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Match Reports

Southampton 0 Burnley 0

Clarets up and running thanks to classy performance at the coast

12 August 2018

The Clarets got their first Premier League point on the board but will wonder how it wasn’t three after an hour-long siege of St Mary’s.

Sean Dyche’s men dominated for long periods and created more than enough chances in an outstanding performance to have repeated their opening-day win at Chelsea a year ago.

But top-class goalkeeping from Alex McCarthy kept the Saints alive, while a marginal off-side call denied Jack Cork what would have been an early winner on his return to a former home.

Southampton hadn’t started a top-flight season with a home win since 1988-89 and the days they played at The Dell.

And the way the Clarets started did nothing to suggest that record was about to improve.

There was no sign of weariness following their return from Turkey in the early hours of Friday morning.

And with the return of fresh legs in the shape of Matt Lowton, Stephen Ward, Aaron Lennon and Chris Wood – Joe Hart retaining his place in goal – Dyche’s men were like greyhounds out the traps.

Some of their early football was outstanding to leave the Saints, who had won just one of their previous 11 home league games, rocking.

Former Southampton man Cork was unlucky not to be credited with an opening goal after just eight minutes when he was given off-side after converting a clever pass from Ashley Westwood when he looked in line with the last defender.

Alex McCarthy then denied Lennon with an outstanding block after Westwood hd sprung Burnley forward again.

And Johann Berg Gudmundsson was also close to breaking the deadlock on two occasions, clipping a free-kick onto the roof of the net and then seeing a shot blocked after being released by Cork at the end of another slick break-away.

Southampton’s only response was a flicked header from Mario Lemina which Hart touched over the bar.

Mark Hughes, whose appointment helped drag the Saints to safety with just a game to spare last season, must have been relieved to have got his side back in at the break still in the game after McCarthy saved his side again with a block with his legs to keep out a close-range Jeff Hendrick header in stoppage time.

The interval did nothing to stem the Clarets’ flow and five minutes into the second half they could have again gone in front.

A superb cross from Lowton was almost converted by both Wood and Gudmundsson and from the corner that followed, a shot on the turn from Ward would surely have found the net had it been either side of McCarthy.

And Hughes wasted no time in sending for Danny Ings to try and lift his side and the crowd as the former Burnley man was sent on for his debut along with fellow new boy Mohamed Elyounoussi.

But when Southampton did go close to scoring it came via a Burnley player, Mee getting knocked off balance from a corner and inadvertently mis-cueing a header which would have gone in but for Westwood’s clearance off the line.

The Saints did finally muster some pressure of their own and with just under 20 minutes to go Hart was seriously tested for the first time, getting down well to turn away a Jack Stephens’ effort at the far post and then grabbing a header from Lemina from the corner that followed.

Dyche then made a couple of changes himself in an effort to regain the initiative with Hendrick and Wood – who had both done well – making way for Sam Vokes and Ashley Barnes, who became the first Burnley player to make 100 Premier League appearances.

But with no real opportunity for Barnes to make it a milestone to remember, the Clarets had to settle for a point – repelling a late Southampton surge to see out the clean sheet thanks to a telling block on Elyounoussi by James Tarkowski which summed up the Clarets' determination not to leave without something to show for their efforts.

Southampton: McCarthy, Stephens, Vestergaard, Hoedt, Cedric (Elyounoussi 56), Romeu, Lemina, Bertrand, Armstrong (Ings 56), Austin (Gabbiadini 73), Redmond. Substitutes: Gunn, Ward-Prowse, Hojbjerg, Bednarek.

Burnley: Hart, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward, Gudmundsson (Taylor 87), Westwood, Cork, Lennon, Hendrick (Barnes 76), Wood (Vokes 73). Substitutes: Heaton, Gibson, Walters, Bardsley.

Booked: Cork

Referee: Graham Scott

Attendance: 30,784


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