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Match Reports

REPORT: Burnley 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1

Wood back in the groove as Tottenham hit back to deny cracking Clarets

7 March 2020

Top scorer Chris Wood was back with a bang as the Clarets extended their unbeaten Premier League run to seven games.

Wood’s return to the starting line-up for the first time in three weeks brought the striker his 11th goal of the season and another against Tottenham.

Unlike in last season’s corresponding fixture this was not to be in a winning cause as the Clarets couldn’t turn a magnificent first-half performance into all three points and movement above Spurs into the top eight.

Dele Alli’s second-half penalty stopped the rot for the visitors but Wood, who also scored a point-saving goal against Spurs at Wembley three years ago, made sure Sean Dyche’s men would get the least they deserved as they moved to within one point of the magical 40 with nine games of the campaign to go.

The Clarets had suffered a chastening 5-0 defeat at Tottenham in December but both clubs now find themselves in a different place.

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And Burnley’s well-being was perfectly illustrated by a superb first-half performance which was up there with anything they’ve produced at Turf Moor this season.

Tottenham – who have won away from home just three times since they lost at Burnley just over 12 months ago and were looking to avoid a fifth straight defeat in all competitions – were barely given the chance to draw breath as they struggled to live with the vibrant home side.

The Clarets started on the front foot and simply never let up, peppering the Tottenham penalty area even before they took a 13th-minute lead.

Dwight McNeil, in tandem with Charlie Taylor, caused carnage down Spurs’ right-hand side and with the Londoners unable to deal with everything he threw at them.

Eric Dier’s difficult week continued with a series of poor clearances from a central defensive position, the first of which was met by a Wood thunderbolt which flew just over the bar.

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Jay Rodriguez saw a header cleared off the line via the underside of the bar and Jack Cork also tested returning Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris before the Clarets did force the breakthrough.

Again McNeil was the catalyst and given a second chance to cross, Dier managed only to get the ball away as far as the edge of the penalty area.

Rodriguez’s thundering shot was too fierce for Lloris to hold and the predatory Wood pounced with a tidy finish past the stranded Spurs captain to mark his return to starting duty and 350th appearance in English league football in style.

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That was the minimum the Clarets merited for their first-half domination and Spurs – seemingly with one eye on a Champions League revival mission in Leipzig next Tuesday night – could easily have trailed by more at the break.

McNeil forced Lloris into a flying save from a long-range free-kick and Ashley Westwood – forming an outstanding midfield unit alongside Jack Cork – also dragged an effort just wide as the Clarets didn’t let up.

Tottenham’s response was a double change at half-time by manager Jose Mourinho with a switch to a flat back four and a new-look central midfield pairing.

And one of those coming on, Giovani Lo Celso, immediately gave Spurs a route back into the game as he broke forward and released Lamela, who was tripped by Ben Mee just inside the penalty area.

Alli converted to level the scores before the Clarets thought they should have had a spot-kick themselves when Davinson Sanchez went through the back of Wood – VAR seemingly opting not to take a look.

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Dyche then made a change of his own and within minutes of coming on Matej Vydra had a chance to continue his resurgence and put the Clarets back in front.

McNeil burst back into action with a lovely run and through-ball but rather than shoot, Vydra felt he needed to check back inside where he ran into traffic and the moment was gone.

The Clarets had lost their first-half superiority as the re-shaped Tottenham looked a constant threat on the break and Lo Celso, who had made a big difference, also curled an effort only inches wide with 10 minutes to go.

But Burnley still had chances of their own to win it, Wood twice again working Lloris, who then saved from Vydra, whose close-range effort on the turn was also partially blocked by Jan Vertonghen.

And with McNeil doing his best to spark a decisive late flurry, it was Tottenham hanging on at the end as a stoppage-time corner brought one last block from Wood with the final touch of a cracking game.

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Burnley: Pope; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Hendrick (Lennon 89), Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Wood, Rodriguez (Vydra 67). Substitutes: Hart, Brownhill, Brady, Pieters, Long.

Booked: Taylor, Tarkowski, Cork, Hendrick, Westwood

Tottenham: Lloris; Sanchez, Dier, Alderweireld; Tanganga, Skipp (Lo Celso HT), Ndombele (Moura HT), Vertonghen; Lamela (Aurier 77), Alli, Bergwijn. Substitutes: Gazzaniga, Winks, Sessegnon, Fernandes.

Booked: Lamela, Sanchez, Bergwijn, Lo Celso

Referee: Jon Moss

Attendance: 20,496


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