No end to Robins’ woe at Clarets
THE FA Cup provided no respite for Lee Johnson’s Bristol City as Premier League Burnley cruised into the fifth round.
Victory against Fleetwood in their third-round replay was City’s only win in their last ten matches – a run which has seen them set a club-record sequence of eight straight league defeats.
And any hopes of a cup run to ease the gloom were extinguished by goals from Sam Vokes and Steven Defour at Turf Moor.
Johnson believes the shoots of recovery are beginning to show, however, and insisted he remains confident in his players’ ability.
“I thought some of our football was every bit what we’re about,” he said.
“Our identity, our philosophy was there. We were beaten by the better team, but we did a lot of good things.
“Maybe we lacked finesse in the final third, but I’m not going to lambast my players after that performance.
“If we pull together we can pull ourselves out of what’s been a horrible time for us – there’s no denying that – but if we do come through it with this group of young players then that resilience has been grown.
“I’ve got full belief in the players’ ability to dig themselves out of it and I’ve got full belief in my ability.”
Burnley boss Sean Dyche made eight changes to the team who lost in stoppage time to Arsenal, but the Premier League side controlled the tempo of the game from the first whistle. Still, Bristol City could have snatched a half-time lead with their first meaningful chance when Milan Djuric dived in to head Zak Vyner’s cross goalwards on 43 minutes, but Nick Pope saved.
On the stroke of half-time they were ruing that miss even more when Defour sidestepped Bailey Wright with ease and picked out Vokes, who coolly side-footed into the bottom corner.
The visitors nearly made matters worse for themselves on 52 minutes, but Fabian Giefer reacted quickly to slide Aden Flint’s overhit backpass wide.
Defour shot wide across goal moments later, before Scott Arfield also failed to test Giefer after wriggling clear of Vyner on 63 minutes.
But Defour doubled the lead with a sublime chip five minutes later, applying the finishing touch to a fast-paced counter after Pope saved Josh Brownhill’s free-kick at the other end.
Vokes came within inches of adding to the lead from Defour’s long free-kick on 78 minutes, but the Wales striker’s shot bounced wide off the post.
Flint almost grabbed a stoppage-time consolation, heading just wide from Brownhill’s freekick, but Burnley’s place in the fifth-round draw was never really threatened after the break.
And Dyche said: “I’m very pleased. It’s the FA Cup – some odd things can happen and we wanted to take care of what we had to do.
“We controlled a lot of the first half, and scored a very good goal just before half-time. Second half, I thought we delivered a good performance and came out of it worthy winners.
“But that’s no disrespect to Bristol City. They’re on an awkward run in the league but came with the freedom that sometimes comes with that and that’s why I was pleased as well.
“Steven Defour’s goal was on a different level. That’s a sublime finish. It deserves to be shown a thousand times.”
Burnley's James Tarkowski in action with Bristol City's Callum O'Dowda