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Rodriguez and Pieters Off The Mark

Summer signings open their account in Barnfield friendlies

16 July 2019

Jay Rodriguez scored his first goals back in a Burnley shirt as the Clarets made the most of two training-ground games against League One opposition.

Rodriguez netted a brace against Accrington Stanley with strike partner Chris Wood bagging a hat-trick to make it four in two games.

And then after the Clarets swapped opposition at half time, summer signing Erik Pieters also scored his first goal as a Burnley player.

Pieters TR.jpg

Tranmere Rovers were also involved, with the two games allowing Burnley boss Sean Dyche to give most of his squad a full 90 minutes and an hour to midfielder David Jones to further top-up his fitness while he trains with the Clarets.

Newly-promoted Rovers ran out 3-2 winners, but not before Matej Vydra had also bagged a double to get himself up and running for pre-season.

The Clarets were in ruthless mood in the first half against Accrington as they rattled in six without reply, Rodriguez setting the ball rolling inside the first couple of minutes when he headed home an Ashley Westwood corner.

Westwood was at his creative best, with a string of excellent passes from the middle of the park unlocking the Stanley defence which Wood, in particular, thrived on.

Westwood AS.jpg

Wood’s opening goal was a classy finish lifted home from just inside the penalty area from Westwood’s floated pass over the top before Dwight McNeil got in on the act by drilling home the third.

Rodriguez – back at Turf Moor following his signing from West Bromwich Albion – doubled his tally when he opened up his body to rifle a shot into the top corner.

When Westwood threaded through another perfect pass Wood added the fifth and another measured finish from the New Zealander - who had scored from the penalty spot in Friday's warm-up win over Fulham in Portugal - made it 6-0 at the break.

Wood AS (2).jpg

That was the cue to swap the sides over as the Clarets introduced the team that had started against Tranmere.

And Vydra almost completed his own hat-trick after being played in by Robbie Brady.

But it didn’t take a long to add another goal as defender Jimmy Dunne – a League Two promotion winner during a loan spell at Stanley two seasons ago – joined in the attack to volley home from Vydra’s assist.

And not to be outdone, Pieters then matched his fellow full-back’s efforts with a thumping 20-yard strike to complete the scoring at 8-0 and claim his first goal since arriving from Stoke City.

Concurrently, on an adjacent pitch, Vydra had opened his account with a first-half double against last season’s League Two play-off winners.

Vydra TR.jpg

The striker was on target after only two minutes, sweeping the ball home following right back Dunne’s raking pass from inside his own half.

And midway through the half, Vydra coolly added his second.

Aaron Lennon – looking fit and strong following last season’s absence following knee surgery – was the architect, playing a slick one-two with Jeff Hendrick and sliding the ball between two defenders for the Czech international to again finish with aplomb.

Joe Hart, who had earlier saved well from Paul Mullin, again denied the Rovers striker with a fine save from a driven free-kick.

But eight minutes before the break, Mullin struck lucky at the third attempt, sweeping the ball home from a right-wing cross to halve the deficit.

And facing a new Clarets' 11 in the second half, the visitors – managed by ex-Claret Micky Mellon - levelled the game up within seven minutes of the restart.

Tom Heaton, getting his first action of pre-season, had done brilliantly to glove away an inswinging Calum Woods cross that evaded everyone and looked like sneaking in at the far post.

But the Clarets’ stopper had no chance in the 52nd minute after a loose ball bounced around in the Burnley box and was hooked home by Ishmael Miller.

Burnley upped the ante in search of the winner and after Wood failed to convert Ali Koiki’s low cross, Johann Berg Gudmundsson smacked a delightful free-kick off the face of the Rovers crossbar.

But with minutes remaining, Rovers completed the fightback when Connor Jennings raced onto a terrific through-ball to find the bottom corner.

BURNLEY v ACCRINGTON:

First half: Legzdins, Koiki, Long, Mee, Lowton, Gudmundsson, Westwood, Jones, McNeil, Rodriguez, Wood.

Second half: Pope, Dunne, Tarkowski, Gibson, Pieters, Lennon, Cork, Benson, Brady, Hendrick, Vydra.

BURNLEY v TRANMERE:

First half: Hart, Dunne, Tarkowski, Gibson, Pieters, Lennon, Cork, Benson, Brady, Hendrick, Vydra.

Second half: Heaton, Koiki, Long, Mee, Lowton, McNeil, Westwood, Jones (N’Guessan 65), Gudmundsson, Rodriguez, Wood.

 


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