The Verdict: Burnley take a step closer to the 100 point mark through hard work and another moment of magic

Burnley enjoyed their first outing as confirmed title winners as they claimed a 2-1 victory over Bristol City at Ashton Gate.
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Manuel Benson was on hand once again with a superb strike in the 33rd minute, while Jay Rodriguez put the Clarets back in front moments after the Robins had equalised through Tommy Conway.

This result helps Vincent Kompany’s side take another step closer to the 100 point mark in the Championship table.

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The game certainly had an end of season feel to it in periods, with both sides already knowing their fates for next season, but ultimately it still proved to be a well contested game.

Jay Rodriguez celebrates his goal (Credit: Ian Cook/CameraSport)Jay Rodriguez celebrates his goal (Credit: Ian Cook/CameraSport)
Jay Rodriguez celebrates his goal (Credit: Ian Cook/CameraSport)

Certainly in the latter stages, the teams were battling hard to get the win.

After securing the title at Ewood Park against Blackburn on Tuesday night, the Burnley squad could’ve subconsciously switched off, but that didn’t seem to be the case.

While there were a few nervy moments at Ashton Gate, the high work rate of the group was evident.

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They did the ugly stuff towards the end of the game, and that was certainly required to get them over the line.

Manuel Benson scored another memorable goal (Credit: Ian Cook/CameraSport)Manuel Benson scored another memorable goal (Credit: Ian Cook/CameraSport)
Manuel Benson scored another memorable goal (Credit: Ian Cook/CameraSport)
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Kompany made five changes for the match- with Benson among those coming into the starting 11.

The attacker’s brilliance is clear to see, as he produced yet another wonder goal.

His strike against Blackburn on Tuesday night will go down in Burnley folklore for what it meant, but it’s been part of a collection.

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The Robins defence would’ve been aware of this, but that still didn’t help them when trying to deal with the threat.

His quick feet once again allowed him to cut inside from the right, before releasing a superb shot into the top left corner.

It was probably a better finish than the one against Rovers, but will be the least talked about in years to come.

Every time Benson picked up the ball on the wing, the travelling Clarets fans urged him to try his luck.

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He demonstrated that he can bring the same spark from the start of a match as he does from the bench.

Meanwhile, there were a number of improved performances from Tuesday’s game at Ewood Park.

Josh Brownhill looked more effective in midfield, and made some great contributions at both ends of the field.

Vitinho was also a lot more involved as he started on the left side, while Ian Maatsen put in a strong display as well.

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The defence as a whole was solid enough, but they did experience some nervy moments.

Some of this probably stemmed from Bailey Peacock-Farrell who didn’t look confident with the ball at his feet and did invite some pressure onto the team.

Bristol City produced an expertly executed counterattack for Tommy Conway’s goal, with Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Ameen Al-Dakhil scrambling to deal with the situation.

It was fantastic to see Rodriguez get the winner, with his goal coming moments after the Robins’ equaliser.

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Scott Twine deserves enormous credit for his work in the build-up, as he did superb to win the ball back.

After missing a similar chance shortly before- Rodriguez was never going to waste that one.

He started the season well, but unfortunately injuries have restricted him for large parts of the year.

Going back up to the Premier League, the 33-year-old could play a role.

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He can still make the difference on the field- if he’s able to put a run of games together.

His experience in the league will also be key, so hopefully everything will align in the final year of his contract.

Rodriguez came on in the last few minutes of the first half to replace Lyle Foster, who went off with a head injury following a clash earlier in the game.

It was a shame for the January signing as he was looking bright.

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He was getting into the game quite well and holding up possession- as well as having a couple of chances.

The first came on the half hour mark.

After making a good run in behind the Bristol defence, he dragged the ball wide across the face of goal- when he should’ve been testing Max O'Leary.

Shortly after, he had another attempt- this time on target, but straight at the keeper.

Kompany made the decision to sub him after he started feeling dizzy- which is the only appropriate call in these situations, even when players think they can continue.

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It was nice to see the Clarets receive a guard of honour ahead of the game, with a nice bit of respect shown by the home side.

The manner in which Burnley have won the Championship this season make them even more deserving of these moments.

They have just been an excellent team to watch- and hopefully they can keep this identity in the Premier League, even if the importance of the ugly side of the game will be amplified.

There was a lovely moment after the game at Ashton Gate, where the players cooling down kept jumping in celebration in front of the away end every time they jogged in that direction.

A big day now awaits the club at Turf Moor next week.

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No doubt the atmosphere will be electric and the entirety of the squad will receive a heroes welcome.

It’ll be a good time for the players to reflect and perhaps truly realise what they’ve achieved this season.

A year on from relegation; it’s amazing just how quickly a mood can change, with the woes from 12 months ago now a distant nightmare for the Clarets fans.