Date: 23rd March 2014 at 2:37pm
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The Clarets unbeaten run in the Championship was extended to fifteen matches following their handsome 3-0 win over struggling Charlton Athletic at ‘The Valley` this Saturday. The convincing victory certainly scotched any doubts that Burnley would immediately struggle after losing two key players to injury. Leading goalscorer Danny Ings remained sidelined with ankle ligament damage and he was joined by influential right back Kieran Trippier who also missed out with a hamstring problem. Both could be out for a couple of weeks yet but the signs on Saturday suggest we have adequate cover at the moment. Ashley Barnes made his second start for the Clarets in the absence of Ings and this time he opened his account with a goal just before half time to give Burnley a 1-0 lead at the break. New boy, Chris Baird only signed on Thursday but he showed his versatility by lining-up at right back to make his debut in place of Trippier. In the second-half Burnley stepped up the pressure and increased their lead from a penalty in the 55th minute, Sam Vokes taking the spot kick to bring his tally up to 20 league goals for the season. Charlton now had to throw everything at the Clarets to try and get back in the game and there were a few nervy moments but Burnley defended well and soaked up the pressure before making it 3-0 in stoppage time. Kightly`s cross took a deflection and finished up in the back of the net to seal another perfect away day out for Clarets fans. It was a pretty convincing win considering under their new boss, Jose Riga the Addicks had been unbeaten in three games without conceding a goal. It was certainly a vital win too. In the earlier Sky Sports Live game, Derby had trounced local rivals Nottingham Forest 5-0 at Pride Park to move to within seven points of the Clarets and make a dent in our goal difference advantage over them. Our win ensured we remain ten points clear of third placed Derby who are just ahead of QPR in fourth on goal difference. The Rs enjoyed a 3-1 away win at Middlesbrough so it was vital for the Clarets to pick up points in London. Burnley now have nine games to play until the end of the season and with a ten point cushion still over both Derby and QPR you would have to fancy our chances for automatic promotion.

Team Sheet

Sean Dyche was forced into making a change following the news that Trippier was sidelined with a hamstring injury. New boy, Chris Baird was given his debut at right back. Ashley Barnes continued to partner Sam Vokes up front and there was one further change with the gaffer electing to start Junior Stanislas in place of Ross Wallace who returned to the bench joining fellow wingers Michael Kightly and Keith Treacy. We therefore lined up as follows:

Heaton, Baird, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Arfield, Marney, Jones, Stanislas, Vokes, Barnes

Subs: Cisak, Lafferty, Long, Edgar, Wallace, Treacy, Kightly

Full Match Report

West Midlands referee Oliver Langford got the match underway on a pitch that shall we say left a lot to be desired ensuring that the ball would bobble around all afternoon and be difficult to control. Despite the conditions though, Burnley managed to put together some free-flowing football although both sides looked evenly matched in the opening exchanges of the game. The Addicks defence were tested early on from crosses by Scott Arfield and Dean Marney but the hosts survived the first ten minutes and nearly got their noses following a testing cross from Danny Green. Welsh international, Simon Church was just about to pounce before an alert Tom Heaton collected the ball. The game began to plod a bit now but in the 24th minute the match suddenly livened up with a more open style of play creating opportunities for both sides to break the deadlock. Michael Duff unfortunately slipped at the wrong time allowing Church to pounce with clear site of goal before unleashing a low shot. Heaton though comfortably saved to deny the Welshman yet again. Just one minute later and it was the home fans who had their hearts in their mouths. Barnes on the edge of the box held up play long enough to feed Arfield. Ben Hamer though easily mopped up the winger`s tame right footed effort and the stalemate remained. The Clarets though continued to push for the breakthrough and it nearly came in the 34th minute. Stanislas got to the by-line before pulling the ball back for Vokes. His shot took a deflection though and flew away for a corner. The corner allowed Duff to get up the highest but his header flew over the post and the score remained 0-0. Burnley though now notched up a gear and in the 38th minute their efforts were rewarded. The goal came from a sublime cross from Stanislas on the left. The ball flew into the box allowing Barnes to pounce and get in front of his marker before heading past Hamer from six yards out. The Clarets now had their tails up looking for a second with half-time now fast approaching. In the 41st minute Baird picked up the ball from 20 yards out and then charged forward before unleashing a powerful shot that Hamer could only parry away. The ball rebounded to Arfield on the right flank who found Barnes at the back post with a superb, curving pass. His header looked certain to double the Clarets lead but Hamer came from nowhere to pull off a spectacular save after getting down well. Still the Clarets scented blood, Arfield got the better of Charlton left-back Rhoys Wiggins after winning the ball back and then charged towards goal into the box on the counter-attack. It was now three-onto-two with the winger playing the ball to Barnes. The poor pitch though now played its part and the ball bobbled away from the former Brighton striker before being cleared. The Clarets though thoroughly deserved their 1-0 lead at half-time and it was clear there still could be more goals to come in the second period.

Burnley started the second-half the way they had finished the first, in control and looking to double their lead. A shot from Arfield was blocked in the box but Burnley`s tenacity and determination finally paid off in the 54th minute when the Clarets were awarded a penalty. Sam Vokes had picked up the ball from Barnes in the box and was just about to unleash a shot before he was brought down to the ground giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. The Welsh international decided to take the penalty himself and wrong-footing the keeper slotted the ball home into the right corner of the net. Burnley fans know though they can never relax at 2-0 and now Charlton had to try everything to get back in the game. The hosts nearly pulled one back in the 63rd minute from a free-kick by substitute Ajdarevic but Heaton managed to save well to deny the Swede. It was Ajdarevic again in the 77th minute who came close to reducing the arrears. His shot though this time from outside the box went wide. In stoppage time the visitors stamped their authority on the game with a third goal. Kightly, who had come on to replace Stanislas in the 75thminute, cleverly from the right found his way into the box before unleashing a shot (or was it a cross?) that took a deflection taking the ball away from the keeper and into the net to make the final score 3-0.

Match Stats

Charlton Athletic: Hamer, Wilson, Wiggins, Poyet (Sordell – 76), Morrison, Dervite, Green (Ajdarevic – 45), Cousins, Church (Ghoochanneijhad – 54), Jackson, Obika

Subs Not Used: Thuram-Ulien, Wood, Nego, Fox

Booked: 0

Burnley: Heaton, Baird, Duff (Long – 91), Shackell, Mee, Arfield, Marney, Jones, Stanislas (Kightly – 75), Vokes, Barnes

Subs Not Used: Cisak, Lafferty, Edgar, Wallace, Treacy

Goals: Barnes 38, Vokes 55(pen), Kightly 90

Booked: 0

Possession: % Charlton, % Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)

Ref: Oliver Langford (West Midlands)