Burnley 2 Doncaster 0
Burnley moved to within three points of league leaders Leicester with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night.
A Sam Vokes penalty 45 seconds into the second half followed by Junior Stanislas’ neat finish on the break were enough to see off the resilient visitors.
Burnley are now within touching distance of Saturday’s opponents Leicester, with the Clarets having collected 26 points from a possible 30 in their last 10 fixtures.
Both Sean Dyche and opposition manager Paul Dickov opted for the same starting 11 that had secured victory over Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday respectively last Saturday.
Chris Baird, making his home debut for the Clarets, and Ashley Barnes continued to deputise for injured duo Kieran Trippier and Danny Ings for the home side.
And it was Burnley’s two newest recruits that combined to produce the first shot on goal after nine minutes of play.
Baird slotted a low pass into the feet of Barnes who deftly touched the ball to Scott Arfield to curl his left-footed effort from outside the area narrowly over the bar.
The duo had seemingly struck up a good understanding early on and combined again just two minutes later this time resulting in David Jones’ attempt on goal being blocked.
The home side continued to look lively on the attack in the early stages, especially down the left hand side, with Stanislas forcing Doncaster goalkeeper Sam Johnstone to punch away the winger’s teasing cross.
It was Paul Dickov’s side who threatened to break the deadlock next though as Chris Brown diverted a header from Mark Duffy’s cross wide of the Burnley goal after 21 minutes.
Stanislas continued to look lively and, moments after cutting in from the left to fire a powerful shot over the bar, the winger expertly controlled the ball with his chest on the edge of the area before seeing his sweetly struck half-volley acrobatically saved by Johnstone.
The home crowd felt Barnes should have been awarded a penalty on 27 minutes when the striker appeared to be dragged down inside the box after Vokes had rose well to flick the ball on, however the referee ignored loud protests from the stands.
The Clarets persisted in their attempts to break down Doncaster’s stubborn defence as the first half drew to a close, although Dyche’s men were limited mainly to efforts from range from David Jones, Dean Marney and Arfield.
The pick of the bunch came from Marney whose rasping effort stung the hands of Johnstone as he tipped the shot over the bar in what was the last action of the half.
Just 45 seconds after the restart Burnley were awarded a spot-kick when James Coppinger brought down Barnes at the back post with the ex-Brighton man poised to finish Baird’s deep cross.
Vokes stepped up confidently, stroking the penalty into the top right corner, claiming his 20th league goal of the season and converting a second spot-kick in the space of four days.
The Welshman thought he had doubled his tally after 51 minutes, smashing home at the second attempt after Arfield had provided him with the ball, but as the striker wheeled away to celebrate the linesman’s flag was raised and the goal ruled out for offside.
Stanislas continued to impress in the second half, firstly dazzling supporters with a neat piece of trickery on the left touchline, then curling a free kick into the side netting with some of the Turf Moor crowd thinking the winger had found the back of the net.
The away side began to look for a way back into the game, although a speculative volley from Billy Sharp on the edge of the box after 63 minutes sailed too high to test Tom Heaton in the Burnley net.
The visitors were trying for an equaliser but it was the Clarets who were enjoying the better chances as the second half continued with Michael Duff and Barnes almost doubling the home side’s lead, both getting on the end of Jones’ high quality corner deliveries.
As space opened up for Burnley, Junior Stanislas made Doncaster pay, finishing a well worked counter attacking goal to put the Clarets two up with 25 minutes to go.
Paul Dickov’s men had committed numbers in attack allowing Burnley to break with pace down the right hand side before Jones slid the ball to Stanislas unmarked inside the Doncaster area to slot home past Johnstone.
The goal came moments after Doncaster’s shot-stopper had superbly kept out Barnes’ shot with a one-handed save when the striker was fed in by Stanislas counter attacking at pace.
The away side almost pulled a goal back on the 80 minute mark when David Cotterill struck the bar from a free kick and Abdoulaye Meite blazed over the rebound in an incident which had resulted in in Marney being shown a yellow card.
The midfielder will now miss the Clarets next two fixtures having accumulated 10 bookings over the course of the season.
A late shot from Brown forced Heaton into an easy save late on however Burnley managed to keep a second clean sheet in two games and record yet another victory.
Burnley: Heaton, Baird, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Jones, Marney, Stanislas (Kightly, 89), Arfield, Vokes, Barnes (Treacy, 90+1)
Subs not used: Lafferty, Cisak, Wallace, Edgar, Long
Goals: Vokes, 47, Stanislas, 75
Doncaster: Johnstone, Quinn, Husband, Duffy (Robinson, 69), Brown, Sharp, Cotterill, Keegan (Furman, 82), Wellens, Meite, Coppinger
Subs not used: Turnbull, McCullough, De Val, Stevens, Ferguson
Booked: Meite, Duffy
Attendance: 12,325 (431 visiting)
Referee: T. Harrington