UN­SUNG AL­FIE IS A TYKES HERO

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Ryan Gray By Ivan Speck

SEAN Dy­che in­sists An­dre Gray and Burn­ley are a match made in heaven af­ter the striker’s first dou­ble in a Clarets shirt sent Bolton to the foot of the ta­ble.

Fol­low­ing a score­less first-half striker Gray struck twice af­ter the in­ter­val to seal all three points for the hosts, with the vis­i­tors now hav­ing taken just six points from a pos­si­ble 48 on their trav­els.

As for Gray, he now has four goals in six ap­pear­ances since ar­riv­ing at Turf Moor from Brent­ford for a ru­moured club-record fee of £6mil­lion.

And Dy­che be­lieves the striker is prov­ing he is worth ev­ery penny at Burn­ley, al­though he would not get drawn into talk of an im­me­di­ate re­turn to the Pre­mier League.

“We’re en­joy­ing An­dre and I think he’s en­joy­ing be­ing here,” the Burn­ley boss said.

“Peo­ple for­get he’s young, he’s learn­ing and he’s adapt­ing.There’s still a lot he can pick up, but there’s a raw­ness and a de­sire to score goals and that’s a fan­tas­tic thing.

“There’s no fear in him and that’s a golden thing for strik­ers.

“He’s get­ting a con­nec­tion with Sam Vokes and I think that’s al­ways good to see two strik­ers link­ing up and I think there’s a good feel about the group.

“We’re re­al­is­tic about the divi­sion, we know it’s a tough divi­sion and as much as we en­joy win­ning, we’ve got to be re­al­is­tic and know that there’s an­other big game com­ing and that’s on Tues­day.

“It’s way too early to be talk­ing about pro­mo­tion. We’ve all seen the ups and downs of the league and how it changes. Our main fo­cus is on the next game, it’s sim­ple as that.”

Bolton started the game the brighter and a Neil Danns strike from the edge of the area was tipped over the bar by a fine save from Tom Heaton.

Welling­ton Silva looked lively on the left-hand side and had half a chance to score in the sixth minute as a Liam Feeney set-piece cleared by the Burn­ley defence fell to his feet, but his vol­ley spun wildly over the bar.

Burn­ley then crept back into the game and could’ve been in front in the 20th minute. A Ben Mee clear­ance went right over the mid­field to Gray who took the ball down well be­fore driv­ing into the Bolton penalty area, but he could only drag his shot across the face of the goal.

Both sides then carved out two clear chances apiece be­fore the break as Heaton had to deny Feeney and Do­rian Dervite in quick suc­ces­sion be­fore David Wheater cleared a Scott Ar­field shot off the line.

The sec­ond half got off to a much slower pace, but Burn­ley were soon ahead as af­ter Ben Amos re­pelled Gray and Ar­field, the former tucked away an op­por­tu­nity at the third time of ask­ing.

And Gray dou­bled his and Burn­ley’s tally on 68 min­utes, Ar­field play­ing the striker in with a cute ball and the front­man fir­ing home from in­side the penalty area.

Amos de­nied Gray a hat-trick twice from smart saves from in­side the six-yard box on 77 min­utes, while Bolton were de­nied a con­so­la­tion at the other end as a Wheater header was cleared off the line.

“The dif­fer­ence was the £7m player, he scored the two goals and that’s won the game and I can’t crit­i­cise the play­ers,” Bolton man­ager Neil Len­non said.

“I know we’re bot­tom of the league and it’s a huge chal­lenge. I don’t like be­ing there be­cause it’s some­thing I’m not used to, but I ac­cept that.

“We’ve got two home games com­ing up – win them and the whole at­mos­phere and land­scape changes again and that’s what we’ll try to do and get our­selves out of this po­si­tion.” AL­FIE Maw­son’s ded­i­ca­tion has made him a wor­thy re­cip­i­ent of the Sky Bet Foot­ball League Un­sung Hero of the Month award for Septem­ber.

In four short months, the cen­tral de­fender, 21, has be­come the fig­ure­head of his club in the lo­cal com­mu­nity. Whether it is vis­it­ing pa­tients at a lo­cal hospice, sur­pris­ing sup­port­ers at their work on his day off or be­friend­ing a se­ri­ously ill three-year-old Barns­ley fan who now refers to him as ‘Big Al­fie’, Maw­son has em­braced the peo­ple of South York­shire.

“There’s no ef­fort in it,” said Maw­son.“Per­son­ally, I never feel like I have to do it. It’s just nice to be able to give back, es­pe­cially to kids who are a lot less for­tu­nate than you.”

Barns­ley man­ager Lee John­son isn’t sur­prised by Maw­son’s con­tri­bu­tion – that’s why he signed him.

“From the first mo­ment I met Al­fie, I re­alised that his val­ues and his morals were very in or­der and that he was a well-rounded in­di­vid­ual.

“He’s a very good foot­baller but more im­por­tantly he’s a good man.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

DAN­GER MAN: Burn­ley’s An­dre Gray cel­e­brates scor­ing his first goal

GOOD MAN: Al­fie Maw­son

STAR MAN AN­DRE GRAY Burn­ley

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