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REPORT: Watford 0 Burnley 3

Clinical Clarets match biggest win of the season with first away success

23 November 2019

Watford were forced to accept history of an unwanted kind as the Clarets dug deep before romping to their first away win of the season.

Second-half goals from the deadly duo of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes – who both claimed their sixth goals of the campaign – and James Tarkowski’s late effort extended the Hornets’ winless home run to a record 11 games.

It was a more welcome first for the Clarets, who also recorded their first clean sheet away from Turf Moor in 13 attempts.

That also came at Vicarage Road in January as Sean Dyche’s men were mounting last season’s great escape.

This time around they are in more comfortable territory and after back-to-back wins for the first time climbed into the top six with the kind of ‘over-my-dead body’ performance – combined with a lethal cutting edge from set-pieces - that has underlined their recent success. 

Wood goal PA.jpg

The Clarets, unsurprisingly, were unchanged following their win over West Ham ahead of an international break which had brought a first England start for goalkeeper Nick Pope.

And the Clarets’ number-one continued his fine start to the season with two vital saves which kept the scoreline blank in a niggly first half short on chances.

The best came Watford’s way after 17 minutes following a slip by Tarkowski which allowed Gerard Deulofeu a run at goal.

The former Barcelona man had scored to set Watford on their way to a first win of the season at Norwich a fortnight ago, but he was unable to repeat the feat as Pope stood big to make a trademark save with his right foot.

Deulofeu – partnered up front by Andre Gray on the former Burnley man’s return to the starting line-up – carried the Hornets’ major threat and following one typical burst into the box Ben Mee blocked a shot which required a quick VAR to check to confirm the Clarets’ skipper had taken the ball in the chest.

Barnes penalty.jpg

And deep into five minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half Deulofeu was again denied by Pope from a free-kick he had earned himself which was bottom-corner bound until Pope went full stretch to palm the ball away.

It had been backs-to-the-wall stuff in the minutes either side of the break but eight minutes into the second half the Clarets broke free of the shackles to grab the lead.

And again, it was Burnley’s threat from set-pieces which paid off.

Only an excellent defensive header from Adrian Mariappa had denied Mee at the expense of a second corner.

And when that was delivered deep by McNeil in a well-rehearsed routine, Tarkowski nodded the ball back via the top of Jose Holebas’s header for Wood to cleverly hook a volley into the top corner to make it six goals in six games.

There was a moment of danger at the other end as Watford wasted another free-kick, given for a challenge by Tarkowski when the Clarets’ defender seemingly cleanly won the ball – Ashley Westwood collecting a booking for his complaints which earn the midfield man a one-match ban.

Tarkowski goal reverse.jpg

But the Clarets then had a chance to put themselves in clear water as McNeil worked the ball through to Jeff Hendrick who worked the space for a shot which he put too close to Ben Foster.

If Watford had a let-off then, their escape with 12 minutes to go was even more dramatic as Jay Rodriguez almost scored a superb goal with virtually his first touch after coming off the bench.

Rodriguez’s determination to chase down a long kick from Pope saw him get there before Craig Cathcart and with a first-time lob he lifted the ball over Foster but against the bar.

The wait didn’t go on for long for the Clarets to double their lead, though, as Barnes was awarded a penalty – only Burnley’s third in 94 Premier League games – via VAR’s intervention after he had been kicked by Holebas.

Pope save.jpg

The striker picked himself up to take it and even though Foster pushed his effort onto the inside of a post, Barnes’ strike had enough power to take the ball over the line to stay level with Wood in the goal stakes.

A tough afternoon had ended well and there was even time for Tarkowski to grab his first goal of the season at the second attempt as he rammed the ball home following a Westwood free-kick to make it an emphatic first away success – the magnificent Pope ensuring his fifth clean sheet in 13 games with a finger-tip onto the bar from the luckless Deulofeu. 

Burnley: Pope; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Hendrick, Cork, Westwood, McNeil; Wood (Rodriguez 75), Barnes. Substitutes: Hart, Lowton, Brady, Gibson, Pieters, Lennon.

Booked: Mee, Tarkowski, Westwood.

Watford: Foster; Mariappa, Dawson (Masina 45), Cathcart; Capoue; Femenia, Doucoure, Hughes (Sarr 67), Holebas; Deulofeu, Gray (Deeney 56). Substitutes: Gomes, Chalobah, Dele-Bashiru, Foulquier.

Booked: Gray

Referee: Paul Tierney

Attendance: 19,711


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