By Jonathan Nagioff (@jonathannagioff)
Burnley fought back from a goal down to comfortably beat Bournemouth 3-1 at Vitality Stadium and pull clear of the relegation zone.
The Cherries opened the scoring through an Ashley Barnes own goal from a free kick (4), however were pegged back by Chris Wood’s far post header, (18) as Asmir Begovic failed to punch away from danger.
The visitors took advantage of another mistake this time by Chris Mepham clearing straight to Ashley Westwood who smashed home past Begovic (20).
Barnes made it three just before the hour mark, pouncing on another Begovic mistake who this time spilled Charlie Taylor’s cross straight into Wood’s path, who found Barnes for a tap in (56) to see out the victory.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe made just the solitary change to the defeat against Leicester last week, with Adam Smith returning from injury in place of Charlie Daniels.
Sean Dyche also made one alteration bringing in full back Matthew Lowton in for Phil Bardsley.
It was the home side who made a razor-fast start and opened the scoring after just four minutes. Ryan Fraser’s inviting free kick was headed straight on to Ashley Barnes who headed into his own net past a despairing Tom Heaton.
David Brooks could have doubled the advantage after receiving the ball from Josh King. But his tame effort from the right-hand side fell straight into Heaton’s palms.
However, the Cherries defensive frailties were evident again as Burnley drew level just 14 minutes later. Begovic was unable to punch away the corner from danger and Chris Wood sneaked in at the far post to level proceedings.
The home side were given no breathing space as the visitors went ahead just two minutes later following another error in the Bournemouth back line. January signing Chris Mepham cleared Dwight McNeil’s low cross straight into Ashley Westwood’s path and the midfielder calmly slotted past Begovic.
Callum Wilson should have drawn Bournemouth level almost immediately, but the England forward uncharacteristically headed over from a free header, following Brooks’ cross.
Clarets winger Dwight McNeil was causing problems down the left hand side throughout the opening period and Nathaniel Clyne was first to go into Martin Atkinson’s book after bringing down McNeil.
The resulting free kick was fizzed in by Westwood and Begovic responded well to his earlier error by getting down low to his near post to parry the effort behind.
With Burnley scrapping for points near the foot of the table, it was perhaps unsurprising that the challenges were flying in. Jeff Hendrick was cautioned for a tackle on Adam Smith and soon after Barnes was booked for a late challenge on Begovic as he chased a loose ball as the half drifted to a close.
Eddie Howe made a rare half time change, with Diego Rico replacing Clyne and Adam Smith switching to right back.
However, the switch was to no avail as the visitors again capitalised on a goalkeeping error
Charlie Taylor raced down the left-hand side past Smith and despite the Cherries’ claims for a throw in, his eventual cross was spilled by Begovic under pressure from Wood.
The forward set up Barnes who slotted home from just a few yards out, this time at the right end to send the visiting fans into raptures.
Sean Dyche’s men almost netted a fourth on the hour mark. McNeil again found space on the left however his cross just eluded Wood, who was unable to get any touch on it.
Eddie Howe made two further changes in the second period in attempt to change the complexion of the match, with Junior Stanislas and Dominic Solanke replacing Jefferson Lerma and Dan Gosling respectively as Bournemouth went for broke.
The Cherries had more attacking impetus on paper but were unable to ever fashion anything substantial as Burnley more than proved their defensive worth.
The home side were restricted to half chances as Burnley stood firm. Josh King sent a glancing header over from Fraser’s free kick and substitute Stanislas struck the wall from another set piece.
Sean Dyche waited until the 81st minute to make any changes, with Jeff Hendrick replacing by Johann Berg Gudmundsson as the Clarets saw out the win.
The Cherries had one final chance in stoppage time but once again Wilson couldn’t find the finishing touch to a cross from Fraser, as he fired over unmarked.
The full-time whistle was greeted by loud boos from the home faithful, as Burnley deservedly ran out comfortable winners.
The result was crucial for Burnley who pull eight points clear of the relegation zone into 14th one place behind the Cherries, having started the day in 17th.
Next up for Bournemouth is a trip to Brighton next Saturday, whilst Burnley face 18th placed Cardiff.