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17:45 7th August 2010


Chris Iwelumo made a dream start to his Clarets' career as his debut goal gave Burnley's Championship campaign the perfect start at Turf Moor.

The big striker's trademark diving header in the 45th-minute was enough to give Brian Laws' side the perfect antidote to the last season's relegation.

And a first clean sheet since October was a further morale-boosting statistic on an afternoon when the Clarets hopefully gave a glimpse of things to come back in the Football League.

Laws knows his team will play more fluent football over the coming months when they are more match-sharp and battle-hardened.

But for the first-day work-out it could not have panned out much better as the Clarets showed the resolve and grit they will need to tough it out over the marathon ahead as they opened a season with a win for the first time since 2008.

Iwelumo took the headlines for his instant impact following his arrival from Wolves but there were plenty of other commanding performance from the 'old guard' - epitomised by the back-in-favour Andre Bikey who reaffirmed his status as one of the Championship's top defenders.

As well as Iwelumo, Laws had also given starts to new summer signings Dean Marney and Ross Wallace as the Clarets looked to hit the ground running.

Forest felled

It proved to be something of a stuttering start in an uneventful opening as both sides played some safety-first football in an effort to find their feet on the newly laid Turf Moor pitch which cut up in places.

And it was Forest who almost struck first after 25 minutes through the lively Robert Earnshaw who accepted a return pass from Dexter Blackstock before cracking a stinging volley against the foot of a post thanks to a finger-tip touch from Brian Jensen.

The Clarets struggled to get much going and Forest continued to look dangerous on the break, despite the commanding presence of Bikey in the centre of Burnley's defence.

He lost partner Michael Duff after half an hour to be replaced by Clarke Carlisle but the disruption proved to be minimal as Laws' men finally started to exert some pressure.

Inevitably the source of danger came from the flanks with Wallace and Martin Paterson both peppering the danger area.

Happy days

From one Paterson cross, Chris Cohen was forced to chest the ball wide at the expense of a corner which Bikey headed powerfully just wide via another touch off Cohen.

And when Paterson was involved again moments later, the break-through came just as the start of first-half stoppage time was announced.

This time Paterson linked well with Wade Elliott and when the impressive Elliott raced clear he picked out the perfect right-footed cross for Iwelumo to throw himself forward past Wes Morgan and head past Lee Camp to give his Clarets' career the perfect start.

The goal lifted Turf Moor at the perfect time and kept the Clarets on the front foot after the break as a free-kick from Wallace had Camp scrambling to fumble the ball round the post.

Burnley took the corner short and when Wallace got in the action again he crossed perfectly for Carlisle to head just wide.

But the momentum didn't last long as the Clarets sank deeper to surrender the initiative for a spell which should have brought a Forest equaliser.

Ryan Bertrand at full stretch to stop Wade Elliott

The visitors' best chance came after 53 minutes when Burnley were badly caught out at the back by Blackstock and Earnshaw as they ferried the ball across the pitch for the unmarked Nathan Tyson to lift his shot over the top with only Jensen to beat.

Jensen was never actually called into action as Earnshaw and Blackstock passed up further chances but the Clarets would have loved the cushion of a second goal.

Opportunities were limited although the final ten minutes did bring the chances to avoid a nervy finish which went into four minutes of added time.

New captain Graham Alexander provided two of them for Iwelumo and substitute Steven Thompson to test Camp with headed efforts.

And Marney also nodded just wide after substitute Jay Rodriguez had made his presence felt with a dangerous cross from the right-hand side.

Three points!

Two seasons ago Rodriguez had scored the Clarets' goal of the season in a 5-0 romp over Forest which helped propel them to promotion.

There's a long road to go before that can be repeated - but you have to start somewhere and the Clarets are again heading in the right direction.

Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Bikey, Duff (Carlisle 30), Fox, Paterson (Rodriguez 77), Marney, Alexander, Elliott, Wallace, Iwelumo (Thompson 85). Subs: Edgar, Cort, Eagles, Grant.

Nottingham Forest: Camp, Bertrand, Morgan, Wilson (Chambers ht), Gunter, Cohen, McKenna, Moussi (Majewski 82), Earnshaw, Tyson, Blackstock (Anderson 69). Subs: Chambers, McGugan, Adebola, McCleary, Darlo.

Referee: Colin Webster

Booked: Burnley: Mears 71, Iwelumo 81

Forest: Morgan 87

Attendance: 17,496

    Data provided by Press Association