Date: 22nd August 2012 at 10:01am
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The Clarets lost their first league away game of the season going down narrowly 3-2 to Middlesbrough at the Riverside last night despite Charlie Austin giving them a lead with a header in the 41st minute, his 50th career league goal. Any hope of taking a 1-0 lead into the break quickly disappeared a minute later when Bailey equalised with a low drive. In the second half, Reach put the home side in front on 79 minutes with a curler. The Clarets though fought back and in the 86th minute Stanislas scored his first goal for Burnley in a rather scrambled affair. Once again though, Burnley were to be denied any points when two minutes later substitute Luke Williams smashed a stunning goal into the back of the net from long-range to break the hearts of the 618 Clarets fans who had made the journey to Teeside.

Eddie Howe made just one change to the starting eleven that lined up against Bolton on Saturday. Martin Paterson, who ran his socks off against the Trotters, is still deemed to not be fully fit and on the road to recovery so he was rested against Boro to be replaced by Sam Vokes. Young Shay McCartan replaced Vokes on the bench. Our line-up was therefore as follows :

Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Edgar, Mills, McCann, Wallace, Marney, Stanislas, Vokes, Austin

Substitutes: Jensen, Mee, Duff, Stock, Bartley, MacDonald, McCartan

East Yorkshire referee, Carl Boyeson got the game underway and Burnley continued as they had left off against Bolton, looking impressive and taking the game to Boro in these early stages. The pace was frantic with Burnley testing the Boro defence at every opportunity setting up a number of goal-scoring opportunities. One of our best efforts came after just six minutes when Chris McCann pulled the ball back across the penalty area for Ross Wallace to pounce and shoot from 15 yards out. It was a pity it was on his wrong foot with his right footed effort flying just wide of target. Marney, Vokes and McCann then all had efforts from just outside the penalty area before Boro had even settled and mounted a meaningful attack.

The first Boro chance came from a free-kick when Emmanuel Ledesma curled his attempt wide and that seemed to lift the home side`s spirit. Debutant 19 year old on-loan Chelsea midfielder Josh McEachran signed only the day before on a season-long loan began to impress and get more in the game. Former Burnley loan defender, Rhys Williams nearly opened the scoring from a set-piece when he latched onto the ball in the penalty area only to scuff his shot.

Austin though was looking sharp and the striker who has been scoring for fun recently came close with a shot from a Joseph Mills cross. With four minutes of the first-half to go though Austin finally managed to add to his tally and put the Clarets 1-0 up. Marney was the architect managing to split the Boro defence with a searching pass to Kieran Trippier. Trips put a cross over to the near post and there was Austin ideally placed and unmarked to power home his header passed the Boro keeper, Jason Steele. This of course was an ideal time to score so close to half-time but if Burnley were hoping to take the psychological advantage it was denied less than one minute later when Boro managed to equalise. Bailey 22 yards from goal let rip with a low drive that gave Grant no chance. In first-half stoppage time Burnley nearly managed to get their noses in front again when Vokes saw his volley on the turn deflected over the top. 1-1 then at half-time.

Neither manager made any changes for the start of the second-half but now it was Tony Mowbray`s men with their tails up sensing victory. Boro were now on the front foot but Burnley still had their moments. Mills came close with a shot but fired just wide but it was only a matter of time before Boro`s pressure counted. Howe tried to calm proceedings by bringing on Bartley for Vokes in the 59th minute but Boro were relentless in their pursuit of another goal. Despite Boro`s possession, Burnley managed to soak up the pressure to a degree but had to thank Lee Grant for a superb left-handed save after a Curtis Main shot looked to be heading for the bottom corner of the net. Grant was now being tested more and more and had to get his fingertips to a Woodgate header to once again save the day for the Clarets. Grant Leadbitter then dragged a shot wide but it was only a matter of time before Boro got their noses in front and it came with 12 minutes to go.. This time it was Reach who broke Clarets hearts thumping the ball home into the top corner of the net with a stunning strike from 25 yards out to make it 2-1 Boro.

To be honest it was nothing less than they deserved with the Clarets now struggling to make any sort of impression. Suddenly though and rather out of the blue, Burnley somehow raised their game and with four minutes to go equalised. Rhys Williams cleared a headed attempt by McCann off the line but the ball eventually fell nicely for an alert Stanislas to fire home and score his first ,albeit scrappy goal for the Clarets. The ball was actually partially blocked on its way towards goal but it was judged to have crossed the line.

Once again though, very much like last season Burnley could not see a game out conceding yet again in the closing stages this time with just two minutes to go. This time though it was an unstoppable wonder strike that gave the home side all three points. Teenager Luke Williams had barely had a touch after coming on as a substitute in the 84th minute but picking up the ball from fully 35 yards out, he took aim and let rip with a scorcher that flew past Grant and give Boro their first league win of the new season. Burnley now have to dust themselves down ,forget about this game and come back stronger against Huddersfield in the John Smith`s Stadium this Saturday

Match Stats

Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, Friend, R.Williams, Reach, Woodgate, Leadbitter, Bailey (Smallwood – 72), Ledesma (Zemmama – 69), McEachran, Main (L.Williams – 84)

Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Hines, Halliday, Haroun

Goals: Bailey 42, Reach 79, Williams 88

Booked: Yellow Card for Woodgate

Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Edgar, Mills, McCann, Wallace (Mee – 77), Marney, Stanislas, Vokes (Bartley – 59), Austin

Subs Not Used: Jensen, Duff, Stock, MacDonald, McCartan

Goals: Austin 41, Stanislas 86

Booked: Yellow Card for Bartley

Possession: 59% Middlesbrough, 41% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)

Referee: Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire)