Burnley 1 Newcastle United 0
Newcastle United FC
- Mike Dean
Newcastle United slipped to a narrow defeat at Burnley as Jeff Hendrick’s late goal settled a closely-fought encounter.
The Magpies – unbeaten in the Premier League since September – offered little in the final third of the pitch, but looked decent value for a point with time beginning to run out.
However, with a quarter of an hour remaining, a lapse in the visitors’ backline allowed Hendrick the chance to sweep the ball into an empty net, a strike which proved enough to see the Clarets leapfrog United in the table.
Celebrating his fifth anniversary in the hotseat at Turf Moor, manager Sean Dyche would likely have been encouraged by his side’s start. Their first sight of goal came just 40 seconds in, Hendrick’s cross-come-shot whistling past the far post after a James Tarkowski flick-on.
Hendrick then saw a headed effort bounce wide via Jonjo Shelvey, fellow Irish international Robbie Brady the architect with a floated corner from the left.
After coming through a period of early pressure unscathed, United started to make their presence felt at the opposite end. Christian Atsu stabbed the ball over the crossbar after the Clarets failed to clear their lines, before Shelvey stung the palms of ‘keeper Nick Pope after meeting the Ghanaian’s lay-off.
If the opening 20 minutes were reasonably entertaining, the remainder of the half was anything but. Goalmouth action was sparse, save for a misplaced Ashley Barnes header on the half-hour mark and a late effort from Atsu – blocked by Matthew Lowton just inside the penalty area.
The Magpies started the second period with promise, however. Just five minutes in, Ayoze Pérez allowed the ball to run across to his right-hand side, before bringing a fine stop out of Pope from 18 yards.
Another quiet spell followed, though, with neither side able to muster anything more than efforts from range. Atsu managed to get in the way of Steven Defour’s 20-yard strike, before United’s Matt Ritchie – taking aim from the same distance – also saw his shot blocked.
At that point, a 0-0 draw looked by far the most likely outcome. However, with just over 15 minutes remaining, the home side broke the deadlock.
Jack Cork played a neat one-two with Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, forcing Elliot into a parry from just inside the area. The loose ball broke perfectly for the Icelandic international, who left Hendrick with a simple finish after sending in a first-time cross.
After taking the lead, Burnley allowed the Magpies a little more time on the ball as the final ten minutes approached. Frontman Joselu came within a whisker of restoring parity from 18 yards, only for the ball to drop just wide of the near post.
Barnes then forced Elliot into a parry after a Clarets counter, before United twice came close to snatching a point.
Substitute Isaac Hayden was the first to go close, bringing a decent stop out of Pope at the ‘keeper’s near post.
Then, with the final action of the evening, Javier Manquillo’s header momentarily looked to be dropping in after a Shelvey throw-in, but the ball just cleared the crossbar, much to the agony of the sizeable travelling contingent.