Southampton 4 Burnley 3
BATTLING Burnley did themselves proud in a rousing second half at Southampton, only to exit the FA Cup at the first hurdle.
Deadly duo Sam Vokes and Danny Ings silenced St Mary’s with quickfire strikes after the break after the Premier League hosts had led 2-0 at the break.
It then took a magnificent save from Kelvin Davis to deny Sam Vokes a third as the now-rampant Clarets threatened a cup upset.
All hopes of a comeback finally looked to be extinguished when Saints substitutes and World Cup wannabes Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana restored the two-goal lead.
But Kevin Long’s first goal for the Clarets with five minutes to go made it a nervy end for the Saints, who would have been glad to hear the whistle at the end of a breathless contest.
Sean Dyche named two changes to the Burnley side that beat Huddersfield Town last time out, with defensive duo Michael Duff and Ben Mee replaced with Kevin Long and Danny Lafferty.
And the Clarets were a whisker away from a dream start inside 45 seconds, as Scott Arfield collected David Jones pass heading away from goal and arrowed a curling right-footed effort from the corner of the box inches over the angle.
It was a positive start by the visitors and Vokes saw his snapshot blocked before former Southampton youngster Danny Ings forced Kelvin Davis to grab his looping header under the crossbar.
But midway through the half, it was the Saints in the ascendancy as Clyne took a square pass in his stride and unleashed an unstoppable drive past Tom Heaton from outside the right side of the area to open the scoring.
And before the half hour, the Clarets had a mountain to climb as they stood off Southampton and, following slick passing, Lambert found the top corner from outside the box.
That was Lambert’s last meaningful action and 11 minutes before half time, the travelling Clarets fans rose to acclaim the introduction of Burnley-born Rodriguez.
The England striker would have been disappointed only to make the bench against his boyhood heroes, but got his change prematurely as he faced the Clarets for the first time since his multi-million pound move south.
And as Southampton went for the jugular as half time approached, Heaton had to be alert to turn Luke Shaw’s low, angled drive for a corner.
The message in the Burnley dressing room at half time would have been that the next goal was all-important.
But nobody could have expected the remarkable 45 minutes that were about to unfold.
Six minutes into the half, the message was carried out to the letter as Trippier picked out Vokes with a delicious cross that the Welshman headed across Davis for his 11th goal of the season.
Suddenly, Southampton were on the back foot and the same combination came close to conjuring up an equaliser as the 11-goal striker header Trippier’s cross onto the roof of the net.
The travelling fans didn’t have long to wait for the leveller though, as Ings collected Trippier’s ball down the right, outpaced Jos Hooiveld and squeezed the ball between Davis and the post from the tightest of angles for the 20th goal of his season.
Now Burnley were incredibly in search of a third and the comeback would have been complete had Davis not made a magnificent save from Vokes as the Southampton-born striker raced onto Ings’ chipped ball.
But wouldn’t you know it, up popped Rodriguez to spoil the party in the 66th minute.
James Ward Prowse tumbled in the box as he homes in on Heaton and with players appealing for a penalty, the Clarets keeper could only push the ball to the penalty spot, where Rodriguez slotted home.
The former Claret had promised ahead of the game that he wouldn’t celebrate a goal – and he was true to his word with a muted reaction as he took the celebrations of team-mates.
That again flattened Burnley, but once more they bounced off the canvas and from substitute Junior Stanislas’s low delivery, Ings controlled and rifled a shot on the turn off the foot of the post.
But the game was finally up 16 minutes from time when Saints substitute Lallana carried the ball into shooting range and found the bottom corner with another unerring long-range strike past a helpless Heaton.
Rodriguez almost helped himself to a second, but Heaton did just enough to force the striker to turn his shot on the run over.
And in a breathless second half, Davis did well to turn Ings’ shot on the run for a corner.
However, from Stanislas’s flag kick, Long was Johnny-on-the-spot to get a boot to the dropping ball in the six yard box and again reduce the arrears.
And Vokes had a late chance to snatch a replay as he and Ings again drove at the Saints defence, only for the shot to fail to match the lightening raid.
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Long, Shackell, Lafferty, Treacy (Stanislas 64), Marney, Arfield, Jones, Ings, Vokes
Subs: Cisak, Stock, O'Neill, Edgar, Hewitt, Dummigan
Southampton: Davis, Clyne, Yoshida, Schneiderlin, Lambert (Rodriguez 34) Davis, Ramirez (Lallana 59), Ward-Prowse, Cork, Shaw, Hooiveld (Fonte 79)
Subs: Gazzaniga, Chambers, Reed, Gallagher
Referee: R. Madley
Att: 15,077 (845)