Photos: Blackpool 0, Burnley 1

The Clarets now await the result of Derby County’s clash with Doncaster Rovers after Michael Kightly’s strike put his side within touching distance of the Premier League.

Friday, 18th April 2014, 10:37 pm
Burnley players celebrate their 1-0 win in front of the travelling fans

The winger’s 49th minute winner opened up an 11 point gap over the Rams, with Steve McClaren’s outfit having just four games remaining, inclusive of the fixture at the Keepmoat Stadium. Anything but a win for County would secure promotion for the Clarets.

The visitors pressed early on and the goalscorer could’ve found the net twice within the opening 10 minutes.

His first attempt arrived when youngster Harrison McGahey - making his debut after signing his first senior contract with the Seasiders earlier in the week - climbed above Ashley Barnes to head Kieran Trippier’s cross in to his path, but as Kightly stepped past Craig Cathcart his tame effort was gathered by Matthew Gilks.

Sign up to our daily Burnley Express Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Burnley players celebrate their 1-0 win in front of the travelling fans

Kightly was then presented with another opportunity moments later when full-back Jack Robinson’s short back pass was cut out, but the Stoke City loanee failed to compose himself and struck the legs of Gilks, with the goalkeeper spreading himself well to narrow the angle.

On the half hour mark, after David Goodwillie sliced wide once Dean Marney conceded possession on the edge of his own box, Cathcart’s slip presented Scott Arfield with the ball and his slide rule pass freed Danny Ings but the striker once again failed to test Gilks.

Barnes’s effort dipped wide of the far upright after the striker came out with the ball following an aerial battle with Blackpool player-manager Barry Ferguson and Isaiah Osbourne, while at the other end Andy Halliday - who had replaced the injured Robinson - powered a header wide after towering above Trippier to meet Tony McMahon’s centre.

After the break Chris Basham was forced to hack clear inside the six yard box after Kightly had beaten Halliday and rolled a pass across goal, and from David Jones’s resulting corner Michael Duff smashed an effort wide of the near post with Gilks rooted to the spot.

Eventually, the Clarets got the goal they so desperately needed to keep rivals Derby at arms length.

And it was a superb strike. with Trippier and Kightly hugging the touchline, the latter found the opening to trade passes infield with Marney, drive towards the edge of the box, and measure a sensational shot across Gilks that nestled in to the far corner. Cue delirium among the thousands of Clarets supporters housed inside Bloomfield Road.

After that both sides struggled to force openings with both Tom Heaton and Gilks untested, but the home side pushed forward to force a leveller in a bid to salvage their Championship status.

And they came close to an equaliser deep in to time added on when Trippier flicked Halliday’s looping volley over the bar after Jason Shackell had headed McMahon’s corner to the angle of the penalty area.

Referee Michael Oliver’s full-time whistle sparked jubilation and celebration among the away fans, but protest and demonstration from a pocket of home supporters who vented their frustration at club chairman Karl Oyston.