbie Brady nets the winner as Burnley move above Spurs
Sean Dyche’s side show no signs of letting up in their impressive run towards Europe
Burnley’s Robbie Brady scores the winner as they beat Bournemouth 2-1. Photo: Peter Nicholls/Reuters
Bournemouth 1 Burnley 2
It is rousing performances of this nature, to earn a fourth win in five matches, which have won Sean Dyche so many admirers. In many ways, this was almost the absolute away performance as Burnley beat Bournemouth at their own game to leapfrog Tottenham Hotspur into sixth, three points off fourth.
It is no wonder the landlord at the Princess Royal pub in Burnley has mooted the idea of renaming the hostelry after Dyche if they end up in the Champions League spots come the end of this rollercoaster ride in May. These are heady days in Lancashire.
For Burnley, a team so comfortable in their own skin, this was the perfect response after a cruel defeat by Arsenal on Sunday. For Eddie Howe, there was to be no 40th birthday party, after goals by Chris Wood and Robbie Brady halted Bournemouth’s three-match unbeaten run, with Joshua King’s late strike merely a consolation.
Both managers exchanged pleasantries about each other’s work in the buildup, with Howe describing Burnley’s rise under Dyche as “outstanding”. He was, though, reluctant to indulge in his own personal milestone, although the Bournemouth chairman, Jeff Mostyn, flagged up his 40th in the programme, as well as the time between January 2011 and October 2012 when Howe’s “sat-nav got lost in the north of England”, in reference to his managerial stint at Turf Moor. A lot has changed since then, with both clubs excelling in the top flight.
Simon Francis returned at right-back for Bournemouth after serving a one-match ban, while Jermain Defoe was fit enough for the bench following a calf injury. Dyche made two changes with Chris Wood replacing Ashley Barnes and Phil Bardsley making his first Burnley appearance for 4,245 days while on loan at the club in 2006.
For Howe, Bournemouth’s sluggish start will have made uneasy viewing, with a spell of concerted Burnley pressure resulting in the visitors twice going close. Robbie Brady fired an effort into the side-netting before Wood headed against the crossbar after Ben Mee, left unmarked, nodded the ball across goal. Asmir Begovic made a fingertip save to deny Wood’s downward header from Bardsley’s centre.
Burnley were in the groove, slick and savvy. Bournemouth, meanwhile, were off-colour and all at sea in defence. The next Burnley attack was of Bournemouth’s own doing. When Steve Cook surrendered possession, Wood strode forward before unselfishly poking the ball across goal in search of an onrushing Jeff Hendrick but Cook flew in to block his shot with his legs.
The Bournemouth defender was not so fortunate the next time. After a one-two with Jack Cork, Brady’s cross cannoned off Cook’s right leg and Wood reacted quickest, to slot home and punish a lackadaisical backline. It was the first goal Bournemouth had conceded for 346 minutes.
Bournemouth badly needed a spark. It was one of the old guard as such, though, who almost delivered, with Francis rising highest to head wide from Jordon Ibe’s inswinging corner. Then came Defoe, in place of winger Marc Pugh but the striker had barely been on the field a couple of minutes when Burnley doubled their advantage. They poured forward from inside their own half at pace, with Hendrick supplying Brady, who drifted inside before blasting his right-foot effort beyond Begovic. Burnley were rampant and Cork, twice on loan at Bournemouth from Chelsea as a teenager, fizzed an effort wide from 25 yards.
Bournemouth eventually stirred 12 minutes from time. Francis’s cross found Callum Wilson, who chested the ball to Defoe before the England striker hooked the ball towards the far post, where Joshua King was lurking, to prod home his second goal in 12 matches. Dyche nibbled away at his fingers through five added minutes, barking Brady to the corner flag, but his team held on to claim a deserved victory. – Guardian service