Wood Strikes Late As Burnley Fight Back To Sink Villa

Burnley
Soccer Football – Premier League – Burnley v Aston Villa – Turf Moor, Burnley, Britain – January 27, 2021 Burnley’s Chris Wood celebrates scoring their third goal with teammates Pool via REUTERS/Molly Darlington

BURNLEY — Chris Wood grabbed a 79th-minute winner as Burnley came from behind to beat Aston Villa 3-2 at Turf Moor in the Premier League on Wednesday.

Villa could have put the game to bed before the break after opening up the Burnley defence with ease but Clarets keeper Nick Pope was again in inspired form as he kept his team in the game.

Ollie Watkins put Villa ahead in the 14th minute with a deft finish to turn in a low cross from Matt Targett before Pope set about keeping Dean Smith’s side at bay. 

The England number two keeper kept out a blast from Bertrand Traore before blocking a Watkins effort with Ross Barkley hitting the bar after volleying the loose ball.

Villa were toying with the Burnley defence and in the final moments before halftime Pope was called into action by Tyrone Mings and Targett.

Prior to the match, Villa had gone on to win each of their nine Premier League games in which they had opened the scoring, while Burnley were the only top-flight side yet to recover a single point after conceding the first goal.

Yet both those runs came to an end in an unexpected second half.

Burnley skipper Ben Mee put the Clarets level after the interval with a thundering header at the back post from an Ashley Westwood cross.

The outstanding Jack Grealish restored the visitors’ advantage, though, in the 68th minute with a smart finish after a clever exchange with Douglas Luiz.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Burnley v Aston Villa – Turf Moor, Burnley, Britain – January 27, 2021 Burnley’s Chris Wood scores their third goal Pool via REUTERS/Carl Recine

But Burnley, who ended Liverpool’s 68-match unbeaten home run last week, fought back again as Dwight McNeil made it 2-2 with a low cross-shot from the left which went through a crowded area into the bottom corner.

Winger McNeil turned provider in the 79th minute, whipping in a cross from the left flank which Wood met with a perfectly angled header.

Burnley, 15th in the table, moved on to 22 points and Villa dropped to 10th on 29. 

“We got the equaliser and had grit and determination to come back again. It was fantastic from the lads,” said New Zealander Wood.

“It’s all about character in our team and we’ve got an abundance of it. We like to show people what we are about and what Burnley are about,” he said.

Smith was left to rue his side’s failure to convert those first-half opportunities.

“The game should’ve been over at halftime, the chances that we created, they were quality chances,” he said. 

“Pope has made some really good saves but the game should’ve been out of sight. I’ve just said to the players, it’s very tough to win any game in this league and we have started the season so well but you can’t get three points the way we played tonight.”

Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond and Toby Davis; Reuters

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