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Match Reports

Newcastle Utd 2 Burnley 0

Two first-half goals hand Clarets first Premier League defeat of 2019

26 February 2019

On the warmest winter’s day on record, the Clarets lost away from home for the first time since the week before Christmas. It’s been that long.

A fifth successive away game without defeat in the top flight for the first time in 53 years therefore eluded them as Burnley’s unbeaten Premier League run ended at eight matches.

It was great while it lasted, and the benefit is a place six points above the relegation zone before Southampton play on Wednesday night.

Should the Saints win it will remain at five, even though Newcastle pushed Sean Dyche’s side a place down the table to 15th thanks to a fourth successive home win secured by first-half goals from Fabian Schar and Sean Longstaff.

The frustrating thing from a Burnley point of view was that Rafael Benitez’s side needed to do no more than that to continue their recent progress as they kept the Clarets at arm’s length.

Two missed chances just before the break were the nearest Burnley came to getting something out of the contest.

But after the recent endeavours they have put in, peaking with last Saturday’s win over title-chasing Tottenham, Dyche’s men could be excused a low-key performance before they re-group ready to go again against Crystal Palace next weekend.

The enforced absence of Ashley Westwood through illness brought a change to the Clarets’ winning formula as Johann Berg Gudmundsson returned to start his first game since early January, with Jeff Hendrick moving inside from the right flank.

And both had a containing job to do in a cagey opening which saw Newcastle enjoy most of the possession without really threatening.

But just as it looked as though the Clarets may be feeling their way into the contest, the home side struck out of the blue.

Central defender Schar had scored twice in a win over Cardiff which had launched United’s winning home run last month but it’s fair to say the Swiss international may never have hit a sweeter shot than the angled 30-yard drive he crashed in off the inside of a post to make it 1-0.

The Clarets responded with an acrobatic effort from top scorer Chris Wood, whose airborne volley following a corner was well saved by Martin Dubravka.

But crucially, Newcastle were able to double their lead seven minutes before half-time to get clear daylight.

Matt Ritchie had been a problem for the visitors all night with the space he found down Newcastle’s left side.

And although his latest cross was flicked off the head of Salomon Rondon by Ben Mee, homegrown midfielder Longstaff was unchecked as he collected the loose ball to drive home on the volley and claim his first Premier League goal.

The Clarets needed a reply and almost got it with an effort from Gudmundsson, arguably fouled by Ritchie as he looked to get onto an Ashley Barnes knock-down, whose first-time effort flew well wide of the target from 10 yards.

And a minute before half-time Barnes created another opening with a header beyond United’s back line to James Tarkowski, who should have done better with a volley in front of goal when he might have swung the balance Burnley’s way.

Dyche wasted no time in making a change to try and sustain some momentum as Robbie Brady replaced Dwight McNeil at the start of the second half.

The Clarets certainly looked brighter but seven minutes after the break Newcastle had the chance to put the game beyond Burnley and give Miguel Almiron his big moment on his second start for the Tynesiders.

A ball over the top from Ayoze Perez gave Almiron a run at goal but Newcastle’s new record buy never really looked like getting the better of Tom Heaton, who stood tall to deflect his effort wide.

But the Clarets’ threat was also beginning to peter out and with just 20 minutes to go Peter Crouch was sent on to try and offer something different.

Newcastle looked leg weary after their recent efforts and a goal for the Clarets may well have had them hanging on.

Crouch did his best, nodding down a corner for fellow substitute Matej Vydra to go close with an effort on the turn which was blocked by Dubravka.

But with no sustained head of stream and a succession of late stoppages disrupting play, there was no real promise of a Clarets comeback and the prospect of staving off a first defeat of 2019.

Newcastle: Dubravka; Schar, Lascelles, Lejeune; Manquillo, Hayden, Longstaff (Diame 84), Ritchie; Perez (Joselu 87), Almiron (Dummett 80); Rondon. Substitutes: Ki, Yedlin, Darlow, Atsu.

Booked: Longstaff

Burnley: Heaton; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Gudmundsson, Cork, Hendrick, McNeil (Brady HT); Barnes (Crouch 70), Wood (Vydra 83). Substitutes: Lowton, Gibson, Hart, Ward.

Booked: Hendrick, Crouch, Mee.

Referee: Craig Pawson

Attendance: 48,323


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