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17:01 28th December 2010


A testing 2010 at Turf Moor ended on a low note as the Clarets passed up the chance to regain a play-off place with a second successive home defeat.

Following a year notable for the end of their brief stay in the Premier League, the Clarets continued to make hard work in their quest to bounce back as struggling Scunthorpe ended a five-match losing streak thanks to Martyn Woolford's early goal and Chris Dagnall's late strike.

Having buried one jinx with their first away win of the season at Barnsley on Boxing Day, Burnley couldn't do it again against a Scunthorpe side which has enjoyed its visits over the years.

Stretching back to 1990, the Iron have lost only once in six games at Turf Moor - with one of their victories masterminded by Burnley boss Brian Laws!

A win over Laws' former club would have given Burnley back-to-back victories for the first time this season.

But in truth the Clarets never looked like providing it on a collective off day.

And that statistic is holding Burnley back as they remain in touch with the top six without being able to force their way back into the promotion picture with half of the season gone.

The Clarets had begun the afternoon by remembering Ralph Coates, with a round of applause before kick-off following the recent death of the former Turf Moor favourite.

But it was a winger in Scunthorpe colours who made the first impression as Woolford gave the visitors a 14th-minute lead.

The Iron, who hadn't played a game in over three weeks after going into deep freeze, had already gone close with a long-range Michael O'Connor effort which Lee Grant touched onto the bar at full stretch.

And then after Garry Thompson had swung in a free-kick, awarded when Jay Rodriguez clipped the heels of Andrew Wright to earn a booking, Woolford pounced.

The Clarets failed to deal with a ball pumped into the penalty area and Scunthorpe's joint leading scorer accepted the chance to drill a low left foot shot beyond Grant to make it ten straight Championship games since Burnley kept a clean sheet.

Despite their lowly status, Scunthorpe had won five times away from home this season, and did more than just look to hang onto their lead.

Burnley offered precious little in response, with central defenders Andre Bikey and Clarke Carlisle going closest to levelling before the break.

Bikey drilled a shot at Joe Murphy after a free-kick was rolled into his path 30 yards from goal and Carlisle headed over the top from a Ross Wallace corner after Murphy had palmed away a curling Graham Alexander free-kick.

But the best chance of a second goal came Scunthorpe's way.

Nine minutes before half-time the lively Jonathan Forte was released by O'Connor but with just Grant to beat he lost the battle of wills as the Clarets' keeper made a vital save to keep his side in touch.

Laws had started with the side that won at Oakwell two days previously to seemingly provide the platform for a push back into the top six.

But with that prospect fading over the first 45 minutes the manager sent on Chris Eagles in place of Wade Elliott at the start of the second half.

There was a brief response as the Clarets forced two quick corners, with Rodriguez heading one just over the top and then later failing to make contact in front of goal from another Wallace delivery.

And then when Eagles ran through the Scunthorpe defence his tantalising cross was taken off the head of Jack Cork by Wright's excellent interception.

Forte spurned a chance at the other end as he nudged a Chris Dagnall cross just wide, but the Clarets looked a different proposition with Eagles in their ranks and another fine run and cross saw Wallace's header blocked in front of goal by Wright.

With Eagles providing the ammunition, Laws didn't waste long to replace John Guidetti with top scorer Chris Iwelumo in a bid to capitalise, although Scunthorpe's threat on the break remained with Woolford forcing Grant into another important save.

On an afternoon of growing frustration Eagles tried his luck from close to 35 yards following a free-kick and although the substitute caught it sweetly it was too close to Joe Murphy to make the keeper's save overly difficult.

Eagles had looked Burnley's most likely source of a goal, but even his influence began to wain as the belief appeared to drain from the home side.

And with Scunthorpe continuing to look dangerous on the counter-attack they duly wrapped up a badly needed win six minutes from the end when the impressive Woolford crossed for Dagnall to side-foot the ball powerfully beyond Grant from eight yards out.

Burnley: Grant, Mears, Easton, Carlisle, Bikey, Alexander, Cork, Elliott (Eagles ht), Rodriguez, Guidetti (Iwelumo 55), Wallace (Thompson 72). Subs: Edgar, Marney, Duff, Jensen.

Booked: Rodriguez 13

Scunthorpe: Murphy, Wright, Nolan, Byrne, Jones, O'Connor, Togwell, Woolford, Dagnall (J Wright 90), Forte (Godden 81), Thompson (Collins 78). Subs: McClenahan, Mirfin, Cowan-Hall, Slocombe.

Booked: Nolan 2

Referee: Andy Woolmer

Attendance: 15,043

    Data provided by Press Association