The Clarets get in the festive mood, as our seasonal review continues through December and January
Burnley entered the New Year just outside the automatic promotion places as they stayed close to the Championship pace-setters.
The Clarets proved hard to beat throughout December, a month they conceded just 0.5 a goal per game!
Two home clean sheets against Watford and Barnsley were topped off by a lovely Michael Kightly curling winning goal against the Tykes that sent Burnley back into the summit of the division.
A week later, the Clarets came from a goal behind to register a precious point against eventual Champions Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. Danny Ings scored his 12th league goal of the season as another top-of-the-table clash ended in a stalemate.
Just before Christmas, Blackpool arrived at Turf Moor for a Lancashire derby that promised much as the Seasiders were then looking to challenge for a top-six finish. And the game proved a good spectacle which Burnley finished on top thanks to two brilliant goals. First, Ings found himself on the end of a cracking set-piece routine to give the Clarets an early lead before a lovely strike by Scott Arfield from the corner of the box just after the break gave Sean Dyche’s team a 2-1 win.
A narrow, 1-0 Boxing Day defeat at the Riverside against Middlesbrough followed, but Burnley still managed to end 2013 with a well-earned goalless draw against FA Cup holders Wigan Athletic where the Clarets sold out their away allocation of nearly 5,000.
This would become a regular event as the season progressed.
Burnley then made a perfect start to the New Year, with a 3-2 victory against Huddersfield Town. Ings scored the first goal at Turf Moor in 2014, not his only one on the day, before Kieran Trippier netted his first home league goal for Burnley when the right-back found himself the furthest man forward for the Clarets. Even a double from one of ex-promotion heroes Martin Paterson was not enough to give the Yorkshire side any points on the day.
Perhaps one of the best performances of the season came on the very first weekend of the year when Dyche’s men ran Premier League surprise package Southampton extremely close in a third round FA Cup tie down at St Mary’s. ‘Vings’ were both on target as Burnley came from two goals down to level the score before a goal by a certain Jay Rodriguez sent the Saints on their way to a 4-3 victory in a high-scoring match. Kevin Long was also on the scoresheet netting his first goal for the Clarets.
Burnley then completed a double over Yeovil Town with a 2-1 win at their first-ever visit to Huish Park where, unsurprisingly, Ings and Vokes both scored again, the former with a stunning strike from outside the box. A harsh home 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday, who have not lost at Turf Moor this century, followed before another, this time goalless, stalemate against Brighton and Hove Albion. Both Tom Heaton and his vis-à-vis Tomasz Kuszczak made outstanding saves on the night. However, the Clarets ended January unbeaten in the league and that was not going to change for nearly the full two following months.
Meanwhile, Burnley also paid a fee for their first signing since Dyche arrived at the club back in October 2012. Ashley Barnes arrived from Brighton to provide competition for Ings and Vokes and – in his words – send the team to the Premier League. He would go on to make a very famous contribution come the business end of the campaign.