Burnley overwhelmed Blackburn Rovers with three second-half goals as Vincent Kompany’s Clarets returned to the top of the Championship in style.
Ashley Barnes opened his league account for the season to score twice, either side of one from Belgian winger Anass Zaroury, as Rovers ended up on the wrong side of a local derby hammering.
In the first league meeting between the two old East Lancashire rivals in six-and-a-half years, and the last Championship game before the World Cup break, it took the hosts until just before half-time to test visiting keeper Thomas Kaminski.
But it was a different story after Barnes put Burnley ahead on 55 minutes, timing his run to meet Zaroury’s left-wing cross and power a header into the bottom right corner.
They then doubled their lead on 74 minutes when Barnes’ right-foot volley on the turn was well saved by Kaminski, the ball ran loose and Zaroury drilled in a low right-foot shot from the edge of the box – for his sixth Clarets goal of the season.
And Barnes, who like two-goal Zaroury had also scored in the 3-1 midweek Carabao Cup win over Crawley, wrapped up the scoring nine minutes from time.
But, after a resolute defensive stonewalling display from Rovers before the break, Burnley ended up bouncing back with a winning three-goal margin of their own.
It began to turn Burnley’s way just before the break when Belgian keeper Kaminski made two fine saves inside a couple of minutes, first at point-blank range from on-loan Manchester City defender Taylor Harwood-Bellis, then tipping over Josh Cullen’s header.
But Barnes finally broke the deadlock to send most of Turf Moor into rapture when Zaroury got the better of Ryan Hedges out wide and Barnes bulleted home his header.
Nathan Tella’s flick then teed up Barnes for his well-struck volley, from which the luckless Kaminski’s fine save was pounced on by Zaroury.
Then Josh Brownhill skipped past Clinton Mola and pulled his cross back for Barnes, who calmly slipped a challenge to fired home the third – and stretch their advantage over third-placed Rovers to five points.
Amid the Burnley celebrations near full-time, a firework was let off from outside the ground, with its remnants falling on the pitch. Thankfully, none of the players were hit by the falling debris.
The Championship now goes into its enforced World Cup break, even though none of the players involved in Sunday’s action at Turf Moor will be in Qatar.
Burnley have just one player involved, Wales defender Conor Roberts, who was an unused substitute, while Rovers are one of nine Championship clubs without a representative at the first winter World Cup.
Rovers go straight back into another Lancashire derby, with a home game against Preston North End on Saturday, 10 December.
Burnley are back in action the following day at faltering QPR, but they may have been knocked off the top again by then as second-placed Sheffield United play the day before at home to bottom side Huddersfield.
- 22da Silva
- 29MaatsenSubstituted forTaylorat 83′minutes
- 4CorkBooked at 61mins
- 17ManuelSubstituted forTellaat 71′minutes
- 19ZarourySubstituted forGudmundssonat 88′minutes
- 10BarnesSubstituted forDervisogluat 87′minutes
- 4AyalaBooked at 86mins
- 30GarrettSubstituted forBuckleyat 70′minutes
- 27TravisBooked at 42minsSubstituted forDackat 76′minutes
- 9GallagherSubstituted forValeat 53′minutes
- David Coote
Match ends, Burnley 3, Blackburn Rovers 0.
Second Half ends, Burnley 3, Blackburn Rovers 0.
Substitution, Burnley. Jóhann Gudmundsson replaces Anass Zaroury.
Substitution, Burnley. Halil Dervisoglu replaces Ashley Barnes.
Foul by Taylor Harwood-Bellis (Burnley).
Dominic Hyam (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Daniel Ayala (Blackburn Rovers) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt blocked. Taylor Harwood-Bellis (Burnley) header from very close range is blocked. Assisted by Josh Brownhill with a cross.
Corner, Burnley. Conceded by Clinton Mola.
Corner, Burnley. Conceded by Daniel Ayala.
Corner, Burnley. Conceded by Daniel Ayala.
Attempt blocked. Jack Cork (Burnley) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Taylor Harwood-Bellis.
Nathan Tella (Burnley) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by John Buckley (Blackburn Rovers).
Substitution, Burnley. Charlie Taylor replaces Ian Maatsen.
Goal! Burnley 3, Blackburn Rovers 0. Ashley Barnes (Burnley) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Josh Brownhill.
Offside, Burnley. Ian Maatsen tries a through ball, but Ashley Barnes is caught offside.
Hand ball by Ryan Hedges (Blackburn Rovers).
Foul by Josh Brownhill (Burnley).
Clinton Mola (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick on the left wing.