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Match Reports

Burnley 1 Crystal Palace 3

Second successive defeat leaves Clarets with work to do as Palace take points

2 March 2019

A first home defeat since Boxing Day further slowed the Clarets’ momentum as Crystal Palace took the chance to close in on Premier League safety.

The sides started the day level on points, but while Burnley still have work to do to keep the bottom three at arm’s length, Palace can continue to breath more easily thanks to a sixth away win of the season.

The margin of victory might have been flattering as Palace won with a Phil Bardsley own-goal and second-half efforts from Michy Batshuayi and Wilfried Zaha with two of their first three shots on target.

But while Sean Dyche’s men had no shortage of possession or territorial advantage they couldn’t make it count on a frustrating afternoon.

And the Clarets could have no complaints at a second defeat in a row as they didn’t test Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey enough until the dying moments when Ashley Barnes reduced the deficit and Peter Crouch was denied his first Burnley goal by a fine save from the Wales international.

Palace’s away record is better than that at Selhurst Park – where they beat the Clarets at the start of December during Burnley’s mid-winter struggles.

Dyche’s side is currently a different proposition but still fell behind from the visitors’ first meaningful attack with a quarter of an hour gone.

There was a huge of slice of luck needed, however, for Palace to extend their scoring record away from home to a ninth successive game.

Zaha’s burst of pace opened the door but when Jeffrey Schlupp retrieved his low cross with a ball back into the middle, Clarets full-back Bardsley could do nothing about the deflection that put it past Tom Heaton and into his own net.

Heaton was a virtual spectator for the remainder of the half as the Clarets staged an impressive response.

But for all their pressure, Burnley – with a well-again Ashley Westwood back to pull the strings in central midfield as Johann Berg Gudmundsson reverted to an initial seat on the bench – couldn’t find an equaliser before the break.

Chris Wood had the best chance from Barnes’ neat lay-off, but Hennessey stood up well to make a decent block with his right arm.

Barnes then dragged a shot wide after Jack Cork had won another tackle to keep Burnley moving forward as they spent a period camped outside the visitors’ penalty area.

And Jeff Hendrick then saw an effort blocked following a barn-storming run down the left from Charlie Taylor as Palace soaked up the spell of pressure.

With a need to sharpen the Clarets’ cutting edge, Dyche sent on Gudmundsson at the start of the second half.

But the Icelander had barely had chance to get a touch when Palace doubled their lead with their first real chance, on-loan Chelsea striker Batshuayi wrapping his foot around a low cross from Aaron Wan-Bissaka got forward to score with an excellent first-time finish.

With Newcastle the only side in the bottom half of the table to have conceded fewer goals than Palace’s back line, that left the Clarets facing a major task to get back into the contest.

The outstretched leg of Scott Dann stopped Barnes potentially pulling one back after Wood had nodded a Cork cross back across goal.

And Barnes also hooked a volley wide after Hennessey failed to deal with an up-and-under from Bardsley.

But Palace know how to defend under ex-England boss Roy Hodgson, with only three sides in the division boasting more than their nine clean sheets, and whenever Burnley put the ball in the box inevitably there was a white shirt in the way.

The Eagles then had a great chance to add a third as a wind-assisted long ball forward from Wan-Bissaka carried all the way through to Batshuayi who knocked the ball past Heaton but straight out of play.

That proved to be just a short-lived reprieve for the Clarets, though, as Palace put the game beyond Burnley’s reach by adding to their lead 15 minutes from the end.

Again, the Clarets were stretched on the break and even though they alleviated the immediate danger, Palace re-cycled the ball for Zaha’s dancing feet to create the space for a shot he drilled low through a crowd of players and past Heaton.

Barnes did pull a goal back with a minute to go when he headed home a Westwood cross to move into double figures for the season.

And had the finger tips of Hennessey not kept out a shot on the turn from substitute Peter Crouch with the best part of five minutes of added time to go, an unlikely comeback might have been on the cards.

But it was a case of too little, too late for the Clarets, who slipped a place to 16th in the table but still five points clear of the relegation places with nine games to go.

Burnley: Heaton; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Hendrick (Gudmundsson HT), Westwood, Cork, McNeil (Brady 72); Barnes, Wood (Crouch 81). Substitutes: Lowton, Gibson, Vydra, Hart.

Booked: Mee

Crystal Palace: Hennessey; Wan-Bissaka, Dann, Tomkins, Van Aanholt; Meyer (McArthur 71), Kouyate, Milivojevic, Schlupp, Batshuayi (Benteke 83), Zaha (Townsend 78). Substitutes: Ward, Kelly, Ayew, Guaita.

Booked: Tomkins

Referee: Lee Probert

Attendance: 19,233

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