Scott Arfield snatched a last gasp winner against Everton to clinch Burnley’s third win of the season.
The Clarets also scored late in the first half to go 1-0 up after a Maarten Stekelenburg mistake allowed Sam Vokes to tap home. But Everton dominated the second half and drew level through Yannick Bolasie just before the hour mark. Their efforts to head back to Goodison Park with all three points were nullified by a stingy Burnley defence.
And in virtually their only chance in the second half, Burnley took advantage of Everton’s lack of conviction. Johan Gudmundsson shot crashed off the bar and Arfield caught the rebound on the half-volley. The strike bounced past Stekelenburg and into the bottom corner to hand The Clarets all three points.
Vokes edges Burnley ahead
It was the Everton who started the better, troubling the Burnley defence with some high tempo attacking moves. After a moment of confusion between The Clarets’ centre back pairing, Kevin Mirallas fired at goal but Tom Heaton was able to palm away the danger.
Encouraged by Burnley’s shaky start, Everton continued to pressure Sean Dyche’s men. Bolasie hit wide with a bicycle kick before Romelu Lukaku again tested the keeper. The returning Ross Barkley was next. Using Bryan Oviedo’s overlapping run, Barkley cut inside and curled a teasing shot heading for the far corner. The Burnley ‘keeper watched it all the way and pushed it to safety. Three shots on target for the Blues, three assuring Heaton saves.
Everton’s flurry of attacks duly petered out. Burnley began to pose questions, mainly in the air. Lukaku’s mishit clearance allowed Arfield to get a shot away, before Michael Kightly’s half-volley floated safely over.
Then on the brink of half time Vokes made Everton pay. A fantastic Gudmundsson flick fell to Arfield who turned and raced at the Everton backline. Reaching the edge of the area his low shot was deflected and looked to be heading wide. But Everton’s hero last week made a costly error. The Dutchman reached out and touched the ball into Vokes’ path who had the easy job of tapping home from two yards out.
Bolasie gets Everton back on track
As the second half got underway, Everton resumed control of the game. Their patient build-up was often thwarted by their inability to find the final ball, or more specifically Bolasie’s dithering on the ball in wide positions. Countless times he received the ball in space but took too long to get his cross in.
And yet, after almost an hour of frustrating the travelling support, he was the one to draw Everton level. Idrissa Gueye, who was at his tenacious best in midfield, stole the ball in his own half and let Gareth Barry take over. The 36-year-old played a sublime through ball ahead of Lukaku, who touched it into the path of the galloping Congolese winger. Taking charge, he pushed Lukaku off the ball, proceeded into the box and fired a low drive into the bottom corner.
After scoring his first Everton goal, Bolasie was then at the centre of everything Everton did going forward. He and Coleman combined down the right, allowing the Ireland captain to slide the ball across goal. Burnley’s ever-dependable centre back, Michael Keane, stretched just enough to poke the ball out for a corner before Lukaku could tap in.
Next, it was Heaton’s turn to pip Lukaku to the ball, tipping a Bolasie cross away from the waiting Belgian at the back post. Twice more Lukaku had the ball fizzed into his feet inside the area, but on a day when it just wouldn’t fall for him, he wasn’t quick enough to react.
Arfield snatches last gasp winner
Gerard Deulofeu replaced Mirallas and it added another dimension to Everton’s offence. They were now posing a real threat down both flanks. A number of the Spaniard’s crosses required the Burnley defence to clear, while Bolasie forced Heaton into another fine save from distance.
But when Stephen Ward went down with an injury, and Everton replaced Gueye with Tom Cleverly, their momentum was dissolved. The tempo seemingly halved and Burnley were able to get a foothold in the latter stages.
With minutes remaining, Gudmundsson cracked a fierce shot against Everton’s crossbar and the ball fell to Arfield. Perhaps lucky to still be on the pitch after committing a potential second bookable offence in the first half, Arfield reacted quicker than Stekelenburg and was able to steer the ball into the corner, the Dutchman making little attempt to reach it.
Arfield wheeled away in celebration having secured Burnley’s third win of the season. The result leaves Everton without a win in four and having missed a real opportunity to stake their claims for a European spot.