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Match Reports

Stoke City 1 Burnley 1

Ashley Barnes strikes again as Clarets keep marching on

22 April 2018

Ashley Barnes’ remarkable scoring streak continued as the Clarets put another vital point on the board in their quest for Europe and pushed Stoke a step nearer the drop.

Barnes’ second-half equaliser made it six goals in eight games for the striker, whose predatory instincts have been vital in the Clarets’ push for a top-seven finish, which is getting closer by the game and which would now guarantee a slot in the Europa League.

Barnes bundled the ball home to cancel out an early strike from Badou Ndiaye with the goal that means Sean Dyche’s men have lost just one of their last six games away from Turf Moor.

A fourth successive top-flight away win since 1961 proved elusive but the Clarets – playing a second game in less than 72 hours – could barely have done any more in a magnificent second-half performance which keeps them surging towards the finishing line and Stoke looking anxiously over their shoulders at the prospect of Championship football.

Knowing that victory was almost imperative for their survival hopes, Stoke made the perfect start by going in front after just 10 minutes.

Ndiaye had never previously scored since his arrival from Galatasary in January but was in the right place at the right time to collect a lay-off from Mame Diouf and steer a low shot into the bottom corner via a slight deflection to take the ball away from Nick Pope.

There was no questioning the desire of Stoke to grab the lifeline on offer as they responded to the urgings of a vociferous home crowd.

But the Clarets stalled the momentum and lowered the volume around the Bet365 Stadium with a positive response.

Barnes curled an effort wide after a fine ball from Ashley Westwood had left the Clarets’ striker with the chance to run at home skipper Ryan Shawcross.

Westwood and Cork dominated possession in the middle of the pitch as they coaxed Burnley forward in a wide-open contest.

And when a typical driving run from Cork was ended with a trip 25 yards from goal, Johann Berg Gudmundsson – again excellent in getting Burnley on the attack – was a whisker away from an equaliser.

His curling free-kick was destined for the corner of the net before Jack Butland made an outstanding save to preserve a lead which Stoke could have doubled just before the break with an excellent chance for Diouf, which the former Blackburn Rovers forward wasted with a poor touch from Moritz Bauer’s cross.

If Burnley had seen plenty of the ball in the first half, they started the second camped in the Stoke half.

And again it took some brilliance from Butland to keep the Clarets out.

The England international touched over a Cork header from another Gudmundsson free-kick before making another plunging stop to keep out a James Tarkowski header from the corner that followed.

But even Butland couldn’t stem the tide forever and 17 minutes into the second half Burnley’s pressure paid off with a deserved equaliser from Barnes - who had struck the winner against Stoke last December which briefly lifted the Clarets into the Premier League's top four on a heady Turf Moor night.

Tarkowski was denied by another close-range block from Butland as he met a Westwood cross with a powerful header.

But as Butland tried to claw the ball away Barnes closed in and forced the ball over the line with his thigh in front of the celebrating travelling fans to move into double figures for the season.

With Stoke now needing to find a goal to keep alive their prospects of climbing out of the bottom three the tension went up a notch in tandem with the home side’s desperate attempt to create one more chance.

But Burnley stood strong as they balanced the desire to hang onto one point and the eagerness to try and take all three and place an even tighter grip on the European place put on offer by Southampton's exit from the FA Cup.

If anything the greater threat came from the Clarets on the break, although with two minutes to go the stadium held its collective breath as Stoke substitute Stephen Ireland curled a shot against the outside of a post.

But in a dramatic finish the Clarets were just as close to a winner as the magnificent Gudmundsson did everything but score.

Butland first thwarted the Icelander with a flying save before Gudmundsson twice measured efforts he rolled only inches wide as Burnley extended their remarkable season-long run of away form.

Stoke City: Butland, Johnson (Zouma 59), Martins Indi, Shawcross, Pieters, Shaqiri, Allen, Ndiaye, Bauer (Ireland 69), Diouf (Campbell 74), Crouch. Substitutes: Haugaard, Cameron, Fletcher, Ramadan.

Booked: Pieters, Ndiaye

Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Long, Tarkowski, Ward, Lennon (Hendrick 78), Cork, Westwood, Gudmundsson, Barnes (Vokes 74), Wood. Substitutes: Heaton, Taylor, Marney, Walters, Bardsley.

Booked: Barnes

Referee: Mike Dean

Attendance: 29,532

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