A GRAY-T DAY FOR CLIMBING CLARETS
BURNLEY survived a scare against Sheffield Wednesday to leap into the play-off spots, but Clarets boss Sean Dyche believes there is more to come from his side.
David Jones gave the hosts an early advantage but Atdhe Nuhiu drew the Owls level, before Burnley substitute Matthew Taylor and Andre Gray’s late strike sealed their third successive win.
And Dyche reserved special praise for club record signing Gray who bagged a goal and an assist on his Turf Moor debut.
“I still think there’s more to come, I’ve been saying it the last few weeks,” he said. “We’ve got players who are moulding, they’re getting used to each other, we’ve got players getting fully fit.
“It’s beginning to form a group who we think can be very, very competitive and we’re showing that.
“Slowly but surely, I could sense it. I thought ‘We’re getting back on top’, and a fine stand up from Andre Gray for Matty Taylor’s goal and then the rawness that Andre’s got is a powerful weapon, and he goes after things that others perhaps wouldn’t.
“That will and demand from him to press from the front – and people know that’s how I like my strikers to work – was on show and he was very unlucky not to catch the keeper twice with a block which would have ended up in the net.”
Jones drew a foul from Sam Hutchinson in a dangerous position and made the Yorkshire side pay by opening the scoring with a delightful seventhminute free-kick which curled over the Wednesday wall with Joe Wildsmith well beaten.
But the Owls drew level when Daniel Pudil found space on the left and delivered a pinpoint 20th-minute cross for Nuhiu who climbed above Ben Mee to head Wednesday level.
Sam Vokes ran at the Wednesday defence and slipped in Gray only for Glenn Loovens to make a magnificent last-ditch challenge to deny the new Burnley man.
After the break, Fernando Forestieri tried his luck with a 51st-minute effort from just outside the box that sailed just over Tom Heaton’s goal, while Barry Bannan headed off target from Tom Palmer’s cross.
Forestieri drove at the Burnley rearguard shortly before the hour and found Nuhiu who eventually composed himself only to fire straight at Heaton.
Gray was then put through on goal on the hour by Michael Kightly but Wildsmith was quick off his line to smother the effort, before George Boyd’s powerful 68th-minute shot deflected off Loovens and struck Wildsmith before being cleared.
The home side went ahead after Gray outfoxed Loovens on the right and sent in a 78th-minute cross for substitute Taylor who volleyed home emphatically.
Gray sealed the win in stoppage time after robbing Liam Palmer of possession and cutting inside to finish confidently past Wildsmith.
Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal said: “We started the game very well, but the first time that Burnley go to our goal with the free-kick, they score.
“In the second half we played much more offensively in midfield.We missed clear chances to score but in the one or two mistakes that we did, Burnley did the goals.
“If we draw, if you ask me if I’m happy with the draw, probably I would say I’m a little upset.
“But the reality, that we lose a match in which we played very well and we created a lot of chances, is a little harsh. I believe that everyone in the stadium was waiting for the second goal of Sheffield Wednesday.”
CORNER KICK: Burnley’s Andre Gray celebrates scoring their third goal