Post by Football News on Oct 30, 2017 23:57:53 GMT
Burnley 1 - 0 Newcastle
Sean Dyche marks five years in charge of Burnley with win over Newcastle
Home team scorers Jeff Hendrick 74
Sean Dyche’s fifth-anniversary present was a win Burnley barely deserved but one that takes them to the fringe of the European positions. Jeff Hendrick’s late goal secured the points against a cautiously passive Newcastle side on a night when entertainment was limited and both sides disappointed. Burnley leapfrogged them to climb to seventh place – a win for Rafa Benítez’s side would have taken them to sixth above Liverpool – yet both played as if embarrassed about how high they are in the table.
Frankly it was dull. These are not two of the most free-scoring or attack-minded of Premier League teams and what they are both doing in the top half of the table is a mystery that does not reflect particularly well on all the teams below them. Perhaps, as is beginning to be suspected, there is simply not that much quality in the top flight beyond the highest half dozen.
“When you’re us you can’t go out and play fantastic football every week, you have to fight for your wins,” Dyche said, not unreasonably. “I knew this game would be tight. Newcastle are very organised under Rafa and we had to work hard to break them down. It’s very difficult when your opponents stay as resolute as Newcastle did.”
Newcastle did not quite manage to stay resolute enough, however. “We made one mistake, we were caught out of position, and we lost the match,” Benítez said. “We didn’t do what we had to do in defence and maybe we have to be a little bit better in attack.”
He can say that again. Both sides showed an early commitment to attack, with Hendrick shooting narrowly wide for Burnley in the opening minute and Christian Atsu going close at the other end following a corner. But after the early skirmishes the goalmouth action all but dried up.
The only notable attempt on target in the first half came from Newcastle when Atsu set up Jonjo Shelvey for a shot, the midfielder striking it well from just inside the area but firing it straight at Nick Pope in the Burnley goal.
Newcastle were looking to Shelvey to supply some ideas in midfield but his distribution was erratic. Not only did a couple of straightforward passes go astray but on one occasion he also attempted to catch Burnley out with a quick free-kick and succeeded only in passing the ball to an opponent. Newcastle, nevertheless, began to take a hold and push Burnley back as the first half progressed.
Without the injured Chris Wood the home side had Ashley Barnes on his own up front and, though he did get his head to a Robbie Brady cross midway through the first half, the striker generally found it hard going against Florian Lejeune and Jamaal Lascelles. While neither side boasted an effective attacking spearhead, Newcastle managed to get a few more men forward to set up some promising situations, even if the final ball into the box was usually a disappointment.
DeAndre Yedlin finished the first half with a prime example, a cross from the byline straight into the waiting arms of Pope when he had time and space to pick out someone in a black-and-white shirt. Newcastle made some promising inroads down both flanks, with Atsu and Matt Ritchie finding space to run intoand Yedlin frequently calling for the ball, to no avail. The American’s undoubted pace could have hurt Burnley – he let Stephen Ward know quite early how quickly he could switch between defence and attack – but Shelvey and Mohamed Diamé in the centre seemed more interested in slowing the game down with lateral passes.
At least the second half opened with a couple more attempts on goal. Ayoze Pérez’s curling but not especially fierce shot was kept out by a full-length save from Pope and then in Burnley’s next attack James Tarkowski got his head to a Brady free-kick but could only direct the ball straight at Rob Elliot. All the same the game seemed to be petering out uneventfully until Jack Cork got hold of the ball 16 minutes from the end.
After exchanging passes with Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Cork managed a shot on target that Elliot saved, only for Gudmundsson to return the ball across goal where Hendrick was waiting at the far post for one of the easier goals of his career.
Newcastle tried to come back and actually did quite well in searching for an equaliser in the closing minutes. Joselu was close with a shot that missed the target by no more than a foot, Isaac Hayden brought a fine last-gasp save from Pope and Javier Manquillo saw a header just clear the crossbar.
Predictably it was too little and too late, and Burnley stood firm to pick up their second home win of the season and with a second 1-0 scoreline. In addition to five years and three points Dyche will be celebrating a fourth clean sheet in seven games, though until they released the handbrake in the last few minutes Newcastle’s attacking ideas mostly amounted to heading practice for Tarkowski and Ben Mee.