Matej Vydra’s superb goal boosted Burnley’s hopes of playing in Europe for the second time in three years as they won a weather-affected Premier League game at Southampton.
The result lifts the Clarets up to 10th, five points behind Sheffield United in fifth.
The visitors had made the perfect start, Ashley Westwood scoring direct from a corner after 93 seconds.
Danny Ings, who was deceived by the flight of the ball for Westwood’s goal, made amends by equalising with a rasping drive into the bottom right corner from 18 yards.
With Saints mastering the wet and windy conditions brought on by Storm Dennis better than their opponents, Jack Stephens then headed Sofiane Boufal’s delivery against the Burnley crossbar as the hosts pressed for a winner.
But Vydra’s stunning left-foot effort, into the top-left corner from 18 yards, ensured Burnley claimed their first league double over Southampton since 1947.
Clarets aim for Europe
Burnley arrived on the south coast after winning at Old Trafford in their last away game.
And a typically gritty performance, illuminated by Vydra’s goal, helped them equal their longest unbeaten run of the run of the season, four matches.
It was not always pretty from Burnley, who already had the worst pass-completion rate in the Premier League and who slipped to 61% here, but crucially it was effective.
Full-backs Charlie Taylor and Phil Bardsley routinely hit the channels while the likes of Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil and Jeff Hendrick remained on the periphery of the action.
Dyche’s side last qualified for European competition in 2017-18, with a seventh-place Premier League finish, and may well fancy their chances of emulating that achievement.
Games against Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham aside, the Clarets have a reasonably promising run-in.
And if Manchester City’s ban from European club competitions is upheld, it opens up the possibility of the team finishing fifth playing in the Champions League, with Europa League qualification extending further down the table.
Saints cause own problems
If Burnley were rewarded for their no-nonsense approach to defending, the opposite was true for Southampton.
While Saints went into this contest with seven wins from 12 matches they once again displayed their vulnerability at home.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have now lost eight times at St Mary’s this season and many of those defeats appear to have been self-inflicted – with orders to play out from the back in challenging conditions continually causing them problems here.
Hasenhuttl had also suggested his team could use the elements in their favour against Burnley but instead saw his side immediately caught out by conditions as the visitors scored their quickest ever away goal in the Premier League.
Up against the club where he made his name, Ings curiously moved out of the way of Westwood’s corner, which – with nobody on the near post and goalkeeper Alex McCarthy out of position – crept over the line.
Ings did at least redeem himself with his 15th goal of the season, his best return since scoring 21 for the Clarets in the Championship six years ago.
But it was not enough to add to the 11 points they have taken at home, which is the worst record in the division.
Man of the match – Ben Mee (Burnley)
‘We scored a sublime goal’ – what they said
Burnley boss Sean Dyche speaking to Match of the Day: “It was incredibly poor conditions for travelling let alone football. A tough game, really tough. We had to dig in again like we do.
“We didn’t take a grip of the game [after we scored], they did. We waited for the game to come to us and you can’t do that. They were better than us first half. Second half, we calmed the game down. We scored a sublime goal.
“Chris Wood has got a hamstring [problem]. We’re happy he got off quick and could feel it early. We don’t spend massive amounts of money and so that involves a whole squad of players. Matej Vydra keeps himself right and he’s delivered.”
Southampton boss Ralph Haseenhuttl speaking to Match of the Day: “First half was OK. We come back from a stupid goal in the second minute. We played better football than the opponent but it’s always difficult to make chances against this team. The second half it is very difficult to keep them in their half.
“It was the worst start you can imagine. The reaction was OK. In the end we are not good enough second half. We are not aggressive enough and didn’t find the solutions for putting them under pressure.
On a penalty not awarded against Ben Mee for possible handball: “It’s boring to discuss this to be honest, there is no clear line. As you want… continue. We could have this discussion every week.”
Southampton’s leaky defence – the stats
- Burnley are unbeaten in their past seven Premier League meetings with Southampton (W4 D3).
- Southampton have won just 11 points at home in the Premier League this season (P13 W3 D2 L8), fewer than any other side.
- Burnley have won back-to-back away Premier League games for the first time since April 2018 (a run of three).
- Southampton have conceded 30 goals in their 13 home league games this season, the first English top-flight side to concede so many after just 13 home matches from the start of a campaign since Ipswich Town in 1963-64 (31).
- Ashley Westwood’s opener after 93 seconds was the earliest away goal Burnley have ever scored in the Premier League.
- Danny Ings has scored 18 goals in all competitions this season – the last Southampton player to score more in a season with Saints as a top-flight club was James Beattie in 2002-03 (24).
- Among English Premier League players, only Marcus Rashford (19) and Raheem Sterling (20) have scored more goals in all club competitions this season than Ings.
- Matej Vydra’s winner for Burnley was just his fifth Premier League goal, his first away from home, and first overall since September 2018.
Southampton host Aston Villa in their next Premier League game on Saturday, 22 February (15:00 GMT). Burnley are next in action in the Premier League on the same day when they welcome Bournemouth to Turf Moor (15:00 GMT).
Article courtesy of BBC Sport