Burnley moved five points clear of the Premier League’s relegation zone with a 2-0 win at home to Wolves secured thanks to Conor Coady’s second-minute own goal and a late Dwight McNeil strike.
Sean Dyche’s side had lost their last four league outings to drop closer to the bottom three but on the day the Clarets boss marked his 300th game in charge they collected three precious points.
Clear chances were hard to find at Turf Moor on Saturday but Burnley’s fast start saw them nudge in front when Chris Wood’s shot bounced in off Coady after hitting the woodwork.
McNeil settled matters in the 77th minute after Ivan Cavaleiro wasted the best opportunity for the FA Cup semi-finalists, who remain seventh, although they are now winless in their last four away Premier League games.
Coady’s third own goal of the league season opened the scoring after just 78 seconds.
— Premier League (@premierleague) March 30, 2019
McNeil caught out the Wolves defence with a quickly taken free-kick and though Wood’s shot beat Rui Patricio it needed a touch off the post, then off captain Coady, to cross the line.
Wolves had a penalty appeal rejected when Jonny Castro Otto’s shot was blocked by Ashley Barnes’ arm but neither side created any further openings in a tight first half.
Cavaleiro blazed a good chance over the crossbar in the 49th minute after Leander Dendoncker escaped Ben Mee’s attentions on the touchline to pull back a low cross.
With Wolves building growing pressure, James Tarkowski’s superb block denied Diogo Jota a clear shot on goal, before a double-change saw Matt Doherty and Raul Jimenez introduced.
Tom Heaton finally had to make a save in the 74th minute as Jonny directed Joao Moutinho’s cross at the Burnley goal, but the Clarets exploited gaps in the Wolves back line to clinch the points.
Wood’s run drew away defenders and McNeil, who earned his first England Under-20 cap during the international break, arrowed a left-footed drive across Patricio to settle Burnley’s nerves.
What does it mean? Vital win for Clarets
A run of eight games without defeat, which included a home win against Tottenham, seemed to have alleviated Burnley’s relegation fears but poor recent form left them back in trouble. With 18th-placed Cardiff at home to Chelsea on Sunday, the Clarets have some breathing space although next month’s visit of the Bluebirds still looks a pivotal game for both sides.
Tarkowski’s timing key to clean sheet
Burnley had conceded in each of their last eight Premier League games and desperately needed a clean sheet to boost their survival hopes. Step up England defender Tarkowski, who has had an uneven season but was completely dominant both in the air and on the ground, winning the ball on halfway for McNeil’s crucial clincher.
Cavaleiro composure lacking
One of three players brought in by Wolves after their FA Cup quarter-final win against Manchester United, Cavaleiro did not stake a claim to be included in Nuno Espirito Santo’s side to face Watford at Wembley in next weekend’s semi-final. His miss earl
y in the second half came at a time when Wolves were on top.
Key Opta facts
– Wolves have won just one of their last six Premier League games (D3 L2), after winning three in a row directly before that.
– After keeping a clean sheet in two of their first four away league games this season, Wolves have conceded in each of their last 12 on the road.
– Conor Coady has scored three own goals in the Premier League this season, with only two players managing more in a single campaign in the competition (Martin Skrtel in 2013-14 and Lewis Dunk in 2017-18 with four each).
– Dwight McNeil has been directly involved in five goals in his last seven Premier League home games for Burnley, scoring three and assisting two.
Manchester United visit Molineux on Tuesday but Wolves will have an eye on their following game, the FA Cup semi against Watford. For Burnley, it’s a trip to Bournemouth next Saturday to face former manager Eddie Howe.
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