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15:27 20th December 2009


Burnley felt the chill blast of a harsh mid-winter as another away defeat pulled them towards the relegation places.

Mick McCarthy's decision to rest his entire outfield team for their defeat at Manchester United five days earlier was vindicated as Wolves continued their climb away from danger and above the Clarets in the table.

And unless Burnley can sort out an away record which now reads eight defeats in nine matches they will be constantly looking over their shoulders.

Shoddy defending was again their undoing as Nenad Milijas and Kevin Doyle helped themselves to goals after 15 and 50 minutes.

And on this occasion the Clarets lacked the forward spark to make up for the deficiencies as they drew a rare blank in front of goal.

With their home form in such start contrast to their troubles on the road, Owen Coyle's men now face a huge Boxing Day derby against Bolton at Turf Moor in their bid to keep their bold top-flight bid moving.

After a cautious start Burnley had actually worked the initial opening from Andre Bikey's pass to the over-lapping Tyrone Mears, whose deep cross was just too far for Steven Fletcher to get enough power in his header to trouble Marcus Hahnemann.

Feeling the pain of Wolves' opening goal

But it was Wolves who drew first blood to ease the pressure around Molineux with only 15 minutes gone.

McCarthy's team selection had placed the onus on his returning players to deliver the goods and they could barely have made a better start in trying to justify their manager's approach.

Doyle certainly looked fresh and raring to go with his elusive running and when he whipped the ball off Clarke Carlisle's toe Wolves sensed an opportunity.

The striker rolled a pass to Matt Jarvis and although his low shot was saved by Brian Jensen, his parry went straight to the feet of Milijas who drilled the ball home from ten yards.

The Clarets countered with their best moment of the first half as Fletcher and Chris Eagles combined to released Kevin McDonald but the Scot dragged his left foot shot just wide.

And only a fine save from Jensen then kept Burnley in it as Doyle almost doubled their lead.

The other side of the coin

Wolves' record signing was off-side when played in behind Burnley's defence but no flag went up and it took the out-stretched leg of Jensen to keep out Doyle's attempted finish.

Burnley looked a shadow of the side that had sparkled against Arsenal in mid-week and they faced further disruption with just over half an hour gone when Carlisle limped off to be replaced by Michael Duff as Duff made his first appearance in the Premier League.

Coyle resisted the temptation to make further changes at the break and the Clarets responded with a bright start to the second half, getting a couple of dangerous balls into the box, the second of which was delivered by Graham Alexander for Duff to steer just beyond the far post.

But with 50 minutes gone disaster struck as Wolves went 2-0 up thanks to another poorly conceded goal.

Once more a straightforward ball from the back was not dealy with as Doyle got the better of Steven Caldwell and Duff before beating Jensen from close range.

Coyle sent on David Nugent in place of the ineffective Bikey as he switched again to 4-4-2 to try and spark Burnley into life and both Duff and Fletcher were just inches away from connecting with a dangerously delivered Eagles free-kick.

Chris Eagles kept driving Burnley forward

And with the visitors finally showing a bit of life only a goalline clearance from Kevin Foley kept out a Caldwell header from as the ever-willing Eagles swung in a corner.

Fletcher also missed a wonderful opportunity as he skied a shot from six yards out after a cross from Wade Elliott surprised him by landing at his feet after Christophe Berra had failed to clear.

But the best chances had continued to come the way of Wolves as they headed for a third win in four games to aid their relegation fight.

Sylvan Ebanks-Blake was twice denied by Jensen, the first an excellent save as he reacted to keep out a header from the un-marked striker.

Any hopes of a late rally for the Clarets disappeared 11 minutes from the end when referee Martin Atkinson failed to spot Fletcher being pulled to the ground by Henry - enforcing the belief that this was never going to be Burnley's day.

Burnley: Jensen, Jordan, Carlisle (Duff 34), Caldwell (Gudjonsson 69), Mears, Alexander, Bikey (Nugent 54), McDonald, Elliott, Eagles, Fletcher. Subs: Penny, Blake, Thompson Guerrero

Wolves: Hahnemann, Stearman, Craddock, Henry, Ebanks-Blake, Ward, Berra, Jarvis (Iwelumo 87), Milijas (Mancienne 69) Doyle Elokobi 90), Foley. Subs: Surman, Iwelumo, Maierhofer, Castillo, Hennessey

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Attendance: 27,410

    Data provided by Press Association