Photos: Burnley 3, Birmingham City 0
Two goals from Danny Ings either side of a Scott Arfield header have given the Clarets a comfortable victory over Birmingham City.
His first came in a League One outing for Bournemouth as the Cherries drew 2-2 with Yeovil at Huish Park on April 23rd, 2011.
This time the striker arrived at the double, scoring in either half, to give the Clarets their first maximum over Brum since the 2-1 Premier League victory at Turf Moor.
The 21-year-old top scorer notched his sixth of the season with only three minutes on the clock when storming between Paul Caddis and Kyle Bartley to delicately lift the ball over Darren Randolph after strike partner Sam Vokes had supplied the perfect through ball.
But Ings should have added another moments later when David Jones pounced on Tom Adeyemi’s slip and picked out Scott Arfield with the former Terrier rolling the ball expertly to Ings inside the area but the striker bent the ball left-footed around the near post.
At that point you feared that Ings would pay for that miss, but Tom Heaton went untested throughout the half as the hosts commanded the fixture.
The visitors, captained by Wade Elliott who received a great ovation, seemed fragile at the back and gifted the Clarets ample space which they duly exploited. However, Randolph had little to do but collect crosses for the remainder of the half.
Brum did threaten on one occasion when Jonathan Spector won possession in the centre of the field and found Chris Burke to his right with the winger utilising his pace to beat Ben Mee at the bye line and drill across goal, though Lee Novak failed to apply a touch on the stretch.
As the opening 45 minutes wore on, Ings headed over from Michael Kightly’s centre after the loanee was picked out by Michael Duff’s diagonal pass before Vokes sliced wide of the near post from an Ings assist after Jones had cut out Bartley’s pass.
In the second half, City’s weaknesses were exaggerated further as the Clarets cruelly toyed with their opponents.
An early change saw Danny Lafferty replace Mee and there was also an early change to the scoreline as Arfield made it 2-0 within a minute of the restart.
With the City backline in disarray, Kightly cut past Shane Ferguson on to his left foot and floated a cross to Arfield at the back post who looped a delightful header over Randolph and in to the far corner.
As the onslaught continued, Dean Marney was denied from close range by a last ditch challenge from Burn after Trippier had fired in to the midfielder’s legs from the edge of the box.
Novak, who endured a frustrating existence when isolated as the lone striker, headed over the bar which was sandwiched between two changes from Lee Clark as Mitch Hancox replaced Ferguson while Darren Ambrose was withdrawn for Reece Brown.
That failed to change the complexion of the game as the Clarets charge continued and the third goal arrived in the 54th minute.
Bartley, startled by Vokes, failed to clear his lines and Arfield benefited as he headed in to the path of Ings who burst in to the area and coolly finished past Randolph for his seventh of the campaign.
That’s where the scoring finished but there could’ve been plenty more. Dyche’s side played in the gulf between City’s defence and midfield and another intricate, free-flowing build-up resulted in Vokes headed back across Eandolph and just wide of the far post from Trippier’s inswinging cross.
Elliott was relatively anonymous in the centre of the park on his return, but took matters in to his own hands midway through the half when thumping an effort goalwards which flashed wide of the near post as it grazed the fingertips of Heaton.
Ings could’ve grabbed his hat-trick on two occasions, firstly blazing over when taking on Bartley inside the area before glancing a header wide from Trippier’s clipped cross.
But that dream was soon over when, after Junior Stanislas was introduced at the expense of Kightly, he was replaced by Keith Treacy.
The remainder of the fixture proved a formality and the Clarets can now go in to the clash with Leeds United at Elland Road on Saturday in confident mood.