Burnley 1-0 Leeds: Match Report

09 April 2016 02:34

Burnley cement Championship lead as early Scott Arfield goal sinks Leeds

Scott Arfield struck after just 59 seconds to ensure Burnley will remain on top of the Sky Bet Championship this weekend after beating Leeds 1-0 at Turf Moor.

The recently-capped Canada international's early goal took the Clarets on to 80 points, four ahead of Middlesbrough and five clear of Brighton, and stretched their unbeaten run in the division to 18 games.

It was Livingston-born Arfield's eighth of the season and it came in front of watching Scotland boss Gordon Strachan, whose reluctance to bring him into his international fold had led to the winger seeking recognition with Canada.

For Burnley, it was another result they had to grind out as they edge closer to a top-flight return, and Leeds should have come away with a point as Chris Wood spurned two glorious second-half opportunities.

The division's top scorers had endured a frustrating 90 minutes here in midweek when Cardiff kept them at bay during a third successive draw, but, less than one minute in, they beat the recalled Marco Silvestri in the visitors' net.

The move started at the opposite end with Tom Heaton's long kick flicked on when Sam Vokes beat Sol Bamba in the air to find Andre Gray, who turned away from Liam Cooper and fed Arfield to fire a shot home across Silvestri.

Bamba was experiencing an eventful start to the game, drawing Heaton into a save before getting caught out of position again defensively as Matt Lowton struck an attempt at Silvestri when released by Gray.

Leeds settled down after that frantic start, although they were fortunate that George Boyd rifled wide in an attack that was reminiscent of the goal with Bamba again caught out as he rushed out to clear.

Whites forward Wood lashed one effort over the crossbar from way out and should have done better when Stuart Dallas' cross went over Michael Keane and reached the New Zealander.

It was then an unmarked Bamba that was involved in the half's final chance as he failed to properly connect with a corner sent in by Mustapha Carayol, with the defender punching the air in disappointment as the hosts cleared.

Steve Evans' side were growing into the contest, though, and after Wood smashed another shot over, he was presented with a second-half chance which really should have ended in the equaliser.

Lurking behind Ben Mee, the striker reached Carayol's cross only to divert it inches past the post with his shoulder.

The Clarets needed to rally and they did with a move down the left. Arfield left the ball to the league's leading marksman Gray and he fired into two Leeds defenders.

Gray may have been having an off-day but Wood's afternoon turned even worse when he somehow headed wide from six yards out 69 minutes in having been totally unmarked from Charlie Taylor's centre.

The visitors would not have another decent opening in the last 20 minutes - certainly not one as clear-cut as the chance Burnley substitute Ashley Barnes sent wide from close range in stoppage time - as the Clarets kept their spot at the summit ahead of their final five fixtures.

Source: PA