Burnley 1 Newcastle United 2
- Anthony Taylor
Newcastle United made it three wins on the bounce as a pair of goals from defenders earned them a 2-1 win at Burnley on Monday night.
Sam Vokes produced a fine headed finish of his own to reduce the deficit before the break, but Rafa Benítez’s men held on to record a first away win of the season and extend their winning run to three games.
The match was delayed by half an hour, with kick-off put back to 8.30pm after a medical emergency in the players’ tunnel.
The wait didn’t hinder United, however, as they made the perfect start just four minutes in. Mo Diamé had already seen his half volley deflected over by the time Fernández took aim from the edge of the box. His shot lacked venom but clipped Mee on its way to goal, taking it away from Joe Hart’s grasp and into the top right-hand corner.
The hosts, though, saw plenty of the ball after the centre half’s first goal in black and white without carving out any clear-cut openings; Chris Wood twice had a go with speculative efforts, but turned Matt Lowton’s cross over first time before seeing Martin Dúbravka beat away his long-ranger.
But Newcastle still seemed to be in control of proceedings, and midway through the half they added a second. Ritchie played a short corner to Kenedy and, after collecting the one-two, swung in a cross which captain Clark met, glancing low beyond a helpless Hart to double the advantage.
Kenedy sliced wide soon after as the pace of the contest slowed, but just before the break the Clarets – who had offered little in the way of an attacking threat to this point – came to life. Ben Mee sent a long, hanging diagonal ball towards the Magpies’ box which was met by Vokes, whose looping header from just inside the box left Dúbravka stranded before nestling in the corner.
The goal gave Sean Dyche’s men a lift, and Dúbravka had to be alert moments later to keep out Wood’s left-footed strike which threatened to level the scores as Burnley finished the first period on the front foot.
Benítez’s side came out with renewed intent after the restart and missed a golden opportunity to restore their two-goal lead. DeAndre Yedlin burst onto Diamé’s pass and forced Hart to save at his feet, but when the ball ran into Ritchie’s path just a few yards from an open goal, the winger could only clip the sidenetting.
Another chance came and went when Ritchie and Rondón collided as they both went to meet Ayoze Pérez’s centre in what became a frantic second half, with the Clarets pumping in cross after cross in an attempt to break through a dogged United rearguard. Wood again tested Dúbravka, firing straight at the Slovakian after Vokes had controlled Fernández’s misdirected clearance.
The visitors held firm. Yedlin stopped Wood from firing goalwards from close range with a wonderful sliding challenge before the New Zealand international and Robbie Brady both sliced wide.
But in the end it could, and perhaps should, have been 3-1 to Newcastle. Substitute Joselu was sent clear by Pérez, but his shot cannoned back off the base of the post and the margin of victory remained just the one goal – just enough, though, to help the Magpies continue to climb the table.