Burn­ley pun­ish sloppy Wat­ford to fire up their Euro­pean dream

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Premier League - By Arindam Rej at Vicarage Road

Sean Dy­che first heard the Burn­ley fans’ chant about be­ing on a Euro­pean tour when it was just “a joke”. The Burn­ley man­ager knows that it is no laugh­ing mat­ter now.

This lat­est win was the Lan­cashire club’s fourth suc­ces­sive top-flight vic­tory, some­thing that the club has not done in nearly 50 years. The Europa League is very much in sight, as Burn­ley are firmly in sev­enth place in the Premier League – with eighth-placed Le­ices­ter City to face next.

This per­for­mance was far from per­fect and re­quired them to fight back from a goal down with 20 min­utes left. But they did it, pounc­ing twice on Wat­ford’s in­ep­ti­tude with de­fend­ing set-pieces. It meant Dy­che could en­joy vic­tory against the club where he started his coach­ing ca­reer be­fore they ques­tion­ably let him slip.

“We have to find dif­fer­ent ways to win and we did it with two set-pieces,” said the Burn­ley man­ager. “They’ve been singing that chant about go­ing on a Euro­pean tour for ages – it started as a joke and now it’s like, ‘Hello! It might not be such a joke’.”

Jack Cork was the even­tual match­win­ner, head­ing in just three min­utes af­ter Sam Vokes had equalised. Wat­ford had de­servedly been ahead from lively Roberto Pereyra’s opener – but they shot them­selves in the foot. Vokes scored just 22 sec­onds af­ter com­ing off the bench, which was the fastest goal by a sub­sti­tute this sea­son.

There was penalty-box chaos for Wat­ford on the way to con­ced­ing both of Burn­ley’s goals. Javi Gra­cia, their man­ager, said: “We dom­i­nated the game but it wasn’t enough. We should have killed the game. We have to im­prove our de­fen­sive ac­tions be­cause we are los­ing many points in this way.”

There was good news for Burn­ley be­fore kick-off when they wel­comed club cap­tain Tom Heaton back on to the bench. Dy­che’s men had a goal dis­al­lowed in the sec­ond minute when Matthew Low­ton crossed for Chris Wood, who was judged off­side when he headed in.

There was also dan­ger for Wat­ford mid­way through the half when Aaron Len­non crossed, but in-form Ash­ley Barnes failed to make the re­quired con­tact from close range.

Wat­ford then set­tled into the game and Pereyra was twice de­nied by Nick Pope. Burn­ley needed to im­prove in the sec­ond half and they were gifted a chance when Wat­ford goal­keeper Or- es­tis Karnezis dropped a high ball – but Ash­ley West­wood failed to take his chance for the fol­low-up.

Gra­cia’s men started look­ing the bet­ter side again, with Will Hughes hav­ing a shot saved by the busy Pope. Hughes was soon the provider for the open­ing goal, lay­ing the ball across for Pereyra to tuck the ball in from 10 yards.

Burn­ley were level when Low­ton de­liv­ered a free-kick, which Wat­ford’s Adrian Mari­appa un­in­ten­tion­ally headed straight into the path of Vokes, who steered in from close range.

Dis­cussing the sub­sti­tu­tion, Dy­che joked: “I said that if he didn’t score within 30 sec­onds then he wouldn’t be play­ing next time.”

The next piece of set-piece woe for Wat­ford ar­rived when Kevin Long nod­ded to­wards Cork, who pro­duced a header that crossed the line be­fore Karnezis clawed it away. Tech­nol­ogy con­firmed the goal. Wat­ford had a chance to level when Troy Deeney struck into the side-net­ting, but their de­fen­sive dis­or­gan­i­sa­tion ul­ti­mately proved to be costly.

Pumped up: Mid­fielder Jack Cork re­acts to scor­ing the win­ning goal for Burn­ley

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