Burnley 2-0 Swansea: Ashley Barnes inspires Clarets to third straight Premier League victory
By Dan Long
Last Updated: 18/11/17 7:54pm
Sean Dyche saw his Burnley side's stock rise once again after a confident 2-0 Premier League win over Swansea at Turf Moor.
Following a relatively open start, it was this season's over-achievers who drew first blood when former Swansea midfielder Jack Cork finished off a move he had initiated by nodding home Robbie Brady's cross (29).
Dyche's men had a second in the net five minutes before the break when Ashley Barnes intercepted Jeff Hendrick's intuitive cross-field pass before striking a venomous drive past Lukasz Fabianski (40).
The result leaves Swansea languishing in the relegation zone with just eight points from 12 games, while the Clarets have now passed halfway in their quest for the 40-point survival milestone and sit just three points off second spot.
Swansea came into the game off the back of three straight defeats and although they held their own, it was Burnley who had the first chance when Barnes' header was saved under pressure from Kyle Naughton.
Burnley: Pope (7), Lowton (7), Tarkowski (7), Mee (7), Ward (6), Gudmundsson (7), Defour (6), Cork (7), Brady (7), Hendrick (6), Barnes (8)
Subs: Vokes (5)
Swansea: Fabianski (6), Naughton (6), Fernandez (4), Mawson (6), Clucas (4), Fer (5), Olsson (5), Sanches (4), Dyer (6), Abraham (4), Ayew (5)
Subs: Bony (6), Ki (4), Narsingh (N/A)
Man of the match: Ashley Barnes
Cork was the architect of a wonderfully-worked opener just before the half-hour, feeding Barnes before the unmarked England new-boy nodded Brady's precise cross past Fabianski.
The Swans picked themselves up following the goal, but their failure to utilise Tammy Abraham was telling and when a tamely-delivered Renato Sanches corner was cleared, it was obvious it was going to be a tough afternoon.
Sean Dyche made just a solitary change from the side that beat Southampton prior to the international break, as Ashley Barnes replaced Chris Wood.
Meanwhile, Ki Sung-yeung and Tom Carroll dropped to the Swansea bench – Renato Sanches and Martin Olsson their replacements – as Paul Clement looked for his side to break out of their slump.
With 40 minutes on the clock, the Clarets doubled their lead when Hendrick capitalised on a lapse in concentration to pick out Barnes, who lashed home his first goal since April with venom.
Paul Clement's introduction of Wilfried Bony at half-time affected the potency of the Swans' attack, but the Ivorian was guilty of missing multiple chances as the half wore on.
James Tarkowski had the ball in the net again for Burnley with five minutes remaining, but although referee Martin Atkinson ruled the effort out, the visitors' misery was compounded in the closing stages when Abraham was stretchered off with a back injury.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche: "Today just told us that we are working hard to find different ways to win. Last time out at Southampton, we had to defend very well, we had to break well when we could and maximise the limited chances that we had.
"Today we played some pockets of fantastic football - the first goal was from our keeper, passed all the way through the pitch to score. The second one's a great press and a counter, and then we managed the game. So, a lot of good signs about what we are about."
Swansea boss Paul Clement: "We did have a bright start to the game but I think when the goal went in, it affected our confidence. We're in this spiral of downward results at the moment and confidence is clearly affected, but we've got to find a way to break it.
"We're not playing well enough. I think, individually, our players are capable of giving more and as a team we are capable of giving more. We're playing under our potential and I've got to find a way to break this cycle."
Man of the match - Ashley Barnes
Stepping in for the injured Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes couldn't have done much better in proving to Sean Dyche that he has the ability to step in for - or even replace - the New Zealand frontman.
His presence at the spearhead of the attack was vital in the creation of Jack Cork's opener as he laid off the ball to Robbie Brady and his own goal 11 minutes later was excellently taken. But it was the basics that Barnes got so right, using his broad stature to bully defenders, win lost causes and generally having a successful day in front of goal.
- Burnley have won three consecutive top-flight games for the first time since January 1975.
- Swansea have now lost six of their last seven games in the Premier League (W1) and failed to score in seven of their last 11 away games in the Premier League.
- Jack Cork, who scored today versus his former side, ended a run of 43 Premier League appearances without a goal.
- Ashley Barnes scored his first Premier League goal at Turf Moor since New Year's Eve 2016, ending a run of 13 PL games without a goal on home soil.
- Jeff Hendrick has had a hand in three goals in nine Premier League games this season (two goals, one assist) - the same total he registered in 32 apps in 2016-17.
Sean Dyche's Burnley welcome Arsenal on Super Sunday at 2pm next weekend, while Swansea will play host to Eddie Howe's AFC Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon.