Burnley secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory in an end-to-end affair against a resilient 10-man Watford side at Turf Moor on Saturday. 

By 90Min
December 09, 2017

Burnley secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory in an end-to-end affair against a resilient 10-man Watford side at Turf Moor on Saturday. 

Despite the Hornets starting the clash like a house on fire, a red card to Marvin Zeegelaar offered the Clarets an opportunity to capitalise on the visitors need to reshuffle, as Scott Arfield calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net at the end of the first half. Sean Dyche's side then held firm to secure their seventh win of the season. 

An open and free flowing game was expected between two of the Premier League's surprise packets this season, and the opening proceedings proved to be just that.

Watford rushed out of the starting blocks, pressing high up the field which forced Burnley into mistakes as they rushed in possession. The front foot approach from the visitors offered the first clear chance on goal through the in-form Richarlison, whose lunged effort from a ball whipped across the six-yard line was sent flying over the crossbar.  

For all of Watford's domination on the ball however, it was the home side who came the closest to securing an early lead through Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson. 

The winger's free-kick from just outside the box was curled perfectly over the seven-man wall and looked destined to nestle into the bottom right-corner, but a quick reaction and strong left-hand from Heurelho Gomes kept the scores level.

Like a yo-yo, the ball was quickly on the other side of the field, with Burnley stopper Nick Pope called into action to expertly steer the ball clear after it emerged through a number of legs following a volley from Abdoulaye Doucouré.

As the game continued to move from one end to the other with relative ease, the Hornets were dealt a significant blow when Zeegelaar was shown a straight red card in the 39th minute after his two-footed sliding tackle met the lower legs of Steven Defour, which forced Marco Silva into an early reshuffle of his side. 

Whilst Watford sought to settle with 10-men, Burnley took advantage. After nicking the ball off the Hornets in their defensive half, the Clarets poured forward with Gudmundsson's pass across the box met by Arfield.

The 29-year-old shuffled to the left and sent the ball back across the keeper and into the back of the net in the 45th minute - displaying a touch of quality which was missing for the majority of the half. 

The first term ended in dubious circumstances as both sides had penalty shouts turned down either side of the goal, first Watford as Richarlison appeared to be dragged down in the box, and then Burnley after they called for handball against Darryl Janmaat. 

Despite being a man and goal down, the Hornets rallied at the start of the second period, as both Janmaat and Andre Carrillo were afforded space in the box in a bout of sustained pressure, which ended with Tom Cleverly lashing the ball over the crossbar.  

Burnley went up the other end and thought they had added their second of the afternoon as Jack Cork bundled the ball over the line from a free-kick, but the midfielder's goal was questionably deemed to be offside. 

After successfully pushing back the plucky 10-man Watford and asserting their dominance on the game, the Clarets had again thought they'd scored their second when Ashley Barnes found the ball at his feet from a ricochet, turned on the penalty spot and duly converted. 

Matthew Lewis/GettyImages

However, confusion reigned as referee Lee Probert consulted with his assistant referee and confirmed the goal was to be disallowed for offside, although replays proved the ball had touched a Watford defender first. 

The final ten-minutes offered chances for both sides but Watford failed to find a breakthrough as the Clarets held firm to secure all three points. 

Burnley will now turn their attention to Stoke midweek before a trip to Brighton, whilst Watford will head to Crystal Palace before hosting Huddersfield. 

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