Another Austin goal gives 'Pash' perfect start
Terry Pashley and Charlie Austin both earned themselves a little piece of Burnley history as the Clarets secured their first victory in four games on derby day at Turf Moor.
Austin’s first-half winner made him the first Burnley player since Willie Irvine in 1965 to score in seven successive games.
And his 16th goal of a remarkable start to the season was enough to give Pashley victory in his first game as caretaker-manager.
The Turf Moor stalwart, who has given two decades of service in the Clarets’ youth department, masterminded a morale-boosting win built on Austin and his hard-working colleagues who gave everything to keep a first clean sheet since the opening day of the season.
Captain Jason Shackell had promised an improved defensive performance after collapsing at Crystal Palace a fortnight ago and the Clarets duly delivered, helped out by a wonderful double save from Lee Grant in the second half which sent the Seasiders home empty handed and gave Burnley the perfect start to the post-Eddie Howe era.
Pashley’s first selection as acting manager brought recalls for Michael Duff, Brian Stock and Ross Wallace as he looked to solve the conundrum of keeping it tight at one end without sacrificing the Clarets’ attacking threat.
The result was a less adventurous team prepared to keep more men behind the ball and leave Austin a little more isolated.
But Austin doesn’t appear to need much help to cause opponents’ headaches and he was at it again almost from the off.
Blackpool’s threat came from the pace out wide provided by Tom Ince and Matty Phillips but Austin does his damage up the middle and after one sighter he struck again.
His first effort, hit on the volley following a cross from Junior Stanislas, brought a fortunate save from Matt Gilks who seemed to be looking elsewhere when the ball deflected off his glove and just wide.
But there was to be no further let-off with 18 minutes gone.
The selection of Wallace ahead of Martin Paterson might have raised a few eyebrows but the delivery from Wallace was perfect for Austin to ghost in behind Blackpool’s central defenders – changed at the last minute when Ian Evatt replaced the injured Craig Cathcart – and guide a downward header beyond Gilks.
With a more solid feel about them the Clarets looked comfortable with their lead, while the pace of Stanislas down the left wing always kept alive the prospect of a second goal on the break.
And three minutes before half-time it was Stanislas who could have doubled the lead.
Linking with Austin just inside the Blackpool half, the former England under-21 international raced clear but with just Gilks to beat couldn’t find the necessary finished as the goalkeeper thrust out a right hand to make decent save from Stanislas’ attempted chip.
Gilks was becoming Blackpool’s key figure and a minute after the break he was called into action again to beat away a fierce drive from Austin after Stock, Wallace and Kieran Trippier had all been involved in prising open the Seasiders’ defence.
The lively Stanislas then almost slipped in Austin for another chance as Burnley went for the kill and when Ince fired into the side netting at the other end with 53 minutes gone it went down as the visitors’ first chance of the night.
It wasn’t to be the last, though, and three times around the hour mark Blackpool almost found a way through.
Shackell was in the right place to clear the first wave of danger as Ince got behind the defence and squared the ball across the face of goal.
And Grant then had to take centre stage with a sensational double save to preserve his side’s advantage.
Alex Baptiste thought he had scored with a header which Grant touched onto a post at full length and Gary Taylor-Fletcher was then even more perplexed as Grant somehow got up to block the follow-up with another fantastic stop.
Taylor-Fletcher then whistled a long-range effort just wide via a deflection as the Clarets started to hang on and Pashley reacted by sending on fresh legs in the shape of Marvin Bartley and Paterson.
Paterson got free with nine minutes to go but the angle was always against him as he shot into the side netting in an increasingly rare Burnley forway forward.
But with the Clarets fighting tooth and nail, and with the crowd firmly behind them, in their quest to secure their clean sheet there were few major alarms at the other end and in stoppage time substitute Sam Vokes almost added an insurance policy with a skidding drive which Gilks just about got round the post.
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Mee, Duff, Shackell, Stock (Bartley 69), Marney, McCann, Austin (Vokes 86), Wallace, Stanislas (Paterson 75): Subs: Edgar, Mills, Stewart, Jensen.
Booked: Mee 29, Paterson 90
Blackpool: Gilks, Eardley, Crainey, Evatt, Baptiste, M Phillips (Bruna 79), Ince (Dicko 79), Taylor-Fletcher, Osbourne, Angel, Delfouneso (Silvestre 59). Subs: Gomes, Halstead, Ecclestone.
Booked: Crainey 68, Evatt 77
Referee: Michael Oliver