Connor Roberts and Nathan Collins were the unlikely Burnley heroes as the Clarets boosted their Premier League survival bid with a priceless 2-0 victory over Southampton at Turf Moor.
Roberts settled Burnley’s early nerves with a sumptuous, curled effort (12) – his first Premier League goal – before Collins headed in for only the second time in the top flight (44) to put the seal on a dominant first-half performance in which the hosts could only be criticised for not scoring more.
Southampton were indebted to goalkeeper Fraser Forster for keeping their hopes of salvaging something alive as long as they did, but with substitute Che Adams spurning their best chances after the break there was no way for back for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s off-colour Saints, who succumbed to a sixth defeat in their last eight matches in all competitions.
Victory extends Burnley’s unbeaten start to life after Sean Dyche to two matches and sees Mike Jackson’s 18th-placed Clarets move to within a point of safety. Repeat the performance and result against Wolves on Sunday, and Burnley will climb out of the bottom three at the expense of Everton, piling the pressure on the Toffees ahead of the Merseyside derby.
Burnley: Pope (7), Roberts (8), Collins (8), Tarkowski (7), Taylor (7), McNeil (7), Brownhill (7), Cork (7), Cornet (6), Rodriguez (6), Weghorst (6).
Subs: Lennon (6), Vydra (5), Lowton (n/a).
Southampton: Forster (7), Valery (5), Lyanco (5), Bednarek (6), Walker-Peters (6), Romeu (5), Ward-Prowse (6), Perraud (5), Armstrong (6), Elyounoussi (5), Broja (5).
Subs: Adams (6), Redmond (5), Livramento (n/a).
Man of the Match: Connor Roberts.
Brilliant Burnley boost survival chances
Burnley nearly paid the price for their early nerves when Oriol Romeu headed a gilt-edged chance wide from James Ward-Prowse’s corner with just seven minutes on the clock. Five minutes later those nerves were settled in emphatic fashion.
Returning right-back Roberts picked up the ball in a pocket of space on the edge of the area and, off his unfavoured left foot, picked out the far corner of the Southampton with an exquisite, curled finish.
Goalkeeper Forster single-handedly kept Southampton in the game, brilliantly smothering Wout Weghorst’s shot and denying Jay Rodriguez’s header from a corner, from which Weghorst headed the rebound onto the bar from all of three yards.
- Josh Brownhill and Connor Roberts returned as Burnley made two changes from Sunday’s 1-1 draw at West Ham.
- Southampton were unchanged from Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Arsenal.
Romeu squandered another presentable headed opportunity from a corner before Dwight McNeil forced another fine save from Forster before Burnley finally underscored their superiority in the final minute of the half when Collins’ towering header from Josh Brownhill’s corner was allowed to stand after VAR ruled Jack Cork has not interfered from an offside position.
Burnley had the ball in the Southampton net for the third time on 62 minutes, but Cork was adjudged to have bundled the ball in from an offside position, as VAR spared Forster’s blushes seconds after he had spilled James Tarkowski’s header back across the face of goal.
Southampton, boosted by the introduction of Adams, threatened to force their way back into the contest, but the substitute fired straight at Nick Pope with his very first involvement, before taking an age to release a shot soon after as the sliding Charlie Taylor preserved Burnley’s two-goal lead, and erased any lingering chance of a Saints comeback.
Redknapp: ‘Honest’ Burnley grab lifeline
Sky Sports’ Jamie Redknapp:
“Burnley have good honest characters and have given themselves a lifeline today. Whether Sean Dyche was in charge or not, Burnley will have identified the matches against Southampton, Wolves and Watford as games where they could really get points.
“Wolves are up next at home. That is the really big one – can they put the pressure right on Everton, who head into the Merseyside derby against a formidable Liverpool side?
“I’ve been in relegation fights, the last thing you can do is pick and choose where you’re going to get results. It’s very hard to predict how this relegation fight is going to go.”
Back-to-back Burnley home wins – Opta stats
- Burnley have won their last two home Premier League games, as many as they’d won in their previous 24 at Turf Moor (D11 L11).
- Southampton have lost consecutive Premier League games against sides in the relegation zone for the first time since November 2003 (vs Newcastle and Aston Villa).
- Burnley have scored five goals in their last two home Premier League games, as many as they’d bagged in their previous nine at Turf Moor in the competition.
‘Burnley remembered what they were’
Burnley caretaker boss Mike Jackson: “The players remembered what they were. We haven’t done loads different, but they have come together as a group. Everyone has mucked in, and it is a great result.
“It was good to watch. Towards the end they have had a couple of chances. You have to enjoy the game when you win, don’t think about anything else.
“The crowd were terrific. You could see it lift the players. We said, ‘bring them with you’ and I think we did that. We have to make sure we deliver against Wolves.”
April 24 – Wolves (h)
April 30 – Watford (a)
May 7 – Aston Villa (h)
May 15 – Tottenham (a)
May 19 – Aston Villa (a)
May 22 – Newcastle (h)
Hasenhuttl: Saints not brave enough
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl: “We had a very good chance at the beginning and the first goal is important. They then had the belief, and we haven’t been physically good enough.
“The first half simply not aggressive enough, not sharp enough. They defended well and we didn’t have the quality to break them down.”
Man of the Match – Connor Roberts
Connor Roberts scored with Burnley’s first attempt in this game, the fifth time they have scored with their first shot on goal in a Premier League match this season – only Arsenal (6) have done so more often.
Burnley host Wolves while Southampton travel to Brighton in the Premier League on Sunday at 2pm.