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Match Reports

Burnley 1 Brighton 0

8 December 2018

The eye of the tiger returned as Burnley bounced back to winning ways with a gritty Turf Moor victory over Brighton.
 
James Tarkowski chested home Jack Cork’s shot in the 40th minute to settle a nervy encounter, as the Clarets gained their first win in nine attempts to leap out of the bottom three.
 
 
And a first win in nine against the Seagulls was ground out following a nervy finale that saw Albion force a flurry of corners and Joe Hart make a magnificent point-blank save to deny substitute Glenn Murray.
 
Unsurprisingly, Sean Dyche went with the same starting 11 that posed Liverpool plenty of problems in midweek.
 
Brighton, meanwhile, made four changes; two of them enforced due to Shane Duffy’s suspension and top scorer Murray, a doubt through injury, only being deemed fit enough for the bench.
 
The past five league meetings between the two sides had ended in draws, including two goalless encounters last season.
 
And the opening half hour of the game offered little to suggest this would not follow the same well-worn path.
 
 
Dyche would have wanted a similar, high-intensity start to the game as midweek, but only a marginal offside denied Chris Wood the chance to open the scoring.
 
At the other end, Hart, making his 400th appearance in English football, was a virtual spectator as the teams cancelled each other out.
 
On the half hour a speculative cross from Johann Berg Gudmundsson was met by Robbie Brady, whose volley sailed over the bar.
 
And that sparked Burnley into life, as soon after Bardsley’s neat ball into Ashley Barnes was slid into the path of strike partner Chris Wood, who forced the first save of the day from Mat Ryan at his near post.
 
 
From the resulting corner, the Albion keeper was in action again, getting down well to his left to gratefully hold Brady’s 25-yard skidder.
 
And five minutes before half time, the Clarets had their reward at the third time of asking.
 
Following a half cleared free kick, Westwood’s cross fell invitingly to Cork, whose on-target effort cannoned off the chest of Tarkowski and into the corner of goal for the defender’s third of the season.
 
 
The interval lead would have brought relief for the Clarets, and moments after the restart they were close to doubling their lead.
 
Brady’s persistence forced a mistake from Bruno near his own touchline and the Irishman’s perfect chip was taken off the head of Barnes at the back post by the faintest of flicks by the backtracking Lewis Dunk.
 
Bissouma was perhaps lucky to be given the benefit of the doubt soon after, when a high boot in his own area cleared the ball but also connected with Phil Bardsley’s head.
 
But the Clarets had certainly raised the tempo of the game and another good break instigated by Brady’s vision and Gudmundsson’s pace eventually saw Barnes’ shot blocked.
 
 
And after Tarkowski’s shot just after the hour deflected for a corner, the Clarets defender saw his flick header from Westwood’s resulting corner float agonisingly wide of the far post.
 
Albion boss Chris Hughton had seen enough as Burnley seized control, and a double substitution saw Murray and Jurgen Locadia replace Knockaert and Andone.
 
And Locadia spurned a golden chance to level matters eight minutes from time, finding room between the Clarets’ central defenders to meet Murray’s cross, but heading over to the relief of the home fans.
 
Suddenly, Albion sensed there might be a sting in the tail, and in a tense five minutes of added on time, they forced a flurry of corners that brought a last-gasp clearing header from man-of-the-match Tarkowski and a stunning match-winning stop from Hart, who somehow turned over Murray’s header from point-blank range.
 
 
BURNLEY: Hart, Taylor, Mee, Tarkowski, Bardsley, Brady, Cork, Westwood, Gudmundsson (Lennon 72), Wood, Barnes (Hendrick 85).
Subs: Heaton, Lowton, Vokes, Vydra, Long
 
Booked: Tarkowski, Bardsley
 
BRIGHTON: Ryan, Dunk, Bruno, Bissouma, Andone (Murray 64), Knockaert (Locadia 64), Gross (Stephens 79), Balogun, March, Propper, Bernardo.
Subs: Steele, Bong, Kayal, White.
 
Ref: M Atkinson
 
Att: 18,497 (750)
 

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