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Match Reports

Cardiff City 2-2 Burnley

28 November 2015

Cardiff City 2-2 Burnley

Two goals in the final five minutes capped a stunning fightback from the Clarets in the Welsh capital.

Rouwen Hennings’ first goal for the club in the 85th minute set up a grandstand finish after goals in each half from Aron Gunnarsson and Sean Morrison had given Burnley a mountain to climb.

The Clarets had felt hard done by at that stage after Matthew Connolly’s blatant hand ball in the penalty area to deny George Boyd, with the score still 0-0, incredibly went unpunished.

So perhaps there was an element of justice when Connolly inadvertently turned Michael Keane’s misdirected stoppage time header past his own goalkeeper to salvage a point.

And with Dean Marney returning to action for the first time in nine months, there were plenty of positives to take for Sean Dyche and his players.

Dyche chose to hand Chris Long a full debut for the Clarets, replacing Hennings in the starting line-up. 

But it was the hosts who started brightly and forced two smarts out of Tom Heaton in the opening 15 minutes.

First, former Claret Peter Whittingham found Kenwyne Jones with a testing delivery, but the striker’s glancing header was tipped wide by the Burnley captain.

Heaton also had to come to the Clarets rescue moments later, again tipping over from a powerful header.

The Bluebirds signed Tony Watt on loan from Charlton Athletic earlier in the week, and the striker impressed his new fans with a long solo run that ended with a dragged effort wide.

And as the hosts continued to press, the Clarets were thankful to Heaton again midway through the first half.

Craig Noone cut inside and his effort was deflected, spiralling the ball over Heaton, only for the former Cardiff goalkeeper to superbly tip over.

However, 10 minutes before the break it was the Clarets who had two golden chances, both from the feet of Boyd.

Scott Arfield fed in Andre Gray, who rounded David Marshall before squaring to Boyd at the edge of the box.

Then winger’s first time effort looked destined for the bottom corner, but a saving block on the line by last man Matthew Connolly denied the opener.

And a minute later, the Clarets looked to be denied a clear penalty.

Gray again crossed and following a half clearance, Boyd’s strike towards the top corner was clearly deflected wide by Connolly’s outstretched arm. 

However, despite vehement claims from all Burnley players and staff on the sidelines, referee Darren Drysdale awarded a goal kick!

And Cardiff compounded the Clarets’ misery five minutes with the opener.

Joe Ralls’ in swinging free-kick was met by Gunnarsson on the penalty spot, and the Icelandic midfielder cushioned a header past the sprawling Heaton, giving the hosts a one-goal lead going into the break.

After a couple of half chances for the Clarets before the hour mark, the Bluebirds then doubled their lead.

Whittingham’s floated corner from the right was delivered to the front post, and Morrison rose highest to nod in the simplest of finishes, 

Dyche then made all three changes with Matthew Taylor and Hennings introduced alongside Dean Marney, making his first appearance since February.

And Taylor almost gave the Clarets hope 15 minutes from time with a fizzing 30-yard free-kick, that was superbly stopped by Marshall, low to his left.

However, with five minutes to play it was game-on again as Hennings gave Burnley hope.

Gray found Boyd with a delightful ball down the left flank and the winger’s driven cross was superbly controlled by the German, who spun to find the bottom right corner.

And three minutes into the allotted extra four added-on, Burnley got their reward. 

Heaton’s free kick was only half cleared and the he ball was recycled to Marney, who found Keane with a dinked cross from the right.

The defender’s free header was floating harmlessly wide, taking with it Burnley’s last hope, but Connolly somehow got in a tangle and turned the ball home at the far post to extend Burnley’s unbeaten run to nine games. 

BURNLEY: Heaton, Darikwa, Keane, Duff, Mee, Arfield (Hennings 76), Barton, Jones (Marney 67), Boyd, Gray, Long (Taylor 56).
Subs: Gilks, Lowton, Kightly, Ward

Goals: Hennings 85’, Keane 93’

Cardiff: Marshall, Peltier, Morrison, Whittingham, Ralls, Jones (Macheda 89), Noone, Connolly, Gunnarsson (O’Keefe 67), Malone, Watt (Mason 61).
Subs: Ecuele Manga, Tamas, Moore, Kennedy.

Yellow: Whittingham 77’

Goals: Gunnarsson 41’, Morrison 61’

REF: D Drysdale

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