James Tarkowski’s third league goal of the season proved to be enough for Burnley to secure a vital 1-0 win against Brighton in what was a wet afternoon at Turf Moor.
It took until the 35th minute before either goalkeeper was called into serious action, with Matt Ryan alert to block Chris Wood’s effort after a nice layoff from Ashley Barnes, before doing well a minute later to keep hold of Robbie Brady’s drive from the edge of the area.
Burnley however did take the lead five minutes before half-time, as Jack Cork’s shot took a deflection off James Tarkowski midriff before going in, after Brighton failed to clear the initial free-kick, to give the Clarets a one-goal advantage at the interval.
The hosts started the second half on the front foot, as two decent penalty appeals were sandwiched in between two terrific interventions from Lewis Dunk inside the opening 15 minutes to keep the Seagulls in the game.
Chances came and went for both side, before Jurgen Locadia wasted Brighton’s best chance of the game inside the final ten minutes, heading over from just six yards out as Burnley weathered a late storm from the visitors to hold on for a much-needed win.
Key Talking Point
Barring the defeat to Crystal Palace, Sean Dyche has felt his side have shown glimpses of the form of last season, and their win against Brighton certainly resembled more the side from last season.
Looking to go back-to-front as early as possible, the Clarets looked dangerous when doing so, and took a deserved lead, albeit with a scruffy finish, but it ended a run of eight league games without a win, so those of a Burnley persuasion won’t care at all.
Starting XI: Hart (5); Bardsley (5), Tarkowski (6), Mee (6), Taylor (6); Gudmundsson (7*), Cork (6), Westwood (5), Brady (6); Wood (6), Barnes (6).
Substitutes: Lennon (5), Hendrick (N/A).
Johann Gudmundsson was a threat down Burnley’s right hand side during his 72 minutes on the field, with his delivery from wide causing the Brighton defence all sorts of problems. It was his initial free-kick that led to the Tarkowski winner, while the Icelandic international also offered great defensive cover.
No Burnley player stood out as having a particularly poor display, although Joe Hart looking less than convincing with crosses coming into the area; unsure when to come and when to stay on his line.
He did keep a clean sheet on his 400th appearance in English football though, so it wasn’t all bad for the shot-stopper.
Key Talking Point
Six of Brighton’s seven league defeats this season have come away from the Amex Stadium, as Chris Hughton’s side produced another tame display on the road.
The manner of Burnley’s winner would irk Hughton the most, after his team failed to clear Johann Gudmundsson’s free-kick on two separate occasions, before Tarkowski eventually turned the ball home.
Brighton also had just one shot on target all afternoon, as the Seagulls seem reliant on their home form once again to preserve their Premier League status for another season.
Starting XI: Ryan (5); Bruno (5), Balogun (6), Dunk (6), Bernardo (5); Knockaert (5), Propper (5), Bissouma (7), March (6); Gross (5); Andone (5).
Substitutes: Locadia (5), Murray (6), Stephens (5).
The performance of Yves Bissouma was one of the few positives for the visitors, giving an energetic display in the middle of the pitch, and was effective going forward and defensively, despite ending up on the losing side.
HT: BUR 1-0 BHA. An ugly game. An ugly goal. Brighton playing better than other away games, with better ball retention, but look toothless in attack. Andone feeding on scraps. Bissouma superb. Again. #bhafc
— Albion Roar BHAFC (@albionroar) December 8, 2018
Pascal Gross was Brighton’s key creator last season, but the German native hasn’t hit the heights this season, and was on the periphery of this game, resulting in him being substituted on 79 minutes despite the fact that the Seagulls were chasing the game.
Unpopular #bhafc opinion: Pascal Gross been very poor this season and deserves to be dropped?
— Jacob (@JacobAughterson) December 8, 2018
Both sides play teams considered in the ‘big six’ next weekend, as Burnley travel to the capital to face Tottenham in the hope of extending their winning run.
Brighton meanwhile return to the Amex Stadium next Sunday when they welcome Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea to the south coast.