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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:08 12th February 2011

WATFORD 1 BURNLEY 3

Chris Eagles and Chris Iwelumo continued their personal duel at the top of the Clarets' goal-scoring charts as they led Burnley to back-to-back Championship wins for the first time this season.

Both took their total for the campaign to 11 to secure a third away success and give further momentum to the Clarets' push for a top-six place.

Eddie Howe has now overseen two victories in four attempts away from Turf Moor and while the new Burnley boss looks to have broken the jinx, this was also a red-letter day for Iwelumo.

Iwelumo wins it!

All of the striker's goals had previously come at Burnley but a first anywhere since New Year's Day finally ended that hoodoo to underline his value to the cause.

Iwelumo, back in the starting line-up in place of unwell recent signing Charlie Austin, was rewarded for his perseverance as he followed up Eagles' fine strike to make it two goals in nine second-half minutes to swing the game decisively Burnley's way.

Two goals in the first 12 minutes, including a freakish own-goal to give Burnley the lead, had left nothing between two sides also locked together on points at the start of play.

Chris Eagles fires the Clarets ahead...

... and celebrates!

But a combination of the Clarets' newly discovered grit and their potency in front of goal proved the difference as they ground out a deserved victory which showed further signs of the ability to forge the kind of run needed to force their way back into the play-off places.

A pivtoal game could hardly have made a more explosive start and Watford could have been ahead after just 30 seconds as Danny Graham slipped in Danny Drinkwater for a run on goal.

The midfielder could see plenty of the target but dragged his shot wide and the Clarets made the most of the let-off.

A well-worked corner routine saw Jack Cork step over a Ross Wallace delivery for Chris Eagles to fire in a shot which was blocked.

But the next time a Watford defender got his body in the way of the ball it had disastrous consequences for his side as the Clarets were gifted the lead.

A ball forward from Chris Eagles should not have caused too many problems but with Jay Rodriguez giving chase, goalkeeper Scott Loach left his penalty area to clear and sent a clearance thudding into team-mate Dale Bennett and back into the unguarded net.

The goal was an unexpected bonus for Burnley but one they didn't capitalise on as five minutes later Watford were level as Marvin Sordel was allowed to make space for a low cross which Graham met at the near post to bundle the ball over the line from close range.

And the flurry of early activity set the tone for a first half in which both sides threatened to add to their tally.

A mistake by Clarke Carlisle let in Sordel for a chance which Lee Grant did well to snuff out as the Clarets' keeper raced from goal and on a wretched surface for defenders the Hornets' front two carried a constant threat.

But Burnley also looked dangerous going forward as they enjoyed lengthy spells on top.

Despite the tricky surface, the Clarets did their best to work openings as Ross Wallace delivered a number of teasing crosses, as well as failing to pick out a colleague on a couple of occasions, and Rodriguez caused problems whenever he ran at the Hornets' back four.

And from one of those runs from the England under-21 man, former Watford loanee Eagles had the chance to restore Burnley's lead but ran out of space and sent his attempted chipped finish wide of the post as neither side could rediscover a cutting edge before the break.

With Watford substitute Adam Thompson heading wide from a corner and Rodriguez hooking a shot over the top the stalemate continued into the second half as what had started as an open game developed into a war of attrition.

Chris Iwelumo's header hits the net

And just when a touch of class was needed it came via the increasingly influential Eagles as the Clarets went 2-1 ahead.

Burnley pieced together a decent five-man move and after playing a one-two with Chris Iwelumo, Eagles showed great awareness to shoot first time and poke the ball past Loach from 15 yards and into the bottom corner.

Rodriguez then shot just wide as the Clarets went for the kill and although Watford substitute Andy Weimann replied with a shot which Grant was forced to touch round the post, Burnley's defence looked a more resolute unit.

And with a quarter of an hour to go the moment came for Iwelumo as the big striker broke his away-day duck to wrap up the points.

Eagles was the architect with a perfectly flighted far-post cross and Iwelumo made the most of his return to the starting line-up by standing strong to head in with his last touch before making way for Steven Thompson as the Clarets looked to run down the clock.

'Goal-den boys'

Inevitably Watford did their best to make sure it wouldn't be an easy passage but Grant, who started his career as a junior at Vicarage Road, refused to be beaten as he saved from Lee Hodson and then made a stunning stop to deny Weimann before Graham's late miss spared any late nerves.

Burnley: Grant, Mears, Fox, Carlisle, Duff, Marney, Cork (Alexander 83), Eagles (Bartley 90), Iwelumo (Thompson 75), Rodriguez, Wallace. Subs: Elliott, Bikey, Easton, Jensen.

Booked: Mears 12, Fox 60

Watford: Loach, Hodson, Eustace, Taylor, Mariappa, Graham, Buckley, McGinn, Bennett (Thompson ht), Sordell (Weimann 55), Drinkwater (Townsend 72). Subs: Deeney, Jenkins, Whichelow, Gilmartin.

Booked: Eustace 16

Referee: Tony Bates

    Data provided by Press Association