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Cheltenham 0 Burnley 4

4 August 2012

Austin At The Double

CHARLIE Austin was at the double as Burnley continued their blistering pre-season form by coasting to victory at Cheltenham.

The Burnley striker took his tally to four in as many games with predatory headers in either half, as Eddie Howe's mean kept up their 100 per cent record.

And this, the fourth straight victory, was arguably their best yet in a dominant performance from start to finish against the League Two hosts.

Austin could even have been celebrating a hat-trick, but for a brilliant save from Scott Brown, who performed heroics throughout.

But even Brown could not stop Joseph Mills tapping home the rebound for his first Burnley goal.

And when the impressive Ross Wallace thumped home a fourth in the closing stages, it set the seal on a good days work for Howe's men.

Howe mixed things up from Tuesday's opening victory of the South West mini-tour, with Lee Grant taking over in goal and skipper Jason Shackell partnered by David Edgar in central defence, flanked by Kieran Trippier and Joseph Mills.

Dean Marney anchored the midfield, with Ross Wallace, Chris McCann and Junior Stanislas supporting strikers Austin and Martin Paterson.

And it was Burnley, driven on throughout by the tireless Wallace, who could easily have been out of sight by half time but for some fine goalkeeping by the overworked Scott Brown.

Six minutes in, Mills' deep cross found the wide man, who bamboozled his marker and forced Brown into a fine save with his legs at his near post.

From the resulting corner, a tussle between Austin and his marker saw the ball break to Edgar 12 yards out, but he blasted over.

The early pressure continued and another set-piece corner routine almost paid dividends when Marney dummied Stanislas's corner and Trippier fired just wide through a crowd of players.The Robins created their first opening in the 11th minute when Penn fired an angles effort just side of goal.

But back came Burnley and as their dominance continued, the increasingly influential Wallace was inches away from spectacularly opening the scoring with a curling 30-yarder.

And the Scot could easily have had a first half hat-trick as he again made Scott work when McCann found him overlapping on the right. 

But the deadlock was finally broken just after the half hour with a trademark Austin header.

Stanislas exchanged passes with Wallace in the left corner and hung up a cross to the far post, where the Clarets striker hung to head perfectly back across goal and into the top corner, giving Scott no chance.

The goal was richly deserved and the only surprise at the break was that the Clarets were not further ahead.

Martin Paterson in particular must have wondered how he failed to score his first goal of pre-season - largely due to the heroics of Brown.

In the 37th minute, the striker's lightening turn and shot on the edge of the box had goal written all over it until the Robins' keeper stretched out a glove to turn the curler onto the crossbar.

And after teeing-up Mills for a shot that was narrowly off target, Paterson was again denied by keeper and woodwork as his movement created the opening, only for Brown's legs to deflect the ball onto the foot of the post.

Half time brought three changes - and a system change - as Cheltenham legend Michael Duff formed part of a three-man central defensive unit alongside Shackell and fellow sub Ben Mee.

Edgar and Stanislas made way for the new formation, with Sam Vokes replacing Paterson in the only other change and spearheading an attack in front of supporting duo Austin and Wallace. 

And it was that man Austin again who doubled the Clarets lead just two minutes into the half, rising unchallenged to power home Wallace's right wing corner.

Vokes was looking to open his account after re-joining the Clarets earlier in the week, but he too found Brown a formidable last line of defence as his volley from Trippier's right wing cross was superbly turned round the post.

And after that, the Clarets coasted over the line to continue their preparations for the Championship season in fine goalscoring style.

BURNLEY: Grant, Trippier (O'Neill 87), Edgar (Duff 45), Shackell (Long 87), Mills (Lafferty 70), Marney, Wallace (MacDonald 75), McCann (Hewitt 70), Stanislas (Mee 45), Austin (Porter 88), Paterson (Vokes 45:) Subs: , Ings, Stewart

CHELTENHAM (starting): Brown, Jones, Zebroski, Elliott, Pack, Deering, Mohahed, Bennett, Penn, Harrad, Jobati,
Subs: Lowe, Hooman, Duffy, Goulding, McGlashan Roberts, Andrew, HIbbert, Graham, ,Panther, Hinks 

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