Harry Drew opens his Xmas present from City – a convincing win against our bogey team.
City entered this fixture desperate for a win after the disappointment of Rotherham the previous week. Although the Tigers’ home form has been excellent all season, recent results away from the KC have been less than impressive. It was therefore good to be back on home turf. Burnley were buoyed by their thrashing of Charlton and looked to draw level with City on 38 points with a win in East Yorkshire.
Chuba Akpom and Shaun Maloney were sacrificed from the loss at Rotherham. Sam Clucas regained his place on the left, while Mo Diame came in to support Abel Hernandez up front. Andre Gray, a well-publicised City transfer target back in the summer, started for the Clarets. Not unsurprisingly everyone seemed certain that he would score.
The first opportunity of the game fell to City, Mo Diame cutting inside onto his left foot following a nice touch from Hernandez and forcing a good save from Tom Heaton. The Senegalese international was showing signs of the quality we all know he possesses, but often struggles to put into practice. Indeed it was Diame who had the next shot on goal, but this time Heaton saved comfortably.
Both sides struggled to create clear-cut chances in the opening 45 minutes. On the half hour mark Harry Maguire met a Clucas corner, his header being tipped over the crossbar. Late in the half McGregor was called into action as he saved from Barton and then Boyd, while Hernandez had a half-chance moments before the whistle, but his volley sailed over.
City had edged the first 45 minutes but there was always the sense that Burnley could inflict a body blow if they were given the chance. However, Steve Bruce’s side notably quickened the pace and found themselves ahead 12 minutes after half time. Clucas collected a long pass from Maguire, floated a ball into the box where Livermore was in space and City’s captain volleyed powerfully into the bottom corner.
Not long after the opener Burnley had their best chance of the afternoon. Poor defending from City resulted in Gray having a clear sight of goal from ten yards, but he shot wide. This was a major let-off and was punished ruthlessly minutes later. Hernandez was put through by Diame and with much work to do, cut inside onto his left-foot and rattled the ball into the net.
The 20,000 or so City fans inside the KC were now in fine voice as their team had put daylight between themselves and Burnley. The Clarets came close with a 25 yard dipping volley from Rouwen Hennings, but he could only hit the side-netting. With Hayden, Huddlestone and Snodgrass now on the field, City looked solid.
As the game headed into injury time City made their victory certain with a third goal. Snodgrass made space for himself on the left and pulled the ball back for Clucas who produced a tidy finish to beat Heaton. This was a deserved victory and much improved performance from what we’ve seen over the past few weeks. Bruce’s side now just need to start doing the same away from home.
Harry Drew @hdrew95