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Match Reports

Burnley 4 Bristol City 0

28 December 2015

Burnley 4 Bristol City 0

Andre Gray grabbed his first Football League hat-trick as Burnley saw out 2015 on a high with a 4-0 romp over Bristol City.

The Clarets scored four for the second successive home game thanks to Gray's right-foot treble and Scott Arfield's fourth of the season.

But the match-ball and the honours went to club record signing Gray, who effortlessly took his tally for the season to 15 just two days after being substituted at Hull City.

Sean Dyche made three changes, with Stephen Ward making his first start since the Capital One Cup tie at Port Vale in August. 

Ward's inclusion allowed Ben Mee to move to centre back, with Michael Duff rested as he dropped to the bench.

In midfield, David Jones and Michael Kightly came in for injured duo Dean Marney and George Boyd.
The trio of changes brought the Clarets a fresh lease of life, with the hosts enjoying an attacking opening to the half.

And Ward - who started his first league game of the season - was straight into the action, finding Gray on the penalty spot.

The forward cleverly teed up Arfield, but the winger’s half-volley was dragged wide.

Two ambitious long-range efforts from the visitors both sailed off target, before the Clarets were back in the ascendancy and a whisker away from the opener.

Sam Vokes’ flick on wonderfully played in his strike partner Gray, but the forward’s testing strike was deflected off Nathan Baker, onto the foot of the post.

And on the half hour mark the Clarets again smashed the woodwork!

This time Vokes played the ball square to Barton, and the experienced midfielder struck the crossbar with an audacious effort from fully 35-yards.  

The pressure was mounting, and the hosts finally broke down the retreating Robins 10 minutes before the break.

Kightly’s neat flick in the centre circle found Gray, who spun marker Aden Flint with a clever flick of his own to race clear.

And the former Brentford forward, who had already scored against City this season while at Griffin Park, was also perfect in his execution after cutting onto his right foot and clinically finding the bottom right corner. 

Gray - and the Clarets – then doubled their advantage with the final kick of the half!

Matt Lowton’s cross was half-cleared to David Jones at the edge of the box, who nodded on to Gray.

A lucky first touch from the prolific striker allowed him a shot on the swivel, and there was no doubt with the outcome as the ball nestled into the bottom corner.

The second half – unlike the first – was a slow burner, with Flint’s wild half-volley being the only effort of note in the opening 20 minutes of the half.

But midway through the second half, Steve Cotterill’s side had their first effort on target.

A rare error from Barton allowed Bristol’s danger man Jonathan Kodjia to break forward, but the striker selfishly ignored his teammates to fire a tame effort at the ever-alert Tom Heaton.

And the Clarets killed off any potential comeback with a third goal 20 minutes from time.

Vokes, again with the assist, wonderfully found Arfield to his left and the Scot, clear on goal, duly slotted past former Blackburn stopper Fielding.

And for the second home game running, the Clarets scored their fourth eight minutes later, as Gray sealed his third ever senior hat-trick, following two for then Conference side Luton Town.

Kightly this time played a sublime ball inside the full back to the overlapping Lowton down the right and the full-back cut the ball back expertly to Gray, who clinically found the bottom left corner with a volley form 12 yards.

The visitors almost grabbed a late consolation in stoppage time with two testing efforts.

Mee’s back pass to Heaton was short, and was chased down by Wes Burns, but the substitute’s delicate lob was cleared off the line by Keane.

Captain Aaron Wilbraham then struck the post in the dying minute, nodding onto the woodwork from a long throw into the mixer.

But the Clarets saw out the late attack, sealing their eighth clean sheet of the campaign and with plenty to look forward to in 2016.

BURNLEY: Heaton; Lowton, Mee, Keane, Ward; Arfield (Taylor 83), Jones, Barton (Ulvestad 81), Kightly; Gray (Hennings 81), Vokes. 
Subs: Gilks, Duff, Darikwa, C Long

Yellow: Jones 45’
Goals: Gray 37’, 45’, 78’, Arfield 71’

BRISTOL CITY: Fielding, Williams, Flint, Ayling, Smith, Bennett (Little 76), Freeman (Reid 81), Baker, Wilbraham, Pack, Kodjia (Burns 81). 
Subs: Cox, Moore, Bryan, O'Leary 

Yellow: Baker 32’

Ref: A Madley 
Attendance: 17,324 (372 away)

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