Burnley 1, Stoke City 0

Burnley climbed in to the Champions League spots after substitute Ashley Barnes secured victory over Stoke City.

Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 11:00 pm
Ashley Barnes fires home the winner

The Clarets temporarily leapfrogged Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool to propel themselves in to fourth spot in the Premier League.

The game seemed to be heading for a stalemate until Barnes netted his second goal of the season in the 89th minute.

A remarkable statistic circulating ahead of kick off at Turf Moor shamed Stoke City's top flight record on the road on a Tuesday, with the potters failing to win away in 53 attempts dating back to 1906.

Ashley Barnes fires home the winner

Mark Hughes's men did, however, have the better of a first half which saw the Clarets suffer yet another defensive casualty.

Though Burnley have made the most headed clearances in the division, clocking up 303, striker Peter Crouch was preferred to Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting up top for the visitors.

And the veteran forward was doing his all to prove to Gareth Southgate, who took up his position in the Bob Lord Stand, that he deserved consideration for the final World Cup squad.

The one-time England international was denied by a combination of goalkeeper Nick Pope and the base of the post when James Tarkowski failed to cut out Ramadan Sobhi's cross and he went within a whisker of getting a touch on Xherdan Shaqiri's in-swinging delivery not long after.

Jack Cork holds off the challenge from Stoke City's Erik Pieters

In terrible conditions, with the wind and rain prescribing an unwelcoming icy blast, Pope once again kept his impressive record intact when denying Kurt Zouma from Shaqiri's corner.

It just wasn't seeming to click for the Clarets and the away side threatened again when Mame Biram Diouf fired in to the side-netting when rolling off the shoulder of Tarkowski from Shaqiri's slide rule pass.

Burnley are rarely shy in front of goal but their only chance in the first 45 minutes of action fell to Johann Berg Gudmundsson.

The Icelandic international whipped the ball just around the upright from the angle of the penalty area after Scott Arfield's volley had been blocked by Crouch.

Ashley Barnes fires home the winner

The home side's back line had taken an almighty hit in recent weeks in terms of personnel.

Going in to the Arsenal game last month, the club's recognised back four had played every minute of every Premier League fixture.

Matt Lowton was first to go for the Clarets, who are also without skipper Tom Heaton, and Ben Mee was next.

And once Stephen Ward became the latest casualty, Tarkowski was the only man remaining from the initial line-up. As a result, Charlie Taylor was handed his league debut.

Jack Cork holds off the challenge from Stoke City's Erik Pieters

Both keepers had little to do for the remainder of the half with Ramadan registering the only attempt of any note though his attempt from distance drifted harmlessly wide.

The second half proved just as quiet for the majority as both sides failed to find the formula to generate any kind of spark.

Three Lions stopper did everything expected of him when watching the ball all the way to gather when Steven Defour tried his luck from distance.

Gudmundsson also skewed horribly wide at the back post after record signing Chris Wood failed with the acrobatics from Phil Bardsley's delivery.

Once Crouch fired over on the turn from substitute Choupo-Moting's headed assist it looked like that was that.

However, in an incredible finale, Barnes thumped the ball past Butland having cushioned Jack Cork's long pass and traded passes with Arfield.

The Clarets are in dreamland.