Football: Kiwi Chris Wood scores as Burnley edge closer to EPL safety with upset win at Everton

  • 14/03/2021

Burnley's claimed a massive three points in their quest to stay clear of the Premier League relegation zone with a 2-1 win at Everton.

Sean Dyche's side began the evening kickoff only four points clear of third-from-bottom Fulham, but goals in the first half by Chris Wood and Dwight McNeil earned them victory.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin's header before halftime gave Everton every chance to turn the game around, but they made little impact after the break as Burnley defended well.

Everton's seventh home league defeat means they remained in sixth spot with 46 points from 28 games, two behind West Ham United and five behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

Burnley are 15th with 33 points, seven ahead of Fulham who lost to Manchester City on Sunday.

Burnley's have now won at both Liverpool and Everton this season and another couple more wins should mean they are safe, after they suffered a torrid start to the season.

"After seven games we had two points. Now we have healthy points return," Dyche said.

"The players attitude has been magnificent. I think we've been performing pretty decently. There have been a lot of challenges this season, but the lads are alive and there have been good signs.

"Tonight I thought it was a real reward for what I believe is a good outfit."

Burnley began in positive fashion and were rewarded for their endeavour after 13 minutes when Wood directed a clinical right-footed strike low past England keeper Jordan Pickford.

It got even better for Burnley nine minutes later when McNeil, who was involved in his side's opener, produced a strike of stunning quality to double the lead.

McNeil jinked inside Everton midfielder Allan, then opened his body and bent an inch-perfect left footer that gave Pickford no chance as it found the top corner.

Burnley were rampant and almost made it 3-0 minutes later when Johann Berg Gudmundsson curled a low shot against the foot of the post, Pickford injuring himself as he flung himself full length to try and save it.

When Calvert-Lewin was left unmarked to head in a Tom Davies cross in the 32nd minute it looked as though Everton might still gain the win that would have taken them into fifth spot.

Pickford had to be replaced just before halftime with Joao Virginia taking his place for his Premier League debut.

Compared to the rip-roaring first half, the second period was more sedate which suited Burnley who managed to keep Everton away from the danger zone for the most part.

Nick Pope did make a fine save shortly after the interval to deny Andre Gomes and Calvert-Lewin then headed wide but Burnley were disciplined and rode the storm.

It was actually Burnley who went closest after that with Ben Mee heading against the woodwork.

The defeat was a bitter pill to swallow for Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti, whose side's home form has been a liability.

"A big disappointment, we lost a big opportunity to climb the table," the Italian said. "We made the same mistake we made in most games this season at Goodison (Park), we didn't start well." 

City continue march to title

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City celebrates with teammates after scoring their team's third goal from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Fulham and Manchester City at Craven Cottage on March 13, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
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Sergio Aguero scored his first Premier League goal for 14 months as Manchester City cruised to a 3-0 victory at Fulham, to continue their countdown to the title.

The Argentine, who had made only 14 appearances in the last 12 months before getting the nod at Craven Cottage, tucked in penalty to complete a straightforward win that left leaders City 17 points clear of their nearest challengers.

Fulham, who had the incentive of knowing a win or a draw could lift them out of the bottom three, kept City firmly in check in the first half but crumbled after the break to concede three times in the space of 14 minutes.

City defender John Stones was left unmarked to score from close range in the 47th minute and Gabriel Jesus then capitalised on some comical defending to make it 2-0.

Aguero then converted his penalty to make the points safe and from then on it was damage limitation for Fulham.

City, who made seven changes to their side with one eye on next week's Champions League last-16 second leg tie against Borussia Moenchengladbach, move to 71 points from 30 games, 17 ahead of Manchester United who have two games in hand.

Fulham have 26 points from 29 games, behind Brighton & Hove Albion on goal difference.

Chelsea limp to listless draw with Leeds

LEEDS, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Reece James of Chelsea is closed down by Ezgjan Alioski and Stuart Dallas of Leeds United during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Chelsea at Elland Road on March 13, 2021 in Leeds, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
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Thomas Tuchel remains unbeaten after 12 matches as Chelsea manager, but his side's lack of firepower meant they had to settle for a goalless draw at Leeds United.

Chelsea remain in fourth place, and are two points off third-placed Leicester City who have a game in hand.

Leeds had an early effort from Tyler Roberts ruled out for offside and then Chelsea came close thanks to a mess-up in the Leeds defence. Luke Ayling blasted a clearance into team-mate Diego Llorente and the ball struck the bar before falling into the arms of keeper Illan Meslier.

Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy did well to tip a curling shot from Roberts against the bar and had to be on alert several times after the break.

Mendy quickly changed direction to keep out a Raphinha effort, and the Senegal international did well again to stop a Rodrigo header.

Tuchel used Kai Havertz as his central striker but the German, although impressive in build-up play, was unable to make the most of the two half-chances that came his way.

"He is comfortable in high positions and he arrives in the box naturally. Normally he has good finishing and normally the chances he had are enough to score. But unfortunately not today," said Tuchel.

"We had enough chances to score. It was an OK game, sometimes it is hard to score. It was not so nice to play and the pitch is not in good condition - this is a factor.

"Our timing in the last 20 minutes - we need to be more clinical. We invest a lot against the ball so also we were tired when we arrived in good positions," he said.

Leeds have just one win in their last six games but are comfortable in 11th place although they will be concerned about forward Patrick Bamford, who had to go off injured 10 minutes before the break.

"We value the point a lot," said Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa.

"If there had to be a winner it wouldn't have been us. In the first half they established a difference in comparison to us. In the second half we were slightly better".    

Relegation-threatened West Brom lose to Palace

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace is challenged by Kyle Bartley of West Bromwich Albion during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion at Selhurst Park on March 13, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Ian Walton - Pool/Getty Images)
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Premier League strugglers West Bromwich Albion's hopes of getting out of the relegation zone have taken a blow, losing 1-0 to Crystal Palace after a first-half penalty by Luka Milivojevic.

The Palace captain found the bottom right corner from the spot in the 37th minute after West Brom defender Darnell Furlong was booked for a handball inside the penalty area following a VAR check.

West Brom created several chances, with midfielders Conor Gallagher and Matheus Pereira coming close to scoring, but they were unable to find the net.

The win lifted Palace two places to 11th on 37 points after 29 games, while second-bottom West Brom remain eight adrift of the safety zone on 18 points with nine games left to play.      

Reuters.