16/12/2023 0comments  |  Jump to last
Burnley 0 - 2 Everton

Sean Dyche marked his first game back at Turf Moor since being sacked by Burnley 20 months ago with a comfortable victory that extends Everton’s winning run to four matches.

Despite the starting XI being disrupted by injury and suspension, the Toffees eased into a 2-0 lead with just 25 minutes gone that allowed them to absorb the further loss of Abdoulaye Doucouré at half-time and see the contest out in the second half against the relegation-threatened Clarets.

Amadou Onana scored his first Premier League goal of the season, and his first since bagging against Burnley in the League Cup six weeks ago, while Michael Keane capped a fine return to the side with the second, before hitting the post in the second period as Everton looked to kill the game.

Their recent 5-0 demolition of 10-man Sheffield United aside, Vincent Kompany’s men have struggled to score goals since their return to the Premier League and they were blanked today by a Toffees defence that has now kept four successive clean sheets, although it took an excellent save from Jordan Pickford to keep them out.

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With Jarrad Branthwaite suspended along with Idrissa Gueye and all of Seamus Coleman, Ashley Young and Vitalii Mykolenko out injured, Dyche was forced to deploy Keane and Ben Godfrey alongside James Tarkowski in a back three, with Nathan Patterson and Dwight McNeil as wing-backs.

But after a shaky few minutes where they appeared to be finding their feet, Everton should have scored. Jack Harrison whipped a superb cross from the right to the back of the area but McNeil steered a free header across goal and past the far post.

Great pressure by the Blues and terrific work by Patterson down the right flank then led to another good chance but this time, James Trafford in the Burnley goal kept them out. The young Scot snapped into a tackle to win the ball, collected a pass down the line from Harrison and crossed beautifully for Dominic Calvert-Lewin but the striker’s downward header was palmed behind impressively by the young Clarets keeper.

Everton scored from the resulting corner, however, as McNeil swung the ball into the six-yard box and Onana rose highest to power it home from close range.

The hosts threatened an immediate response when Doucouré blocked a goal-bound shot from Jacob Bruun Larsen and Tarkowski did well to block Jay Rodriguez’s shot at close quarters after Burnley had got into space behind Patterson.

The visitors doubled their advantage following another set-piece, however. Pickford floated a free-kick from near the halfway line to Tarkowski who nodded it into the path of Keane. The latter defender’s initial shot was parried by the goalkeeper but it ricocheted off Dara O’Shea and back to Keane who calmly slotted past Trafford.

Doucouré was on hand to make another block in the box to deny O’Shea at the other end but it was Godfrey who made the most telling defensive contribution of the half in stoppage time when he slid Vitinho’s dangerous cross behind with Wilson Odobert ready to pounce.

With Doucouré apparently not able to continue, Dyche introduced Lewis Dobbin after the interval but it was Burnley who would carry most of the threat in the second half.

Vitinho played Bruun Larsen in behind McNeil but the Dane could only plant his cross into Pickford’s arms and Lyle Foster shot tamely at the Everton keeper from the edge of the box while James Garner prompted Trafford into palming his free-kick behind at the other end.

The Blues came close to killing the game just past the hour mark when another deep corner arrived at Keane’s feet at the far post, his attempt to flick it around the post came back off the woodwork, a further bounce off Vitinho hit the same upright before Burnley hacked it away.

The closest the Clarets came to scoring was midway through the second half when Zeki Amdouni let fly from 25 yards with a swerving effort was arrowing towards the top corner until Pickford beat it away with an out-stretched glove.

Sander Berge rattled the crossbar with a similarly impressive shot but the goal wouldn’t have counted as Bruun Larsen had strayed offside before he cut the ball back from near the byline.

Beto came on for Calvert-Lewin with eight minutes to go and forced a near-post save from the keeper as the match ticked into the 90th minute while substitute Mike Tresor despatched a rising shot over before referee Anthony Taylor called time.

The win, also Everton’s fourth successive clean sheet and their fourth away from home in a row, lifts the Toffees up another place to 16th and puts more daylight between themselves and the relegation zone with Luton’s match at Bournemouth abandoned following the medical emergency suffered by the Hatters’ skipper, Tom Lockyer.

It’s another shot in the arm ahead of a League Cup quarter-final against Fulham on Tuesday and then difficult assignments either side of Christmas against Tottenham and Manchester City.

 


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