CARDIFF, BRITAIN (AFP) – Burnley’s Sam Vokes scored the decisive goal in a 2-1 victory away to Cardiff City on Sunday (Sept 30) that left the Welsh club still looking for their first Premier League win of the season.
Defeat left Cardiff second bottom in the table, above basement club Huddersfield on goal difference alone with both sides having drawn two and lost five of their opening seven league matches this term.
“It is a blow to lose a game like today, because we can’t play much better than that,” Cardiff manager Neil Warnock told the BBC. “Once again the fans were amazing, they really are enjoying it and supporting us.”
By contrast, victory saw Burnley climb to 12th in the table, with Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Vokes scoring either side of Josh Murphy’s equaliser for the Bluebirds.
It was the first time Burnley, who thrashed Bournemouth 4-0 last week, had recorded back-to-back wins in the English top-flight since April.
The one downside for Burnley was that England defender James Tarkowski went off after just 27 minutes with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. And that could prove to be a problem for England manager Gareth Southgate as well ahead of next month’s Nations League internationals against Croatia and Spain.
Promoted Cardiff always knew they were in for a tough season and things are unlikely to get any easier for Warnock’s side, with trips to Tottenham Hotspur and high-flying Liverpool to come in October.
A largely forgettable first half saw Murphy hit the woodwork, while Burnley’s former England goalkeeper Joe Hart then saved well from Kenneth Zohore.
Cardiff also had a penalty appeal turned down when referee Martin Atkinson decided Burnley defender Matt Lowton, who blocked a Callum Paterson overhead kick in front of his face, was so close to the Bluebirds forward that any handball could not have been deliberate.
“I watched Newcastle v Leicester on Saturday and there was a handball in that game, this lad had his hand in an unnatural position and it was a penalty,” a frustrated Warnock told Sky Sports.
“We don’t get them as smaller clubs, that would have changed the game,” the veteran English manager added.
Burnley went ahead in the 51st minute when a quick throw caught Cardiff unawares before Gudmundsson headed in a cross from Ashley Westwood.
But Cardiff were level just nine minutes later when Murphy scored his first goal for the club. The former Norwich man then let fly from 20 yards only to be denied by Hart’s fingertip save.
It was a stop made all the more important when the Clarets regained the lead when a stooping Vokes headed home in the 70th minute.
“Sam Vokes’s goal was a great header, that’s difficult,” said Burnley manager Sean Dyche.
“He had to generate all the power into it. It wasn’t a fantastic performance but it was Burnley-like, we stayed in the game. It shows that the undercurrent of Burnley that we have built is still there.”