Chris Wood boosts Burnley and keeps Cardiff deep in relegation mire

first_img 29 Niasse Share on Messenger match reports Substitutes 2 Peltier CAR BUR (s 81′) 7 Burnley Off target 12 Cardiff 7 Burnley On target 2 Cardiff 33 Hoilett Ashley Barnes appears to kiss Joe Bennett of Cardiff City on the nose. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images 21 Victor Camarasa 1 Heaton Share on LinkedIn 20 Hart Possession Fouls 4 Morrison Cardiff Burnley Goal attempts 7 Arter 28 Murphy Lineups 5 Ecuele Manga The Observer 3 Taylor 7 10 A game featuring a referee’s change of heart over a controversial penalty award, a player booked for twice kissing an opponent and two headed goals from Chris Wood was never dull. If it was a little bad-tempered at times it probably reflected the tension of a relegation six-pointer that ended with Burnley all but mathematically safe and Cardiff travelling to a freefalling Brighton on Tuesday knowing victory could still boost their slim hopes of staying in the Premier League.“If Brighton beat us it’s probably all over,” said a surprisingly sanguine Neil Warnock who had turned incandescent when his Cardiff side were awarded a penalty after a linesman spotted a handball by Ben Mee, only for the referee, Mike Dean, to change his mind.“But I think we’re going to be inundated with luck in our final five games.”The visitors had only themselves to blame for a poor first half and the game had barely begun when Wood hit the post after making a headed connection with a whipped-in free-kick from Burnley’s highly promising winger, Dwight McNeil.The 19-year-old’s dead-ball delivery and crossing posed Cardiff a litany of problems and he created both Wood’s goals. The first came from a McNeil corner met by the unmarked New Zealand striker whose perfectly timed advance encountered zero resistance from a slapdash visiting defence. Wood glanced his header beyond Neil Etheridge and nudged Cardiff closer to the Championship.The loss of Sol Bamba, their best defender, to a season-ending injury has hit them hard and their backline reverted to papier-mache mode again as Ashley Westwood found himself clean through with only Etheridge to beat. The goalkeeper, partly assisted by the distraction offered by a desperately backpedaling Sean Morrison, did well to come off his line and make an important save but he should never have been placed in that position.A series of tetchy sub-plots was unfolding involving assorted warring players. The most notable involved Joe Bennett clashing with Ashley Barnes and both players were booked shortly before half-time, Cardiff’s left-back for fouling the home forward and Barnes for appearing to kiss Bennett twice on the nose in mischievous response. (s 73′) 11 Wood 15 Bacuna Burnley players probably felt like kissing Dean following his volte face. The referee had awarded Cardiff a penalty after being alerted to a handball. After pointing to the spot and initially appearing to tell protesting players he would not be discussing the matter with the linesman, Dean then changed his mind and the decision. Replays suggested that in attempting to cut out a cross, the defender had accidentally headed the ball on to his hand. “It’s tough on Cardiff but the officials reached the right decision,” said Sean Dyche.The decision left Warnock chewing gum with a frighteningly manic intensity. “It’s one of those things,” he said. “I’ve been to see the referee but that’s between us. It’s annoying, we keep getting one kick in the teeth after another.“He does seem to lift his hand to the ball, so there is some movement there. But I can’t fault my players, they really tried hard and we’ve got to be ready for Brighton now.”It would be no consolation to Cardiff’s manager that, by then, his side had improved significantly. While Harry Arter curled a shot tantalisingly over the bar and Junior Hoilett tested Tom Heaton with a tricky 25 yard shot; Hoilett then scuffed his shot after being set up by Kenneth Zohore.“I really thought we could have won it in the second half,” said Warnock. Instead he had to endure watching more clever wing play from McNeil preface Wood heading his 13th goal of the campaign after the youngster’s cross was deflected by Bruno Ecuele Manga.Burnley have reached the nirvana otherwise known as 39 points and the Royal Dyche, the nearby pub re-named in their manager’s honour, could anticipate brisk Saturday-night trade.“The lads have been terrific,” said Dyche, whose side have collected 27 points from their past 15 games. “They deserve to stay up.” 12 Brady Share on Twitter Substitutes Match stats 18 Westwood 4 Cork Premier League 1 Etheridge Cardiff City 2 Lowton 23 Ward Topics 28 Long 10 Zohore 11 Murphy Pinterest 8 4 3 Bennett 8 Ralls Share via Email 31 McNeil 27 Vydra Corners Facebook 6 Mee (s 78′) 5 Tarkowski 19 Mendez-Laing 7 Gudmundsson 14 Gibson 14 Reid Twitter Burnley CAR53BUR47% Share on WhatsApp Share on Facebook 10 Barnes 53 47 18 Cunningham 13 Hendrick Reuse this content Share on Pinterest 17 Gunnarssonlast_img