English Premier League

Burnley stun Everton at Goodison Park

Dwight McNeil’s stunning strike helped Burnley boost their Premier League survival hopes at the expense of Champions League-hopefuls Everton at Goodison Park.

England U21 winger McNeil turned sharply to beat Allan before curling expertly into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area to make it 2-0, after Chris Wood’s fine finish with Burnley’s first shot gave the visitors a 13th-minute lead.

The visitors had a penalty claim dismissed after the ball struck Ben Godfrey’s arm in an aerial challenge with Ben Mee prior to McNeil’s goal, and they were almost out of sight before half-time but Johann Gudmundsson’s low effort hit the post.

An entertaining first half took another twist as Dominic Calvert-Lewin headed in Tom Davies’ cross to halve the deficit.

There was, however, a further setback for manager Carlo Ancelotti when England number one Jordan Pickford eventually had to be replaced after sustaining an injury in attempting to save Gudmundsson’s earlier attempt.

Everton emerged from half-time determined to quickly restore parity, but Calvert-Lewin mistimed his header from Lucas Digne’s cross, while Burnley’s Matej Vydra was unable to capitalise on a couple of good opportunities to seal the points.

Sean Dyche’s side remain 15th but they are now seven points clear of the bottom three, while defeat leaves Everton five points adrift of the top-four positions.

Burnley had failed to score in a league-high eight away games this season, and prior to kick-off at Goodison only bottom side Sheffield United had scored fewer goals than Sean Dyche’s side.

But the Clarets made a sensational start against Everton, with McNeil’s sublime finish the obvious highlight of an impressive first half for the visitors on Merseyside.

McNeil’s instinctive change of direction caught Allan flat-footed before the 21-year curled his left-foot shot spectacularly into the corner.

It was only his second goal of the season – matching his tally from 2019-20 – and such a display of quality in an all-round impressive performance raises questions as to why his output is not greater.

It was no less than Burnley deserved for an uncharacteristically front-foot approach against top-four chasing opposition, and it was helped in no small part by the industry of midfield pair Josh Brownhill and Ashley Westwood.

Brownhill robbed Davies of possession to set his side away for Wood’s opener and the former Bristol City player regained possession for his side more times than any player from either side.

Dyche’s side increasingly relied on the defensive solidity that has been the backbone of their current five-year stay in the top-flight in the second half, but the Clarets will believe they have more than enough to avoid a relegation scrap following this excellent result.

-BBC

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