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Match Reports

West Bromwich Albion 1 Burnley 2

Ashley Barnes wonder-goal sets up 100th win for Burnley boss Sean Dyche

31 March 2018

Sean Dyche clocked up a century of wins as Burnley manager as the Clarets cruised to a third successive Premier League victory and ended a near 50-year wait for success at the Hawthorns.

On another landmark day for the Burnley boss, there was also a footnote in Clarets’ history for Ashley Barnes as he became only the second player after Sam Vokes to score in four successive Premier League games.

The in-form striker also became the first Claret to score in four top-flight games in a row in the same season since John Murray in 1968.

And he could hardly have done it in more breath-taking fashion thanks to a flying first-half volley to give Burnley a half-time lead.

Chris Wood, the other half of Burnley’s deadly double act, then continued his own hot streak with a fourth goal in three games after 73 minutes to all but wrap up a sixth away win of the campaign as the Clarets continue to march on.

And although a late goal from Salomon Rondon prevented a 12th clean sheet of the campaign, it was not enough to stop Burnley’s momentum or do anything to help West Brom’s seemingly inevitable slide into the Championship.

The Clarets’ first-half performance was about as commanding as it’s possible to be on the road as they set up a first win at the Baggies since 1969.

Burnley controlled the game from the off as they kept the ball superbly in every area of the pitch to dictate the tempo and prevent the Baggies from getting any sort of foothold in the game.

That said, Nick Pope was forced to make the first save of the afternoon as he held a header from Rondon after Jay Rodriguez – given generous applause by the Burnley fans before kick-off – had teed up his strike partner.

But the league’s bottom club struggled to lay a glove on the visitors after that until a minute before the break when Rondon, who caused plenty of problems when Albion won this fixture 4-0 last season, met a ball from Jake Livermore with a downward header which Pope got down well to save.

The Clarets – switching back to 4-4-2 with Wood’s three goals in two appearances from the bench earning him a first start since December – were content to bide their time for an opening.

Ben Mee was the unlikely source of the Clarets’ first effort on target as the defender struck a sweet effort on the turn following a corner straight at Albion keeper Ben Foster.

But when Burnley did go 1-0 up it was no surprise to see Barnes get the goal.

The striker has been in the form of his life but can rarely have scored as spectacularly as this as he met Aaron Lennon’s cross with a flying overhead volley which he thumped into the top corner from near the penalty spot.

Barnes’ eighth goal of the season did little to improve the mood inside the Hawthorns.

And the home fans would have been further frustrated had Wood not dragged a shot wide with the chance to double the lead after he had been picked out by a fine pass from GK Nkoudou on the winger’s first start for the Clarets in place of the injured Johann Berg Gudmundsson.

West Brom boss Alan Pardew made a change at half-time as he matched up Burnley’s formation with Matty Phillips coming on to play wide on the right in front of a flat back four.

The move certainly helped the Baggies see more of the ball and when Phillips flashed over a cross form Burnley man Rodriguez headed over the top.

The Clarets were having to play more on the break as they looked for the insurance of a second goal and 20 minutes into the second half it almost came.

Lennon played a lovely one-two with Barnes before delivering a dangerous cross cleared only as far as Ashley Westwood, whose finish failed to match the quality of an outstanding performance as the former Aston Villa midfielder drilled a shot wide.

Barnes then shot wide as the Clarets got back on top and with 17 minutes to go it was 2-0 as Wood banked the points.

Jeff Hendrick, who had replaced Nkoudou, was involved in the build-up before Matt Lowton played a super ball into the feet of Wood.

The former Baggies’ forward jinked into the box and although Ben Foster saved his initial effort, the ball bounced up kindly for Wood to nod in the goal that keeps him one ahead of Barnes in the race to be top scorer.

West Brom looked a beaten side and as the lowest scorers in the division faced a seemingly impossible task to avoid becoming the first team to lose eight successive Premier League games.

But Rondon has been a shining light for the Midlanders in a season of gloom and when he steered home his ninth goal of the season with seven minutes to go following Jonny Evans’ ball into the box they had a glimmer of hope.

The Clarets suffered another scare moments later when Chris Brunt had the opportunity to convert a Phillips cross at the far post.

But Burnley had done enough to secure another magnificent away-day win and stay securely in seventh place in the table with seven games to go.

Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward, Lennon, Cork, Westwood, Nkoudou (Hendrick 69), Barnes, Wood (Vokes 77). Substitutes: Lindegaard, Taylor, Marney, Bardsley, Long.

Booked: Barnes, Cork, Pope

West Brom: Foster, Dawson, Evans, Hegazi, Nyom, Livermore, Yacob, Brunt, Gibbs (Phillips ht), Rodriguez (Burke 74), Rondon. Substitutes: Myhill, McClean, Gabr, Krychowiak, McAuley.

Booked: Yacob

Referee: Lee Probert

Attendance: 23,455

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