A second-half header from Burnley’s Chris Wood was enough to condemn Newcastle United to a slender defeat in a forgettable encounter at Turf Moor.
A dreadful afternoon weather-wise was matched by a game low on quality. The decisive moment came shortly before the hour mark, with Wood getting up at the back post to apply the finishing touch to Ashley Westwood’s searching corner.
As might have been expected, such situations were where the Clarets looked at their most threatening, not that they came about too often. And while United enjoyed more of the ball than they have been used to of late, rarely did they look like troubling Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope.
The hosts looked to put the Magpies’ backline under pressure early on, pumping a number of balls forward from deep. However, it was United who carved out the first chance of note, with Andy Carroll sending a fifth-minute header wide from Isaac Hayden’s cross. Dwight McNeil swiftly fired a warning shot back the visitors’ way – forcing Martin Dúbravka into a smart parry from 20 yards – before James Tarkowski nodded the winger’s corner wide of the near post.
After a relatively open start, the two sides started to cancel each other out as the first half progressed. Neither were able to build any sort of momentum in the final third, with niggly fouls a feature throughout. Hayden tried his luck from range after being picked out by Joelinton, but the midfielder’s strike was always rising.
A drab end to the first half was followed by a similarly turgid start to the second. The only flicker of goalmouth action in the meantime came courtesy of a hopeful punt forward from Westwood, which bounced between Dúbravka and two Magpies defenders before dropping wide.
With 56 minutes on the clock, though, Federico Fernández was adjudged to have given away a corner after coming under pressure from Wood deep on the Burnley left. In came the delivery from Westwood and, with Dúbravka unable to get near it, the New Zealand international rose high at the far post to head the ball home via the underside of the crossbar.
Ten minutes later, the Magpies’ stopper was forced into a crucial body stop to keep out a strike from Jack Cork, who had robbed Sean Longstaff midway inside the visitors’ half. The midfielder had options to his right but opted to go it alone – passing up a fine opportunity to plunge Steve Bruce’s side into further trouble.
The Magpies’ boss proceeded to go for the jugular, introducing both Dwight Gayle and Yoshinori Muto as the final quarter of an hour approached. And it was the former who squandered United’s only opportunity of drawing level, firing wide first-time from Joelinton’s low cross after the Brazilian outmuscled Erik Pieters.
Match report originally posted here.