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21:51 10th March 2010


Brave Burnley got their points' tally moving again as David Nugent's second-half equaliser breathed new life into the Clarets' survival campaign.

Brian Laws' men couldn't get the win they needed to get out of the bottom three but moved level on points with 17th-placed Wolves ahead of Saturday's massive meeting with the Midlanders.

And after trailing at half-time to a notoriously unyielding Stoke side, Nugent's sixth goal of the season secured a result that could be crucial in the final reckoning.

Just as importantly, the nature of the fightback showed that the Clarets are still capable of hauling themselves to safety.

Tuncay's 23rd-minute goal from a Rory Delap long throw temporarily seemed to sap some of the life from a Burnley side which had managed just one win in their previous 17 games.

But Laws galvanised his players at the break and an inspired second 45 minutes, which could have brought more than Nugent's goal, may now provide the confidence-booster needed to go on and beat the drop.

David Nugent heads home Burnley's equaliser

After an understandably cagey start in which the Clarets had passed their early set-piece tests, Burnley carved out the first opening with 16 minutes gone.

Laws had handed Steven Thompson his first Premier League start of the season and the big striker won the latest in a number of flick-ons to release Chris Eagles.

Eagles picked out a lovely pass to feed the advancing Jack Cork but rather than shoot, the youngster elected to try and tee-up Martin Paterson and the chance was gone.

That spurred the Clarets on and after they had forced a corner Danny Fox cut in and drilled on a low shot which Thomas Sorensen fumbled round the post.

But Stoke certainly didn't look jaded following their FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Chelsea as they pressed on for a possible top ten finish.

And 23 minutes in the visitors went ahead through the predictable route of a Delap long throw.

Tuncay puts Stoke ahead

Burnley were well aware of the threat posed by Delap's not-so-secret weapon but couldn't deal with the latest arrow into their penalty area which Mamady Sidibe flicked on for Tuncay to head home from the edge of the six-yard box.

The goal came as a body blow to the Clarets' bid to end their four-game losing streak, although Eagles on one flank and Tyrone Mears on the other did their best to try and force an equaliser.

And a deep cross from Eagles almost produced it for Martin Paterson but the former Stoke striker side-footed wide seven minutes before Burnley went into the break with the supporters doing their best to lift their side.

Laws made a change by sending on Kevin McDonald at the start of the second half and with McDonald immediately prominent the Clarets started as though they meant business.

Rory Delap winds up for an infamous long throw

Eagles was again the catalyst with a driving run into the penalty area and although that came to nothing Burnley began to believe and look a different team.

And with 52 minutes gone they were level thanks to a superbly crafted goal.

Thompson had fully vindicated his call-up and he was heavily involved in holding the ball up and working it wide to Paterson who cleverly made space to fire over a cross which Nugent met superbly with a thumping header which flew past Sorensen for his third goal in five games.

The Clarets were invigorated and when Paterson drilled over another cross, Sorensen was lucky that his weak parry didn't fall for either Nugent or Eagles.

The Stoke keeper didn't look entirely convincing either when he dealt with a dipping long range effort from Eagles as the Clarets strove to sustain the pressure and set up a grandstand finish.

Chris Eagles stretches the Stoke defence again

Laws sent on Wade Elliott to provide some extra fresh legs going forward and when he was tripped by Delap, Fox drove across a free-kick which gave Clarke Carlisle a half-chance with a header which he could not direct goalwards from beyond the far post.

Burnley had given everything and after weathering the storm Stoke rallied for a late push themselves.

But the Clarets still found the reserves to mount a couple of late breaks that almost produced a dramatic winner as the outstanding Eagles lifted a shot over the bar and the equally influential McDonald fizzed an effort just wide on a night that could yet prove a turning point in the bid to beat the drop.

Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Fox (Jordan 77), Carlisle, Cort, Alexander, Cork (McDonald ht), Nugent, Paterson, Thompson (Elliott 71), Eagles. Subs: Duff, Blake, Bikey, Weaver.

Stoke City: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Huth, Faye, Collins, Lawrence (Pugh 63), Whitehead, Delap, Tuncay (Moult 85), Sidibe (Kitson 63), Etherington. Subs: Amdy Faye, Davies, Lund, Begovic.

Booked: Carlisle 48, McDonald 87.

Referee: Howard Webb

Attendance: 20,323

Graham Alexander tangles with Tuncay

    Data provided by Press Association