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18:45 21st December 2013

Burnley 2 Blackpool 1

SCOTT Arfield provided the present all Clarets fans were looking for to put Burnley on top of the tree at Christmas.

The Scot struck a magnificent, curling winner two minutes into the second half to end a humdinger of a Lancashire derby.

Arfield goal 2

Danny Ings had earlier put Sean Dyche’s men ahead with his 17th goal of the season from a rehearsed corner, only for Craig Cathcart to level the scores with a firm close-range header.

But Arfield’s wonder goal was worthy of winning any game to ensure a festive number one and ensure that Burnley’s proud unbeaten home league run will go into a 10th month.

Sean Dyche selected the same starting side that earned the Clarets a hard-fought draw at Leicester a week earlier.

And in an explosive start, Blackpool were rocked as the Clarets were ahead on seven minutes. Arfield’s shot was deflected for a corner and from the resulting flag kick, a training ground routine worked a treat.

Michael Duff dummied David Jones’ low corner pulled back to the penalty spot and Ings pounced to beat Matt Gilks with a low drive from 12 yards.

Ings duff jones

That brought an immediate response from the visitors and Tom Ince almost brought Blackpool level within six minutes. The wide man embarked on a stunning solo run that ended with Jason Shackell making a perfectly timed last-ditch tackle as he shaped to shoot.

The Blackpool dangerman then laid on a perfect chance for Barry Ferguson to equalise, dummying past Ben Mee and squaring the ball for the skipper, who totally fluffed his lines from 10 yards

But Blackpool did finally grab a deserved leveller in the 15th minute .The Burnley defence was under increasing pressure and from a right wing corner Cathcart rose highest to plant a header past Tom Heaton from point-blank range.

And but for a remarkable save from Heaton, the Seasiders would have been ahead just before the half -hour mark. 

The Clarets ‘keeper had no right to keep out Dan Gosling’s perfectly placed side-foot from 12 yards, but somehow got a glove to the goalbound effort to keep the scoreline level.

Heaton save

And Heaton was again called upon 10 minutes before the break, turning Davies’ 25-yard daisy-cutter round the post.

It was impressive stuff from the visitors, but the irrepressible Ings was inches away from putting the Clarets back in front five minutes before the break, weaving his way to the edge of the box and seeing his angled effort beat Gilks and fly just the wrong side of the post.

And as Burnley looked to regain the initiative as the break loomed, Gilks was smartly down to turn Ings’ flick header from a perfectly weighted Michael Kightly ball around the post three minutes before the break.

But that response continued as the second half began - and just 70 seconds after the re-start the Clarets were back in front.

From Arfield's through ball, Jones did well at the corner flag to hold up play and feed Mee, who slid the ball square to Arfield on the corner of the box. 

The Scot still had it all to do, but looked up and curled a magnificent finish into the far corner with Gilks a mere bystander.

Arfield cele

Ten minutes into the half, Arfield almost caught Gilks out again with an intended cross that smacked off the face of the angle!

A decisive challenge on Marney denied a now rampant Burnley another goalscoring opportunity after more tireless work from Arfield, this time on the right by-line.

And when Arfield again picked out Ings with a magnificent right wing cross with six minutes remaining, for once the Clarets striker hot his angles wrong as he headed just wide of the far post.

Burnley were now pouring forward in search of the clincher and Gilks was forced into yet another save to paw away Vokes’ precise side-footed effort.

Ings last minute

Deep into four added-on minutes, Marney robbed Pool of possession and powered forward to release last man Ings, whose shot was deflected over by a lunging, last-ditch tackle to deny the man-of-the-match another strike to add to his impressive tally.

But ultimately it mattered not as, following QPPR’s home defeat to Leicester earlier in the day, the Clarets roared back to the summit in style.

Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Kightly (Treacy 86), Jones, Marney, Arfield, Ings, Vokes
Subs: Cisak, Lafferty, Stock, Long, Edgar, Stanislas

Booked: Trippier 67, Mee 81

Blackpool: Gilks, Basham, Broadfoot, Cathcart, Robinson, Ferguson, Bishop, Gosling, Dobbie (Zeegelaar 78), Ince, Davies (Chopra 69).
Subs: Warner, Harris, Blackett, Barkhuizen

Booked: Bishop

Referee: R East

Att: 14,489 (1,358)