Photos: Burnley 1, Everton 3
This time four years ago a teenage Danny Ings scored Dorchester Town’s opener in a 2-1 win over Staines Town at Wheatsheaf Park in the Conference South.
Today he netted his first goal in the Premier League for the Clarets against Everton at Turf Moor.
The striker’s rise up the pyramid of English football has been seismic. Now 22 - having been handed his Football League debut by Sean Dyche’s predecessor Eddie Howe in a 2-0 loss for Bournemouth against MK Dons in 2010 - Ings is competing among the country’s elite in England’s top tier.
The England Under 21 international, who scored 26 goals in all competitions last term, rounded Toffees keeper Tim Howard in the 20th minute to register the milestone.
Unfortunately, the Clarets remain the only club in the country without a win this season as Roberto Martinez’s side climbed to ninth courtesy of a brace from Samuel Eto’o and Romelu Lukaku’s fortuitous strike.
The 33-year-old Cameroon forward, who made his international debut for his nation while Ings was still dreaming about becoming a footballer as an infant, scored the opener within the first three minutes of the fixture.
A sweeping move from right to left - involving Seamus Coleman, Steven Naismith, Eto’o, Lukaku and Gareth Barry - resulted in Leighton Baines whipping in the cross and Eto’o thumping a header home off the underside of the bar. It was the former Barcelona striker’s first goal on the road in the Premier League.
Lukaku dragged an effort wide after profiting from Michael Kightly’s mistake while Stephen Ward - called in to Dyche’s XI at the expense of Ben Mee - and David Jones had efforts blocked in quick succession ahead of the home side’s leveller.
It came via Lukaku’s lackadaisical pass with summer signing Lukas Jutkiewicz threading the pass in to strike partner Ings who coolly round Howard before slotting in to an empty net. Those days at the Avenue Stadium with the Magpies would’ve seemed a lifetime ago as he celebrated in front of 19,927 fans housed within the stadium and the Sky cameras.
The Clarets were only on level terms for eight minutes, however. After Scott Arfield drilled a half-volley wide of Howard’s upright - with the American plunging desperately to the foot of his post - Lukaku atoned for his earlier mistake to restore the away side’s lead.
Burnley’s defence was pulled apart as Everton expertly penetrated even the smallest pockets of space; Naismith, Eto’o and Lukaku combined intricately and the Belgium international found the corner at the second attempt thanks to a deflection after Ward had blocked his initial shot.
As the half progressed, Jutkiewicz rolled defender Antolin Alcaraz on the halfway line and closed in on goal only to blaze wide of the near post from an uncompromising angle.
Jones’s free-kick then cannoned back off the wall after Kightly was felled on the edge of the box before Arfield eased past Barry and struck inches wide of the angle from 25 yards in the run up to the interval.
Heaton saved Naismith’s header from Leon Osman’s centre unconventionally just moments before Andre Marriner’s whistle.
The second stanza proved much of the same as the Clarets bossed possession but couldn’t find the quality or enterprise to expose the visitors.
Jutkiewicz, who joined Goodison Park in 2007 when signed by David Moyes, failed to punish Alcaraz’s hesitancy deep inside the area when tamely finding the arms of Howard with an unconvincing header.
Everton’s display was crisp and, at times, overpowering. Eto’o tested Heaton again with a bending effort from outside the box after trading passes with Lukaku. By this time the holes in Burnley’s usually water-tight framework were expanding.
Heaton then needed to turn Baines’s perfectly executed set-piece around the post as the effort threatened to find a corner.
And it was game over in the 85th minute when Eto’o rounded the game off with an exquisite finish to make it 3-1. Substitute Steven Pienaar, who had replaced Osman just moments earlier, placed the ball in to the feet off the seasoned striker and he used all of his experience to open his body, take a glance, and shape the ball around Heaton and in to the far corner. It was a world class finish from a confident, assured and proven world class striker.
Ings fired over after gliding past Coleman in the closing stages, Heaton saved from Naismith at his near post, while Eto’o almost completed his hat-trick when pouncing on Kieran Trippier’s misplaced pass, rounding Heaton before sliding an effort on to the inside of the far post that returned back along the goal-line.
The Clarets remain on four points and second bottom of the league ahead of QPR’s clash with Aston Villa at Loftus Road tomorrow evening.