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REPORT: Burnley 3 Bournemouth 0

It's a VAR day at Turf Moor as rampant Clarets keep climbing

22 February 2020

It was a VAR day at Turf Moor – Vydra and Rodriguez, with a bit of boy wonder Dwight McNeil thrown in!

Matej Vydra and Jay Rodriguez got the opening two goals as the Clarets set up a fourth win in five games to climb up to eighth place in the Premier League.

But the technology of VAR also played a part in effectively disallowing two Bournemouth goals and awarding Rodriguez the penalty which preceded McNeil’s magnificent finale to a manic second half as Sean Dyche’s men turned on the style.

The Cherries might have left feeling sour but there was no disputing the quality of the Clarets’ attacking play once Vydra had put them in front to continue his remarkable revival.

Bournemouth were blown away late on as they chased the game as Burnley played in a manner befitting Championship winner Brian Pilkington, whose recent death was observed with a minute’s applause before kick-off.

Matej Vydra goal 1.jpg

A left-winger in Burnley’s greatest team, he set quite a standard. In McNeil the Clarets have a worthy successor and also a team giving the current generation of supporters plenty to like as they continue to leave the relegation struggle behind and make their mark at the other end of the table.

Nobody in the division had lost more away games this season than Bournemouth during their struggle to pull clear of the drop zone.

But a win at Chelsea in December, punctuating a run of seven defeats on their travels, showed what they have in their locker.

And the Cherries will have been disappointed not to have led at the end of a wide-open first half.

Inside the opening few minutes it needed an excellent piece of defending from Phil Bardsley on his 50th league appearance for the Clarets and a superb save with his legs by Nick Pope from Callum Wilson’s volley to stop the visitors going in front.

And they thought they had grabbed the all-important opening goal with 20 minutes gone when the lively Josh King turned the ball in from close range after Philip Billing had helped on an Andrew Surman corner.

Rodriguez goal celebration.jpg

Billing knew little about it as the ball flashed over Ben Mee’s head but with the ball striking the upper part of his arm, VAR stepped in to disallow the goal.

Stung by that disappointment, Bournemouth had another chance just moments later but again Pope came to the Clarets’ rescue, palming away a header from Harry Wilson from a King delivery which he repeated later in the half to give Jack Stacey a shooting opportunity he struck too close to the Burnley keeper.

The Clarets struggled at times to keep the fluid visitors at bay but also enjoyed moments of superiority themselves, with Bournemouth goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale another central character.

Dyche had made one change to the side that started last weekend’s win at Southampton with match-winner Vydra earning his first Premier League start since November, 2018 in place of the injured Chris Wood.

And it was Vydra – whose previous goal had come against Bournemouth 17 months earlier – who again looked the most likely scorer.

He may have been fractionally offside when running onto a Charlie Taylor pass for an early chance Ramsdale – who also grabbed a fizzing Jack Cork volley at the second attempt – did well to keep out.

McNeil shot.jpg

But he was certainly on-side when Simon Francis inadvertently flicked on a Bee Mee pass from the back which gave Vydra a run at goal only stopped by Ramsdale’s fine save as he intercepted the attempted lobbed finish with his finger tips.

And the revitalised Czech wouldn’t be denied when his persistence paid off to put Burnley ahead eight minutes into an explosive second half.

This time Dwight McNeil helped the ball into the path of Vydra and again he dropped a shoulder to go inside Francis before clipping a lovely finish over Ramsdale to celebrate his first Turf Moor goal since scoring against the Cherries in September, 2018.

But if that was dramatic it was nothing compared with what was to follow in a mad few minutes which saw the Clarets seemingly concede an equaliser before doubling their lead.

Again VAR was key to the plot and – frustratingly for Bournemouth – again got it right with a handball decision.

Adam Smith undoubtedly controlled a swirling McNeil cross with an arm but with no decision immediately forthcoming the visitors broke away to catch the Clarets out and work an opening for Harry Wilson which he tucked under Pope.

Bournemouth goal disallowed.jpg

The celebrations were short-lived, however, as a VAR check took the game back up the other end for a belated penalty decision which gave Rodriguez his eighth goal of the season - and second against Bournemouth following his winner at the Vitality Stadium in December - as he kept his composure to ride out a lengthy weight and plenty of backchat to calmly slot home.

Bournemouth’s goalkeeping coach Neil Moss was sent from the bench as frustrations boiled over and things could have got worse for the Cherries but for some more outstanding goalkeeping from the impressive Ramsdale.

Firstly, the 21-year-old kept out a Rodriguez volley and then made a brilliant close-range stop from the Clarets’ striker after he had been played in by McNeil’s exquisite square pass.

Vydra almost claimed his second goal as well, prodding the ball wide at full stretch from a Westwood pass as the Clarets went for the kill.

Only a coat of paint denied McNeil a sensational third as the winger – who produced another magical second half – curled a shot around Ramsdale but back out off the inside of the post eight minutes from the end of a crazy afternoon which hadn’t quite finished.

There was still time for McNeil to leave his mark, however, and he did it in style with a first goal since October, running at a battered Bournemouth defence one more time before rifling a left foot shot past England Under-21 tean-mate Ramsdale from 22 yards. Pilkington would have been proud.

Burnley: Pope; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Hendrick, Westwood, Cork (Brownhill 90), McNeil (Brady 90); Vydra (Lennon 83), Rodriguez. Substitutes: Hart, Gudmundsson, Pieters, Long.

Booked: Bardsley, Mee, Hendrick, Lennon.

Bournemouth: Ramsdale; Stacey, Francis, S Cook, Smith; Billing, Surman, Gosling (Fraser 71); H Wilson (Solanke 76), C Wilson, King (Stanislas 71). Substitutes: Boruc, L Cook, Rico, Simpson.

Booked: Francis, Smith, Cook

Referee: Mike Dean

Attendance: 18,277


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