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Match Reports

REPORT: Newcastle Utd 0 Burnley 0

Clarets dig deep as Pope keeps it clean again in front of watching England boss

29 February 2020

The Clarets extended their unbeaten Premier League run to six games as goalkeeper Nick Pope racked up another clean sheet in front of watching England boss Gareth Southgate.

In truth, Pope has had more demanding games in reaching 11 shut-outs for the season – the highest figure for an individual keeper in the top tier.

But he was still a model of calmness and serenity as he stood tall to extend Newcastle’s goal drought and make it three games without defeat on the road for the Clarets, who moved up to ninth in the table.

The big ‘leap’ to 40 points didn’t quite materalise on the year’s extra day.

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But another notch up the ladder was still a welcome one as Burnley’s mean streak came to the fore on a day of few real chances – other than that of Pope, James Tarkowski and their defensive colleagues to show Southgate they remain in top form ahead of the March international dates.  

It had been 28 years since the Clarets last played on 29 February and 10 years longer since they had been to St James’ Park on a Saturday.

And rarely in that period have they had it so good as Dyche’s side looked to extend their unbeaten run and reach the landmark that would surely secure a fifth successive season of top-flight football.

Newcastle have also had their ups and downs across the decades and in a bid to improve on a run of one win in nine league games – and find a first goal in four – manager Steve Bruce made five changes to his starting line-up.

Two of those returning were Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie and the pair certainly added to the Geordies’ goal threat in a first half shaded by the home side.

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Ritchie headed one effort just wide from a Gayle cross before sending a deflected effort against the outside of a post just before the break.

Gayle and the lively Miguel Almiron also had efforts on target which Pope wasn’t overly extended in keeping out as the Clarets were stretched on the break.

But Burnley also had their moments at the other end, invariably following set-plays with the impressive Tarkowski heading down for Jay Rodriguez to threaten before being crowded out and then being denied a heading chance by the finger tips of Martin Dubravka as he clawed away a teasing Jeff Hendrick cross.

With not too much happening for the front me, though, it took less than 15 minutes of the second half for Dyche to make a change as fit-again top scorer Chris Wood replaced Matej Vydra to make his 100th Burnley appearance.

And immediately the Clarets’ threat level went up as he headed a Dwight McNeil cross wide moments after what should have been a decent chance for Rodriguez.

The striker looked to have been played in by a back-pass but was still flagged off-side which appeared to leave him undecided with an attempted finish he blazed over the top.

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That came in Burnley’s best spell of the game but as the clock ticked down Newcastle also sensed a possible winner as Ritchie fired a long-range effort not far wide of Pope’s left-hand post.

United sent on the flying figure of Allan Saint-Maximin to try and make the difference and he made space for one skidding effort which Pope easily dealt with before Charlie Taylor made a vital block to stop Almiron pulling the trigger.

There was one late scare for the Clarets as Newcastle failed to make the most of a stoppage-time break-away.

But on an afternoon they refused to buckle, Burnley got their reward for a fourth clean sheet in five league games to keep the momentum going.

Burnley: Pope; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Hendrick, Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Vydra (Wood 58), Rodriguez. Substitutes: Hart, Brownhill, Brady, Pieters, Lennon, Long.

Booked: Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee

Newcastle United: Dubravka; Manquillo, Lascelles, Fernandez, Rose; Shelvey, Hayden; Ritchie, Almiron, Joelinton (Saint-Maximin 78); Gayle. Substitutes: Darlow, Schar, Lejeune, Yedlin, Longstaff, Bentaleb.

Booked: Rose, Gayle, Shelvey, Manquillo.

Referee: Andy Madley

Attendance: 52,219

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