Chris Wood plundered goals in either half to help Burnley earn a 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion that lifts Sean Dyche’s men out of the Premier League relegation zone.
Wood’s clinical finishing at a rain-soaked Amex Stadium made the difference as Brighton were left frustrated by the heroics of Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal.
The Seagulls created more than enough chances to get a result but only found a way past Heaton after Ashley Barnes added to Wood’s double when he scored a controversial penalty.
Shane Duffy grabbed a consolation for Brighton in the closing stages but Chris Hughton’s side are still without a Premier League win in 2019, while Burnley are unbeaten since the turn of the year and sit 15th, three points clear of the bottom three.
6 – Chris Wood has now scored six league goals against Brighton; only against Huddersfield (7) has he netted more in the English leagues. Familiar. #BHABUR
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 9, 2019
Brighton survived a scare after 16 minutes when Shane Duffy diverted Dwight McNeil’s shot onto his own crossbar and Ashley Barnes headed the rebound over the top, but Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton was soon called upon to deny a powerful Solly March effort with a one-handed stop.
The opener arrived after 26 minutes when Barnes floated a pass over the Brighton defence just as Lewis Dunk lost his footing, leaving Wood with a free run on goal and the New Zealand striker applied a clinical finish high into the net.
Heaton made a key intervention to push the ball away from Glenn Murray’s head as the hosts pushed for an equaliser before half-time, with Jeff Hendrick then clearing off the line to preserve Burnley’s lead at the break.
Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan will want to forget Burnley’s second goal, which arrived just after the hour mark when McNeil surged forward with the ball and fed Wood, whose shot skidded off Ryan’s outstretched palm on its way into the bottom-right corner.
Hendrick appeared to handle the ball in the Brighton box moments before Barnes was brought down by Ryan at the other end, and the Burnley forward confidently tucked home the ensuing spot-kick.
Duffy met Anthony Knockaert’s long, looping free-kick over the top with a diving header that beat Heaton and gave Brighton a glimmer of hope that arrived far too late.
What does it mean? Clarets on the up
Burnley are unbeaten in their last seven Premier League matches and if they sustain this kind of form they could yet banish their relegation fears and aim for the top half of the table.
Brighton threw everything they had at Heaton in the first half and the England man came up trumps with a string of fine saves.
Dunk and Duffy undone
When the game was hanging in the balance in the opening half-hour, Brighton’s centre-halves Dunk and Duffy made untimely errors that undermined the Seagulls’ confidence and set the tone for an away win.
Key Opta Facts
– Brighton have enjoyed just one win in their last 11 Premier League games (D3 L7), after winning five of the eight before that (D1 L2).
– Burnley are unbeaten in their last seven Premier League games (W4 D3), their longest run without defeat in the top flight since February 1975 (also 7).
– Brighton have conceded eight penalties in the Premier League this season, more than any other side.
– Burnley’s run of seven games unbeaten in the Premier League is bettered only by Manchester United (9).
– Only Liverpool (16) have scored more goals from set-piece situations (excluding penalties) than Brighton this season (12).
– Brighton’s Shane Duffy has scored five goals in the Premier League this season, more than any other defender.
Brighton are at home to Derby County in the FA Cup fifth round, while Burnley can enjoy a two-week break before the visit of high-flying Tottenham in the Premier League.
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