Burnley 2-1 Brentford: Clarets reignite survival hopes with much-needed win over 10 men

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Burnley took full advantage of an early Brentford red card to record a much-needed win in their fight against relegation.
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Vincent Kompany addresses when talks will take place with Burnley's out-of-contr...

The Bees were reduced to 10 men inside the opening 10 minutes when Sergio Reguilon denied Vitinho a clear goalscoring opportunity inside the box.

Jacob Bruun Larsen dispatched the resulting penalty before David Fofana settled Burnley’s nerves midway through the second-half to hand Burnley only their fourth win of the campaign.

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Kristoffer Ajer did pull one back for the Bees late on to set up a nervy finish, but the Clarets held on much to Vincent Kompany’s relief.

Not only that, it’s only their second victory at Turf Moor this season, having not won at home since thrashing Sheffield United 106 days ago.

With Luton Town drawing with Nottingham Forest, that means the gap to safety now stands at eight points.

But with potential points deductions hanging over both Everton and Forest, Burnley’s survival chances aren’t over just yet.

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BURNLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: Josh Cullen of Burnley celebrates scoring his team's second goal with teammate Wilson Odobert during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Brentford FC at Turf Moor on March 16, 2024 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)BURNLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: Josh Cullen of Burnley celebrates scoring his team's second goal with teammate Wilson Odobert during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Brentford FC at Turf Moor on March 16, 2024 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
BURNLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: Josh Cullen of Burnley celebrates scoring his team's second goal with teammate Wilson Odobert during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Brentford FC at Turf Moor on March 16, 2024 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Kompany dropped a major hint during his Thursday pre-match press conference that a “surprise” return could be on the cards.

That man turned out to be Lyle Foster, who was named in a Burnley squad for the first time in over a month.

The 23-year-old underwent surgery in February for a “chronic issue”, with his last appearance coming during the 2-2 draw against Fulham on February 3.

But the bombshell news came in goal, where Arijanet Muric was preferred to James Trafford for the first time this season.

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Trafford has been the only player to play every minute of every league game for the Clarets this season, despite his mixed form.

Kompany has previously ignored calls from supporters to make the change, but he finally made the call.

The Clarets were otherwise unchanged from last week’s 2-2 draw against West Ham, where they squandered a two-goal lead to be pegged back late on.

The performance itself was an encouraging sign though that Burnley are heading in the right direction, even if the results aren’t currently following.

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Jordan Beyer, Ameen Al-Dakhil, Han-Noah Massengo, Aaron Ramsey, Luca Koleosho and Nathan Redmond all remain sidelined.

As for Brentford, Bryan Mbuemo was an injury doubt but he was fit enough to be named on the bench.

Sergio Reguilon returned to start, but Ethan Pinnock, Josh Dasilva, Kevin Schade, Christian Norgaard, Aaron Hickey and Rico Henry were all missing.

Huge cheers rang out prior to kick-off as Muric’s name was read out, quickly followed by chants of “MURIC”.

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The noise levels went to another level just four minutes in following a hugely dramatic start to proceedings.

Burnley’s appeals for a fourth minute penalty initially fell on deaf ears after Vitinho was shoved to the ground by Sergio Reguilon from Josh Cullen’s clever cross.

But referee Darren Bond was sent to the pitchside monitor, which comically was left frozen for a couple of minutes. But once the replay emerged, Bond soon pointed to the spot. Not only that, he also brandished a straight red card for Reguilon.

Jacob Bruun Larsen was the man tasked with taking the resulting spot kick and he made no mistake from 12 yards, firing low into the bottom corner. Even though Mark Flekken dived the right way, he was unable to reach the pinpoint finish.

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The ten men of Brentford threatened for the first time in the 15th minute when they got in behind Sander Berge, but fortunately for the Clarets the cross deflected fortunately into Muric’s arms.

Ivan Toney, who was celebrating his 28th birthday just days after being handed an England call-up, headed well over after being left unmarked from a free-kick.

Midway through the half, Burnley almost conceded in comical circumstances as Dara O’Shea blindly passed the ball back to Muric. The only problem was, Muric wasn’t there, but thankfully the keeper was able to scramble back and clear off the line.

Despite the man advantage, Burnley were looking decidedly nervy and were offering little in the way of attacking pressure.

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But they did come close to a second, through Bruun Larsen again, when his low shot was well blocked from 12 yards out.

Three minutes before the break, Burnley squandered a golden opportunity to double their lead and put some much-needed space between the two sides.

It was a dreadful miss from David Fofana, who somehow managed to steer wide of an open goal from only a few yards out from Lorenz Assignon’s low pullback.

While the cross did come at him with some pace, there was no excuse not to be hitting the back of the Brentford net. Especially when you consider what he did from 25 yards last week…

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The half ended in entertaining circumstances, with action coming at both ends. First Brentford almost equalised when Toney picked out Yoane Wissa with a clever quick free-kick, but Muric stood tall to make a magnificent save.

Burnley hit back with two good chances, as Wilson Odobert saw a low shot blocked before Bruun Larsen’s effort was beaten away by Flekken.

More drama was to follow though as Fofana picked Flekken’s pockets after the Brentford keeper failed to spot the Burnley striker behind him, rolling the ball onto the floor in preparation to boot it forwards.

Fofana managed to steal it off him, but slipped at the crucial moment and the chance to add a second goal went begging.

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Burnley continued where they left off at the start of the first-half, coming close again as Vitinho came within inches of reaching Bruun Larsen’s driven cross into the six-yard box.

The game took a decisive turn midway through the second-half when Burnley finally found that second, just seconds after the Bees had threatened to level.

Substitute Keane Lewis-Potter was allowed to surge into the box after Vitinho had given the ball away from Burnley’s own corner. But Vitinho did superbly to recover to deny Lewis-Potter with a crucial last-ditch tackle.

The Clarets instantly broke at speed, with Odobert playing in Fofana who - after two costly misses - did the rest with a cute dink over the keeper.

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Odobert almost added a third shortly afterwards when he was sent through on goal, only to get it all wrong by skewing wide.

Burnley would be made to regret their missed chances when Brentford pulled one back seven minutes from time.

The Clarets could have no complaints, they had been warned seconds prior when Lewis-Potter was allowed to waltz into the box before seeing his goalbound effort deflect just wide.

Brentford maintained the pressure though and got one back through Kristoffer Ajer, whose clever header glanced into the back of Muric’s net in off the post.

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A nervousness engulfed Turf Moor, as Brentford went close again as Muric got down to save from Lewis-Potter’s header.

A nervy nine minutes of stoppage-time ensued, which included Kompany taking off a sub in Zeki Amdouni, who had only been brought on 20 minutes earlier.

Brentford did force the ball into the back of the net in the 96th minute when a cross looped over Muric, but it was quickly disallowed for a foul on the keeper from Toney.

Thankfully that proved to be the last drama of what was a crazy game as a huge roar greeted the final whistle. More in relief than anything else.

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Burnley: Muric, Assignon, O’Shea, Esteve, Taylor, Cullen, Berge, Vitinho, Bruun Larsen (Amdouni, Brownhill), Odobert, Fofana (Foster)

Subs not used: Trafford, Ekdal, Cork, Gudmundsson, Benson, Rodriguez

Brentford: Flekken, Ajer, Collins, Janelt (Baptiste), Roerslev (Lewis-Potter), Onyeka (Yarmoliuk), Reguilon, Jensen (Maupay), Zanka, Wissa (Mbuemo), Toney

Subs not used: Strakosha, Ji-Soo, Damsgaard, Ghoddas

Referee: Darren Bond

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