Burnley ended a three-game losing streak with a 2-0 win over West Ham in the Premier League on Sunday to boost its hopes of climbing out of the relegation zone.
Chris Wood and Dwight McNeil scored in the first half against a surprisingly toothless West Ham side, giving Burnley only its second win since Sept. 30. Sean Dyche’s side remained in 18th place, but now only trails Southampton on goal difference and is just four points from 14th in a tight bottom third of the table.
Four days after losing 5-1 at home to Everton, Burnley looked resolute at the back and confident going forward as Wood opened the scoring in the 15th minute and the 19-year-old McNeil netted his first goal for the club in the 34th.
Dyche made a number of changes from the Everton defeat, including dropping goalkeeper Joe Hart to the bench and giving McNeil his second league start of the season.
McNeil set Ashley Barnes up for a chance inside two minutes, but the forward shot narrowly wide. However, Barnes then turned provider as he headed the ball down for Wood to put the hosts ahead. Burnley continued to push forward and doubled the lead when West Ham failed to clear its lines and Ashley Westwood’s deep cross toward the far post found McNeil sliding in to apply the finish.
McNeil could have scored a third when Barnes cut the ball back for him seven minutes before the break, but he could not get his foot around the ball and sent it just wide.
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini swapped Lucas Perez for Andy Carroll at the break, hoping for a shift in momentum. However, Burnley nearly scored a third moments after the restart when Barnes beat the offside trap and pulled the ball back for Wood, but, as he prepared for an easy tap-in, Angelo Ogbonna made a last-ditch challenge to turn the ball away.
Minutes later, Lukasz Fabianski made a point-blank save to deny Barnes, keeping the Hammers in it.
West Ham, which is in 11th place, struggled to test Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton until a curling effort from Carroll in the 66th which the goalkeeper held low to his right.
Substitute Xande Silva saw a shot deflect narrowly wide and Heaton then made an outstanding save to push Carroll’s header onto the crossbar in the dying minutes.
Source: The Associated Press