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Goal Hero Barnes Hails Massive Step

29 April 2017

Ashley Barnes hailed a “massive step” for the Clarets after helping put Crystal Palace to the sword for the second time this season.

Barnes came off the bench to score a late winner against the Eagles at Turf Moor in November to end a 19-month injury-hit wait for a goal.

And the striker repeated the dose with the opening goal in a magnificent 2-0 win at Selhurst Park, which gave Sean Dyche’s side their first double over the season courtesy of a long-awaited first away win to move eight points clear of the Premier League’s relegation places.

“You can see from the boys’ reaction it’s a massive win, on the road as well,” said an ecstatic Barnes, who made way late on for Andre Gray to come off the bench and seal the victory with his 10th goal of the season.

“We hadn’t picked up a win and to do it now, and the manner in which we did it, is credit to all the lads.

“It was a great performance from all the boys and they all deserve a pat on the back.

“We knew it was a massive, must-game win really. We know how tight it is at the bottom and that got us away a little bit. It felt a massive step but we can’t stop here.

“We know our business is not done yet. There are still games remaining. We need to see how high we can possibly go and finish off to the end of the season.”

Barnes’ goal, converted at the second attempt from a Stephen Ward cross, was the first Burnley had scored from open play away from Turf Moor since he netted at Anfield in early March.

Dyche’s men have since earned draws away to Sunderland and Middlesbrough and finally went one better with a first top-flight away win in London in 16 attempts – to the delight of another superb away following.

“It’s nice to get rid that burden for them and take it off our backs as well,” added Barnes.

“It’s another three points and we know we needed it. We go in to every game thinking we can get three but today was special.

“It’s special to get that first away win for the fans. They travel everywhere throughout the country and haven’t seen a win.

“We have only picked up a few draws, so this one meant a lot for the fans and to us as a group of players.”

Barnes has now drawn level with Danny Ings as Burnley’s leading Premier League scorer with 11 goals.

And Gray is only two behind after moving to nine league goals for the season with a typically explosive finish, five minutes after coming off the bench.

“We could see they were going for it and trying to get an equaliser and so we could see they were a bit open as well,” said Gray.

“It was a case of me trying to stay on the shoulder and get in behind them where those openings were and I managed to do that.

“Every striker wants to score more goals but it’s been about the team more than anything.

“We have struggled to get results away but we have played well. The main thing was getting three points and staying in the division and we’re nearly there now.”

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