Soccer  

Stoke City 0-1 Burnley: Josh Cullen strike earns leaders a fifth straight win

Josh Cullen's 60th-minute goal was the £2.7m summer signing's first for Burnley
Josh Cullen’s 60th-minute goal was the £2.7m summer signing’s first for Burnley

Vincent Kompany’s Burnley made it five straight league wins as they scraped to a narrow victory at Alex Neil’s fiery Stoke to climb three points clear at the top of the Championship again.

Josh Cullen’s scrappy close-range strike on 60 minutes – the summer signing from Anderlecht’s first goal for the club – proved the difference between two well-matched sides.

The in-form Clarets were given one of their toughest tests of the season before restoring their three-point cushion over second-placed Sheffield United, who had won at Blackpool 24 hours earlier.

But Kompany’s Clarets and the Blades have broken away from the chasing pack.

Burnley have now opened up a 14-point gap on third-placed Blackburn Rovers, who are 11 points adrift of that second automatic promotion place, while the rest of the congested Championship top 10 are separated by just three points.

Out-of-form Stoke, now just five points clear of danger, looked like they had Burnley particularly rattled early on.

Confusion between Ian Maatsen and goalkeeper Arijanet Muric as Tyrese Campbell gave chase to what seemed in vain pursuit of a hopeful long ball allowed the Stoke striker to round the keeper and get to the byline wide out.

But, when he squared over to what should have been an almost empty net, nobody had made the supporting run.

Campbell then had a shot blocked after a skewed clearance from Muric.

Burnley began to take more control and might have had a penalty claim when Manuel Benson’s run into the Stoke penalty area ended when he was seemingly brought down by Morgan Fox.

Referee Keith Stroud waved the visitors’ claims away, just as he did for two Stoke penalty shouts in the second half.

There was a double escape for Burnley when Morgan Fox had a shot blocked at close range by keeper Muric in a scramble.

But the Clarets had a bit extra waiting on the bench in the form of Morocco’s Anass Zaroury and top scorer Jay Rodriguez – and within eight minutes of them coming on Burnley struck.

Harry Clarke had a chance on the goal line to clear Benson’s deflected shot but it rebounded back off keeper Jack Bonham a few feet off the floor and Cullen flew in to take to the air and prod the ball over the line.

Who’s next?

Having completed their final games of 2022, both sides are back in action on Monday on the New Year’s Day bank holiday.

Stoke are at home again against manager Neil’s former side Preston, while Burnley go to Swansea.

Stoke City boss Alex Neil told BBC Radio Stoke:

“It was a really tight, cagey match. We did a lot of things well. We were disciplined and organised. And I don’t think we deserved to lose.

“The goal we conceded was frustrating, to say the least. It wasn’t created by them. It was given away by us.

“I feel for the players because they worked so hard against the best team in the league.”

Burnley boss Vincent Kompany told BBC Radio Lancashire:

“That was a big win. Maybe our biggest win of the season – if you don’t take into account the derby. Winning a night game at Stoke is big.

“It was scrappy but if you do it that way it gives you confidence for the next time. It gives you a reason to believe.

“Credit to Stoke but, unlike that day against Sheffield United, we didn’t allow the opposition to put us under pressure so much.”

Line-ups

Stoke

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 13Bonham
  • 2ClarkeBooked at 45mins
  • 5Souttar
  • 16Wilmot
  • 3Fox
  • 8BakerBooked at 89mins
  • 15ThompsonSubstituted forPowellat 79′minutes
  • 10Campbell
  • 18SmallboneSubstituted forLaurentat 72′minutes
  • 14TymonSubstituted forFosu-Henryat 71′minutes
  • 9BrownSubstituted forDelapat 71′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Bursik
  • 17Delap
  • 22Kilkenny
  • 24Fosu-Henry
  • 25Powell
  • 28Laurent
  • 32Taylor

Burnley

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 49Muric
  • 14Roberts
  • 5Harwood-Bellis
  • 36Beyer
  • 29MaatsenBooked at 74minsSubstituted forTaylorat 84′minutes
  • 4Cork
  • 24CullenBooked at 29mins
  • 17ManuelSubstituted forTellaat 69′minutes
  • 8Brownhill
  • 27ChurlinovSubstituted forZarouryat 52′minutes
  • 10BarnesBooked at 33minsSubstituted forRodríguezat 52′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Taylor
  • 7Gudmundsson
  • 9Rodríguez
  • 11Twine
  • 15Peacock-Farrell
  • 19Zaroury
  • 23Tella

Referee:
Keith Stroud

Attendance:
21,464

Live Text