Ashley Barnes admitted he won’t forget his dramatic winner against Crystal Palace in a hurry after waiting 21 months for a goal.
Barnes came off the bench to give the Clarets a stunning 3-2 win over Crystal Palace as Sean Dyche’s men moved up to ninth in the Premier League.
The super-sub buried an excellent low cross from Johann Berg Gudmundsson as Burnley survived a thrilling fightback from Palace to secure a fourth league win of the season.
And for Barnes, it was a personal moment of triumph following a serious knee injury which kept him out for nine months before his comeback was interrupted in the summer by a hamstring injury sustained in a pre-season friendly at Bradford City.
A euphoric Barnes admitted: “It’s been long, long time but you look to the positive and you can only stay positive.
“It’s been tough but the only way is up. I was unfortunate to pick up the injury I did at Bradford and break down a few times in training but all that hard work has paid of for times like these.
“This is a feeling not to forget.”
Ashley Barnes' goal was his first since scoring against West Bromwich Albion in February, 2015
The Clarets were staring at an unwanted case of déjà vu after Palace hit back from 2-0 down in a repeat of the fixture two seasons ago.
The impressive duo of Sam Vokes and Johann Berg Gudmundsson had fired the Clarets into an early lead but Connor Wickham and a Christian Benteke penalty pulled the Eagles level as they looked to avoid a fourth straight defeat.
Palace went onto win it last time in a damaging result which undermined Burnley’s survival hopes.
But this time, Dyche’s men rallied superbly to grab a second successive late winning goal thanks to Barnes’ top-drawer finish which takes the Clarets into the international break in a healthy top-10 position.
“This look unbelievable,” added Barnes.
“This time around I feel like there’s something there. The spirit is even better around the place and this is our time to stay in the league.
“We will go again after the international break but it was a great win today to get us up the table.
“To get that win was massive. To get the two-goal lead at half-time was brilliant but they changed formation and they were just pinning us in a little bit
They got the two goals but luckily I’ve come off the bench and scored.”