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REPORT: Southampton 1 Burnley 2

Clarets weather the storm as super-sub Vydra bags special winner

15 February 2020

Not even Storm Dennis could blow the Clarets off course as Matej Vydra proved the hero of the hour.

Vydra hadn’t found the net since September, 2018 but came off the bench to score a stunning winner which lifted Burnley into the top half of the table on the back of a third victory in four games.

The Czech international has had a lean time of it as the fourth man in the striking pecking order.

But with Ashley Barnes not yet fully recovered from hernia surgery and Chris Wood succumbing to an early injury he was needed at wind and rain-lashed St Mary’s Stadium.

And cometh the hour, cometh the man as Vydra crashed home an unstoppable volley with 60 minutes gone to stop Danny Ings taking the headlines and keep the Clarets’ remarkable recovery going with a first double over the Saints since 1947.

Vydra Lennon cele.jpg

With former players of both clubs facing their ex-employers it seemed inevitable at least one would play a key part.

And it was Ings who was the centre of attention at both ends with a hand in a goal for each side in the opening 20 minutes.

His first contribution will be one he will want to forget as he allowed the Clarets to score their earliest ever goal as a Premier League club.

Only 93 seconds had gone when the former Burnley striker seemingly lost his bearings and allowed an Ashley Westwood corner to by-pass him at the near post and cross the line before goalkeeper Alex McCarthy was able to clear.

For the side with the worst home record in the division it was a disastrous start.

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But it didn’t take long for Ings to make amends with a top-class finish to level the scores as Burnley saw their advantage wiped out.

The Clarets – who had threatened through ex-Saints man Jay Rodriguez’s header moments earlier – will be disappointed they didn’t clear the danger when Ings’ attempted link-up with Sofiane Boufal was intercepted.

And Ings needed no second invitation when regaining possession to curl a low strike into the corner from 20 yards to claim his 15th league goal of the season – his highest return since helping fire the Clarets to promotion to the top-flight in 2014.

The Clarets – whose one change to the starting line-up saw Phil Bardsley return for the injured Matt Lowton – were forced to re-group further with top scorer Chris Wood limping off to be replaced by Vydra for his first extended run of the season.

Vydra might also had a chance of a first goal had he been allowed to run onto a Westwood through-ball, rather than Jeff Hendrick who started from an off-side position.

Westwood goal cele.jpg

But it was the Saints who went closest to grabbing a half-time lead through defender Jack Stephens, whose glancing header from a Boufal cross came back off the Burnley bar.

The blustery conditions did little to help the flow and as the weather worsened at the start of the second half neither side was able to impose a grip.

But on a day when quality was hard to produce, Vydra suddenly blew away the storm clouds with a flash of inspiration.

This time the Clarets kept the ball long enough to work an opening as Hendrick picked out Vydra on the edge of the penalty area.

The Czech still had plenty to do but after chesting the ball down he showed the composure to lift the ball around debutant Kyle Walker-Peters before lashing a left-foot volley into the top corner to get off the mark for the season.

The reaction of his team-mates showed the affection in which he is held as Vydra celebrated only his third goal in a Burnley shirt.

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And even more importantly it proved to be the winner as the Clarets impressively held out to secure a fourth away win.

They had chances to make the final few minutes more comfortable in a dominant spell and Rodriguez was denied a goal on his return by McCarthy’s parry.

But with Pope equally imposing to deny Pierre-Emile Hoesjbjerg and Ben Mee – outstanding at the back alongside James Tarkowski and his back-four colleagues – surviving a VAR check for handball, Sean Dyche’s men got over the line to move ever closer to another season in the top tier.

Southampton: McCarthy; Walker-Peters (Obafemi 73), Stephens, Vestergaard, Bertrand; Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Hojberg, Boufal (Djenepo 37); Long (Adams 86), Ings. Substitutes: Gunn, Romeu, Smallbone, Bednarek.

Booked: Vestergaard, Obafemi

Burnley: Pope; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Hendrick, Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Rodriguez, Wood (Vydra 21). Substitutes: Hart, Brownhill, Brady, Pieters, Lennon, Long.

Booked: Hendrick, Mee

Referee: Simon Hooper


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