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Match Reports

Match Report : 26/04/2014

26 April 2014

Town’s Play-Off hopes are over after Michael Kightly’s second-half goal gave Burnley the points at Turf Moor. 

Blues had chances, with Paul Taylor and Tommy Smith both going close but Kightly, one of three Clarets on the pitch who had played under Mick McCarthy at Wolves, was on hand to force the ball home early in the second-half after Danny Ings had been denied by Dean Gerken. 

Christophe Berra returned to the side after recovering from a knee injury that kept him out of the draw against Bournemouth on Easter Monday, Paul Green and Frazer Richardson also starting for Blues, with the injured Anthony Wordsworth and Paul Anderson missing out. 

Burnley started like a team full of confidence after clinching promotion to the Premier League, Scott Arfield seeing a fierce shot deflected wide for a corner, then Ings having a shot blocked after he linked up well with Ashley Barnes.

Daryl Murphy responded for Blues with an effort that looked destined for the far corner of the net until a Clarets’ boot intervened. 

Ings’ header almost released Barnes inside the box as the game opened up, while at the other end, Stephen Hunt’s run into the danger area paved the way for Green to spin and shoot but his strike failed to trouble Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal. 

Hunt almost took advantage of in-decision in the Burnley backline, Heaton coming to his team’s rescue, Tommy Smith then yellow-carded for a foul on Ings after Aaron Cresswell had lost possession.
Smith was close to putting Blues ahead a minute later, Richardson’s free-kick was headed back across goal by Berra, the New Zealand international nudged it goalwards but Kieran Trippier headed off the line. 
Arfield headed wide from Kightly’s cross as Burnley broke following a Blues’ corner, Barnes then testing Gerken from 25 yards.

Neat work by Berra had the back paved the way for a Town break, Luke Chambers eventually being released down the right, his cross cleared for a corner by Michael Duff as Murphy looked to get in.

Murphy then turned provider with a cross to the far post that Richardson couldn’t divert into the net from the angle, Ings at the other end finding the sidenetting after he had weaved inside the Blues’ defence.

Murphy sent a left foot effort well wide as an even first-half of few chances came to an end with the points still very much in the balance.

Richardson’s cross was gathered by Heaton as the second-half got underway, Cole Skuse then trying to force his way through without success.

Gerken had to be alert to clear Chambers’ backpass as Ings threatened, Williams’ shot blocked by Jason Shackell at the other end. 

It was Burnley who got the vital first goal though, Ings cut through the Town defence and although his shot was well saved by Gerken, Kightly was on the spot to put the home side ahead on 54 minutes. 

Ings and Trippier both shot high and wide from distance before Burnley made a change with Kightly replaced by Junior Stanislas on the hour.  Blues making a double substitution straight after, Richardson and Hunt making way for Frank Nouble and Paul Taylor. 

Town had an escape when Ings and Arfield both had shots blocked in a goalmouth scramble as the Clarets threatened to take the game away from Blues.

Ross Wallace replaced Arfield for the last 20 minutes, Heaton doing well to gather Chambers’ cross at the near post as Town looked for a way back into the game but it was Burnley who threatened again, Ings smashing the ball against the bar from close range following Trippier’s cross.

Green did superbly to shadow the run of Stanislas and then win possession inside the box as Burnley broke at pace with Town pushing players forward to grab a lifeline. 

That lifeline almost came on 80 minutes, Heaton making a spectacular save to keep out Taylor’s excellent free-kick, then Nouble flashed a shot over the bar, Berra skimming a header just wide before the final whistle brought the game – and Town’s Play-Off hopes to an end. 

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