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MATCH REPORT: BURNLEY 0 TOWN 0

2 January 2016

Town take a deserved point as new year gets underway

Town’s impressive away form continued with a well earned point at Burnley.

Tommy Smith and Christophe Berra were in commanding form at the back for Blues with the Clarets restricted to very few openings over the 90 minutes.

Andre Gray had the best of them with a snapshot wide in the first-half, while Freddie Sears and Ryan Fraser both went close for Town.

Mick McCarthy made one change to the side that beat Brighton to end 2015 in style, Luke Hyam coming in for his first start for Blues in almost a year to replace the injured Jonathan Douglas.

There was a worrying start to the game with Christophe Berra receiving lengthy treatment after falling awkwardly, the Scotland international given the green light to resume action.

Kevin Bru had the first shot in anger, his effort from the edge of the box cleared back to the midfielder, whose follow up strike was diverted goalwards by the head of Tommy Smith forcing Tom Heaton to make the save.

Burnley replied with Michael Kightly firing wide from distance, Fraser going far closer at the other end with a left foot rocket from 20 yards.

Gray had the clearest chance of the first-half, sidefooting wide inside the Town box from Kightly’s cross on 20 minutes, then Luke Chambers tried to find Sears 15 yards out as Blues responded.

Sears tested Heaton with a low drive after cutting inside from the left, Kightly sending his effort wide of the far post, then Heaton holding firm again at his near post to deny Sears.

Sam Vokes sent a right foot strike high over the bar as chances remained at a premium, Sears winning a corner that Michael Keane took off the head of Daryl Murphy in the last opening of the half.

Berra did well to clear Kightly’s cross from Vokes inside the first minute of the second-half, then Dean Gerken blocked Gray’s strike from an acute angle as the Clarets started on the front foot.

Blues hit back with Hyam seeing his shot charged down from Bru’s free-kick, Fraser then crowded out as he tried to weave his way to goal. Kightly was wide with a curler after cutting in from the left, Sears volleying wide just inside the Burnley box as the hour mark was reached with neither ‘keeper really tested.

Tommy Oar replaced Fraser in Town’s first change, with Brett Pitman on for Bru soon after, Chambers flashing a header goalwards from a corner that was cleared.

Sears was denied by an excellent block from Mee as Town threatened to end the deadlock after Murphy led a breakaway, Murphy making way for Luke Varney seconds later in Blues’ final change.

Heaton gathered easily after Varney did well to get his header on target from Oar’s cross, Smith seeing his header blocked in the final exchanges as Town searched for that sixth successive away win that would have set a new Club record.

It didn’t come but it was a good point that keeps Blues firmly in the Play-Off hunt.

Burnley: Heaton, Lowton, Mee, Keane, Ward, Kightly (Boyd 70), Barton, Jones, Arfield (Taylor 88), Vokes, Gray (Hennings 88). Subs not used: Gilks, Duff, Ulvestad, Darikwa. Booked: Lowton, Barton.

Town: Gerken, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Knudsen, Skuse, Hyam, Fraser (Oar 59), Bru (Pitman 65), Sears, Murphy (Varney 73). Subs not used: Bialkowski, Malarczyk, Parr, Maitland-Niles.

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