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17:02 11th December 2010


Burnley's inability to hold onto a lead cost them again as promotion rivals Leeds came back from the dead to seal a dramatic win at a packed Turf Moor.

It was the Clarets' fans in Burnley's biggest crowd of season who were crowing at half time as goals from Brian Easton and Jay Rodriguez seemingly put Brian Laws' side in control.

But as against Sheffield United and Norwich City, Burnley could not see the game out as Leeds struck three times in 33 disastrous second-half minutes.

Max Gradel, Luciano Becchio and Jonathan Howson did the damage as Leeds extended their seven-match unbeaten run to enhance their top-six prospects.

Easton's first goal for the Clarets, and first in over two years anywhere, and Rodriguez's fourth of the season therefore counted for nothing as Burnley suffered a second home defeat of the season and saw their wait for back-to-back wins for the first time in a fluctuating campaign extend until at least the Christmas holidays.

With Chris Eagles and Martin Paterson still on the absentee list, Laws started with the same side that had come from behind to beat Derby a fortnight ago.

Brian Easton fires the Clarets ahead

And the boss also stuck with the formation that finished that game with a flourish as Wade Elliott started in a wide position on the right side and Rodriguez was deployed as a central striker from the off.

The Clarets produced a high tempo start, although it was Leeds who could have drawn first blood.

Howson got away with controlling the ball with his hand and when he squared the ball to Gradel, the winger should have hit the target from no more than 12 yards out.

The lively Ivorian also sliced an attempted cross onto the roof of the net after getting in behind the Burnley back four but it was the Clarets who forced the early pace.

Rodriguez was a pivotal figure as he looked to link the Clarets' play and the young striker sent a long-range effort fizzing wide with Burnley's first serious attempt.

And the pride of Burnley then played another key role as the Clarets went ahead after 27 minutes.

And Jay Rodriguez celebrates making it 2-0

Rodriguez launched the decisive move with a fine run and pass to Elliott, whose near post cross saw Chris Iwelumo force Kaspar Schmeichel into conceding a corner.

From Ross Wallace's delivery Andre Bikey's towering header was blocked on the line and Easton reacted first to volley the ball into the roof of the net from virtually on the line.

Crucially the Clarets didn't then just sit on their lead as Bikey powered a 40-yard free-kick just wide and then with eight minutes to go until half-time Rodriguez made it 2-0 to get a near sold-out Turf Moor jumping.

Former Leeds defender Clarke Carlisle turned defence into attack with a huge clearance and with Rodriguez breathing down his neck, Alex Bruce lost his footing and keeled over.

Faced with just Schmeicel to beat, Rodriguez kept his composure to slide the ball under the keeper and end a nine-game wait for a goal to cap one of the Clarets' best 45-minute appearances of the season.

As ever at 2-0, the next goal appeared likely to be crucial and seven minutes into the second half it was Leeds who got it to throw the outcome back into the balance.

Max Gradel launches the Leeds comeback

The Clarets were guilty of allowing Leeds to keep the ball alive out on the touchline and when Robert Snodgrass swung a deep cross beyond the far post, the previously anonymous Becchio headed down for Gradel to drive the ball home from ten yards.

Burnley needed to respond and three minutes later they gave themselves the perfect opportunity to calm the nerves with a third goal.

Elliott's cross from the right was inch-perfect for Iwelumo but the Clarets' top scorer planted his headed effort just the wrong side of the post with Schmeichel rooted to the spot.

And Leeds pounced on that let-off to make it 2-2 after 67 minutes as the visitors surged towards their following support.

Paul Connolly started the move with a storming run from right-back and after exchanging passes with Howson, crossed for Becchio to steer in his 12th goal of the season.

Chris Iwelumo heads just wide

The momentum was all with Leeds and only the width of the crossbar prevented them going ahead as Snodgrass broke from half-way and curled a left-footer against the woodwork.

The Clarets were treading water and as Leeds continued to pour forward Snodgrass again caused mayhem in the penalty area, Bikey eventually relieving some of the pressure with a desperate clearance.

It proved to be only a temporary reprieve, however, as Leeds went ahead with five minutes to go as Howson capped a stunning comeback.

The captain drove forward from midfield as Leeds again broke in numbers and, opting to go alone, he clinically curled a shot into the bottom corner of Lee Grant's net from 22 yards.

Substitute Ross McCormack could have added a fourth but was denied by Grant and with five minutes of added time, the Clarets had the chance to rescue a point.

Twice substitute Steven Thompson had sights of goal but from the first his shot was blocked and then when Elliott again crossed invitingly he nodded tamely wide.

John Guidetti sees a late chance slip by

Still there was time for another opportunity but from Thompson's header down, fellow substitute John Guidetti saw Schmeichel scramble his shot round the post at full stretch as Leeds held on to a precious win.

Burnley: Grant, Mears, Easton, Carlisle, Bikey, Marney, Cork, Elliott, Iwelumo (Thompson 72), Rodriguez, Wallace (Guidetti 78). Subs: Duff, Alexander, Edgar, Harvey, Jensen.

Leeds United: Schmeichel, Connolly, Bruce, Collins, McCartney, Kilkenny (McCormack 63), Gradel, Howson, Johnson, Becchio (Faye 90), Snodgrass. Subs: Paynter, Sam, Hughes, Somma, Higgs.

Booked: Collins 30, Howson 52, Johnson 61

Referee: Russell Booth.

Attendance: 20,453

    Data provided by Press Association