Ward caps Clarets comeback
BURNLEY can ally their promotion hopes to dreams of an extended Cup run after ensuring Middlesbrough’s undivided attention will now turn to reaching the Premier League.
Sean Dyche’s side might have been second best for large periods of this third-round tie at The Riverside, but they avenged last month’s Championship defeat on the same ground with a spirited comeback.
Trailing to Diego Fabbrini’s 36th-minute strike, Burnley equalised through Rouwen Hennings’ close-range effort in first-half stoppage time and ended Boro’s six-game unbeaten run when Stephen Ward scored with 18 minutes left.
It was something of a smashand-grab raid, but having criticised his players for showing their opponents too much respect in the first half, Dyche was delighted with their response after the interval.
The Burnley manager said: “I had a quiet word with them at half-time to say the least. They (Middlesbrough) are a good side but we didn’t play our game and apart from a flash of superb play for our goal, we let them play.
“In the second half we made it more comfortable and overall, they didn’t have the same number of chances.
“Sometimes there is respect, but that is for before the game. That (respect) can go on to the pitch and there was too much respect, and you can imagine that because they are going great.
“Footballers aren’t daft and they know this is a challenge to play here, but in the second half that was us, playing our game.”
Burnley looked unlikely winners for the majority of the first half, with Boro carving out a host of good opportunities only to be foiled by some poor finishing and inspired goalkeeping from Tom Heaton.
Heaton saved from Fabbrini, Carlos de Pena and David Nugent, and was unfortunate when he did eventually concede as the rebound from his save of George Friend’s shot fell kindly for Fabbrini to stab home from close range.
Burnley hadn’t threatened at all at that stage, but after Sam Vokes swung over an inviting cross from the right in first-half stoppage time, an unmarked Hennings slid the ball home from the edge of the sixyard box.
Boro created more good chances in the second half, but Heaton produced yet another fine save to deny Albert Adomah as the winger broke into the area.
Adam Forshaw headed wide wastefully when unmarked ten yards out shortly after, and the miss proved costly as Burnley scored the winner seven minutes later. George Boyd’s initial effort from a corner was blocked, but Ward swivelled adeptly to hook home a first-time volley.
Boro head coach Aitor Karanka said: “I’m really disappointed because I never like to lose, especially in a game that we should have won by four, five or six goals because we had a lot of chances.
“That is what happens when you play and lose your concentration though.When you play in the way that we played the second half, that is what happens. When you lose your concentration, you make mistakes in the way that we did.
“If you do that, it is normal that this happens. For that reason, we have lost the game. It is down to our mistakes and our lack of concentration. I only hope that it is a game that helps us learn for the future.”