Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Match Reports

Stoke City v Burnley

3 December 2016

Stoke City 2 Burnley 0

Two first-half goals kept Burnley waiting for an opening away win as Stoke rode out an attempted fightback to condemn the Clarets to a third successive league defeat.

The in-form Potters scored twice in the space of 15 minutes during their best spell of the match as they looked to avoid a repeat of the victory Burnley enjoyed here in their last Premier League campaign two years ago.

First goals of the season from Jonathan Walters and Marc Muniesa made that look a distance prospect with only 35 minutes gone.

But Burnley then mounted a spirited response and dominated much of the final hour as they looked to break their duck.

Again a lack of goals proved costly but boss Sean Dyche will take heart from a performance that showed Burnley will not just accept their fate away from Turf Moor as they battle to keep putting points on the board.

Dyche made four changes to his starting  line-up in a bid to shake up the Clarets' away form.

Jon Flanagan, Scott Arfield, Andre Gray and Ashley Barnes all came in as Burnley reverted to a 4-4-2 formation with Barnes and Gray partnered together in attack for the first time this season.

And the re-shuffled side produced a positive start as the Clarets made the early running, forcing Stoke into errors and dominating possession.

Arfield, back in the side in place of the injured Johann Berg Gudmundsson, went close with an early free-kick which was deflected just wide, possibly off the hand of Muniesa.

And Gray, starting for the first time since Burnley's 0-0 draw at Manchester United at the end of August, had a sight of goal after linking up with Barnes but sliced his effort wide.

Stoke had struggled to get out of their own half but missed a chance to take a ninth-minute lead when Bruno Martins Indi headed against a post following a corner.

And that triggered Mark Hughes' side - beaten just once in eight games - into life as they gradually began to take control.

But their opening goal still came from their initial effort on target with 19 minutes gone as Burnley's back line was opened up for the first time.

Mame Diouf's one-two with Xherdan Shaqiri gave Diouf the space to clip in a low cross which by-passed Ben Mee and allowed Walters to loop the ball into the far corner with a clever flick to give the Stoke captain his first goal since March.

Mee then blocked a goalbound effort from Marko Arnautoivic and, shortly after Burnley's bench was angered by Stoke's decision not to return the ball after being handed a throw-in following a knock to Charlie Adam, the Potters went 2-0 up.

Again it was well worked with the damage this time coming down the left flank as Arnautoivic gave Flanagan the slip and pulled the ball back for Muniesa to arrive un-checked in the penalty area and volley home his first goal in the Premier League.

Having not scored a goal from open play away from home so far this season, it suddenly looked a long way back for the Clarets.


But the response was impressive as Dyche's men created chances to get back into the game either side of the break.

Jeff Hendrick was denied by former Derby team-mate and ex-Burnley keeper Lee Grant as he ran onto a Stephen Ward flick before Grant touched over a snap-shot from Barnes two minutes after the re-start.

Gray then began to stretch the Stoke defence, getting pulled back by Muniesa as he looked to go clear with referee Mark Clattenburg only penalising the Stoke defender with a yellow card.

But that did set the tone for the second half as the Clarets continued to take the fight to Stoke with a far more energised, purposeful performance which made the home side scrap all the way for the points.

Critically, though, Burnley were unable to force the goal that would have asked further questions of the hosts, who twice had chances on the break for substitute Joe Allen, who was unable to beat Paul Robinson.

A better touch from Arfield from Hendrick's flighted pass might have brought an opening and with 15 minutes to go, Dyche sent on Sam Vokes to add further attacking presence.

And with Burnley getting more bodies into the Stoke box they finally found a route to goal with seven minutes to go.

Hendrick's touch set up Gray for an angled drive which the striker hit well but which he couldn't direct beyond Grant, who made a fine saving diving to his right to kill off any hopes of a successful comeback for his former club.

Burnley: Robinson; Flanagan (Tarkowski 81), Keane, Mee, Ward, Boyd, Marney, Hendrick, Arfield (Kightly 90), Gray, Barnes. Substitutes: Pope, Lowton, Bamford, Defour.

Stoke: Grant, Pieters, Muniesa, Johnson, Arnautovic (Crouch 71), Martins Indi, Adam (Whelan 87), Diouf, Walters, Imbula, Shaqiri (Allen 61). Substitutes: Given, Bony, Bojan, Ramadan.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg.

Advertisement block