Report and free match highlights from the Sky Bet Championship match between Burnley and Preston at Turf Moor as Nathan Tella scored a brilliant hat-trick to seal a comfortable win for Vincent Kompany's side.
Saturday 11 February 2023 18:10, UK
Nathan Tella scored a superb hat-trick to help record-equalling Burnley cruise to a 3-0 Championship victory over Lancashire rivals Preston at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon.
Tella, a 23-year-old loanee from Southampton, was labelled "a rough diamond" by manager Vincent Kompany last week after impressing in the north west.
And the Clarets manager will be even happier now following an all-round Burnley performance that underlines why they are the Championship front-runners this season.
Burnley went into the contest looking to equal their 1913 record of 10-straight league wins and with just two defeats in 30 as well this term, the Clarets began the match in the healthiest condition of any Championship side since Reading in 2005-06 - who went on to finish with an impressive 106 points.
The omens were therefore excellent for Kompany's side, who have looked a class apart this term.
And when Tella took the match by the scruff of the neck, there was only ever going to be one winner.
Ryan Lowe's Preston side are dreadful at home this term but they travelled the short distance down the M65 buoyed by the fact they had eight wins on the road this season, the joint-best in the league.
They were certainly not cowed at Turf Moor in an entertaining opening full of commitment from both sides.
The Clarets had the lion's share of early possession and the way they spread the ball around was testament to their confidence and Kompany's efforts on the training ground.
Yet both teams lacked that killer instinct in front of goal until Tella's fine header after 15 minutes.
Preston failed to clear a Josh Brownhill corner and when Brownhill got the second chance to deliver the ball into the box, he picked out Tella who could not miss from five yards out.
As Burnley grew into the match, the gulf between the two sides finally became clear.
The Clarets continued to dominate possession and it took a fine Freddie Woodman block after half-an-hour to keep out an Ashley Barnes header that would have doubled the lead.
Preston struggled to lay a glove on the home side in the remainder of the first half and little changed during the early exchanges after the interval, as Kompany's possession-heavy style came to the fore.
After 51 minutes, Anass Zaroury blazed an effort over for the home side following an errant Ben Whiteman pass but Tella did far better four minutes later, smashing the ball home from the edge of the box after turning Preston's defence inside out.
His low-rifled shot just inched inside Woodman's near post and if that increased the noise inside Turf Moor, his treble after 58 minutes threatened to take the roof off.
Tella stayed cool to thread through Woodman's legs to earn his hat-trick and make it 14 goals for the season in all competitions.
Burnley then saw the game out with the cool-headed efficiency that has become the hallmark of a season that must, surely, end with a return to the Premier League.
Burnley's Vincent Kompany:
"I still call him [Tella] a raw diamond. As you can see, he is still progressing. He has been doing really well and before anything else, I must mention his effort. It's so important to point that out.
"He has goalscoring ability but many with that ability don't put the work in for the team but he does. He has all the tools and helps us in so many ways, not just goalscoring."
Preston's Ryan Lowe:
"We lost the game, so it doesn't feel good. I thought Burnley were fantastic in what they were doing. They are good goals from their behalf but from us, it could have been better.
"I don't like losing games of football, especially derbies, but Burnley were the better team and deserved the three points."