Burnley 2, Bolton Wanderers 0
Two second half strikes from record signing Andre Gray inspired the Clarets to victory over Bolton Wanderers at Turf Moor.
The £6m signing climbed to six goals for the campaign, including the two netted for Brentford, as Sean Dyche’s side moved to fifth in the Championship and level on points with second place Middlesbrough.
In a goalless first half, Tom Heaton, who was among the England squad that beat Estonia and Lithuania in the final Euro 2016 Group E qualifiers, was the first of the two goalkeepers called in to action.
The Clarets skipper flicked Neil Danns’ arrowing effort over the bar after Gary Madine had allowed Wellington Silva’s squared pass to run through to Darren Pratley in the build up.
Wellington, acquired on loan by Neil Lennon from Arsenal, then sliced harmlessly wide from 20 yards out once Darik Osede’s ball in to the box was headed clear.
The hosts, who had taken 16 points from a possible 21 going in to the derby, were slow to get out of the blocks but Gray went close when twisting and turning his way past Dorian Dervite before sliding a left-footed effort across Ben Amos and inches wide of the far post.
After Joey Barton was booked for a rash challenge on Wellington, the 22-year-old Brazilian supplied the corner that saw Trotters midfielder Liam Feeney draw a smart save from Heaton with a stinging volley. The Clarets stopper then stooped low to save Dervite’s header from another Wellington delivery.
There wasn’t much to rouse much of a reaction from the biggest crowd of the season at Turf Moor, with 17,632 housed inside the stadium, but a cluster of supporters were on their feet when Scott Arfield’s rasping drive flashed past the upright once the midfielder had traded passes with Sam Vokes on the edge of the box.
The Scot was involved again moments later as the home side created their best opening of the half.
Arfield slipped the ball between Osede and Dervite to free Vokes but, though the Welshman had Amos beaten with his effort, there wasn’t enough on the ball to prevent David Wheater recovering to clear off the line.
It was better from Burnley, though it was the visitors that signed off from the opening stanza with a shot on goal as Heaton sprawled to his right to deny substitute Mark Davies who had earlier replaced ther injured Jay Spearing.
However, 11 minutes in to the second half Gray finally gave the home support something to celebrate. Amos did exceptionally well to block Gray’s initial effort, and Arfield’s follow up, but the former Bees striker re-positioned himself well to fire in to an empty net from the rebound.
Wanderers pressed for an equaliser, with Wellington the preferred outlet, and it was the Gunner who whipped in a dangerous cross that needed crucial touches from both Michael Keane and Mee to thwart Madine and Feeney respectively.
The latter then ghosted in behind Mee to meet Jose Manuel Casado’s cross, but he powered his first time attempt in to the side-netting.
That was a big let off for the Clarets which they would duly go on to punish in the 68th minute. Arfield skipped a couple of challenges to mount the break before slipping the ball in to Gray who fired home after taking a touch and composing himself.
The scoreline sunk the away side to the foot of the table, as they faced extending their run to one win in 11 outings, but they couldn’t find a way through a resilient Clarets rearguard to alter that.
Wellington shaped a set-piece narrowly wide of Heaton’s left hand post and Darikwa hacked off the line from Wheater’s header as Burnley recorded a third clean sheet of the campaign.
And Gray was also denied a hat-trick when stabbing Vokes’s penetrative pass goalwards, but Amos saved at the near post.