Sam Vokes punishes Cardiff as Burnley make it back-to-back wins
Neil Warnock’s side still waiting for first win of the season
Sam Vokes of Burnley scores his side’s winning goal in the Premier League game against Cardiff City at Cardiff City Stadium. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Cardiff City 1 Burnley 2
These are still early days, yet it is already shaping up to be one of those seasons that turns into a slog for Cardiff City. Burnley at home felt like a welcome fixture on the face of it, especially on the back of conceding 12 goals against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City, but there is no respite for Neil Warnock’s team, who fell to a fourth successive defeat that leaves them joint bottom of the Premier League.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson did the damage, scoring Burnley’s first and setting up the winner for Sam Vokes on an afternoon when Cardiff carried the greater threat and will feel that the very least they deserved was a point. Josh Murphy’s fine equaliser on the hour-mark should have been the springboard for a positive result for the Welsh club but some poor defending allowed Burnley to regain the lead through Vokes.
Cardiff have now failed to win in eight games in all competitions this season – the first time that has happened since the 1964-65 campaign – and it is hard to see things improving next Saturday, when they travel to Tottenham. Burnley, in contrast, have a little bit of momentum at last after picking up back-to-back victories to climb to 12th.
It would be fair to say that the football was not exactly free flowing and, in truth, it was not much of a spectacle for the neutral at times as the ball was pumped from one end of the pitch to the other. Only 280 passes were attempted in total in the first half, with a 59 per cent completion rate – season-low figures in the Premier League in both categories, which rather said it all.
Set-pieces seemed to offer the best hope of a breakthrough and Cardiff really should have profited from one shortly before the interval, when Callum Paterson’s header was cleared off the line. Víctor Camarasa delivered a deep corner that Sean Morrison headed back across goal. Paterson was stood unmarked inside the six-yard area but seemed to mistime his jump and his weak header was nodded off the line by Matej Vydra. It was the best chance of a hugely disappointing opening 45 minutes.
There was not much finesse with Cardiff but they did at least threaten on a few occasions. Aside from Paterson’s chance, Murphy drilled a low shot against the near upright from an acute angle and Kenneth Zohore, restored to the starting line-up, saw his stabbed left-footed effort turned around the post by Joe Hart.
Burnley were particularly poor in that opening period. They never played with any tempo or cohesion and failed to register a shot on target. Sean Dyche also lost James Tarkowski shortly before the half-hour mark with a shoulder injury that may well have ramifications for England.
With all of that in mind, it must have been particularly galling for Cardiff to fall behind six minutes into the second half. Warnock’s team were caught out by Charlie Taylor’s quick throw-in, which released Ashley Westwood in the inside left channel. Westwood stood up a cross at the far post and Gudmundsson, climbing above Greg Cunningham, squeezed his header inside Neil Etheridge’s near post via a touch off the goalkeeper’s left boot.
Cardiff, to their credit, responded quickly. Bruno Ecuele Manga broke down the right and picked out Murphy with a measured cut-back that the winger guided into the corner of the net from 16 yards with a superb side-foot finish. He nearly had a second eight minutes later but Hart, stretching every sinew, tipped Murphy’s curling shot over the bar.
All the momentum was with Cardiff at that stage, yet it was Burnley who struck again. Westwood delivered the killer pass, clipping a flighted ball in behind Morrison and into the path of Gudmundsson, whose cross was met by Vokes with a stooping header that found the far corner.