Premier League

Burnley 1-0 Middlesbrough

Victor Valdes signed for Middlesbrough in July after being released by Manchester United

Victor Valdes' late mistake gifted Burnley a scrappy Premier League victory over Middlesbrough at Turf Moor.

The former Barcelona and Manchester United goalkeeper allowed Andre Gray's 80th-minute strike to escape his grasp and sneak over the line to settle a combative contest that produced 11 bookings.

This was the first top-flight meeting between these teams since 1976 but few would lament a 40-year gap until the next one based on this evidence.

Burnley had the better of the opening period, with Valdes saving from George Boyd and Ashley Barnes, while the visitors also went close through Cristhian Stuani.

But for the most part this was as an untidy game punctuated by countless stoppages for referee Craig Pawson to issue cautions, with five coming in the first half and six after the break.

That will be of no concern to Burnley, however, who have now reaped 19 of their 20 points at Turf Moor this season and are six points clear of relegation danger.

Boro, meanwhile, are without an away win in eight games and remain four points clear of trouble.

A fitting end to a scrappy game

Gray's first goal since August came after some classic route-one football by the hosts.

Goalkeeper Tom Heaton's long kick upfield was flicked by Sam Vokes into the path of the former Brentford striker, whose first-time shot from just inside the area showed great instinct and technique but, in truth, was too close to the goalkeeper.

Valdes got down to get his hands to the ball, but he allowed it to squirm away from his body and over the line to send Boro to defeat.

The 79 minutes to that point had produced little in the way of quality, with Valdes equal to Barnes' low drive in the first half and then saving a little unconvincingly from Boyd's swerving 25-yard shot.

Boro striker Stuani spurned a hat-trick of presentable openings for the visitors, firing wide in the first half after latching on to Antonio Barragan's long ball and then seeing two headers from second-half corners fail to seriously test Heaton.

The only other talking point of note came in the first half, when Boro defender Calum Chambers appeared to handle from Dean Marney in the area but the referee was not interested.

Burnley's home comforts continue

Should Sean Dyche's Burnley players find themselves celebrating Premier League survival come May, they will have their home form to thank, with 95% of their points haul so far having come at Turf Moor.

This victory - their sixth of the season - means they are already halfway to the 40 points generally regarded as the minimum required to avoid relegation.

It also ended a miserable run that had seen the Clarets lose their last three Boxing Day games without scoring, although 12 months ago a 3-0 loss on 26 December was the trigger for a 23-match unbeaten run that saw Burnley to the Championship title.

Strugglers Sunderland are the next visitors to Turf Moor on New Year's Eve, while February also looks favourable for Dyche's side, with Southampton and Leicester City their league visitors.

MOTD analysis

Former Burnley striker Ian Wright:

"I saw Burnley a few weeks ago and they missed Andre Gray's pace. When you play him up with Sam Vokes they play close together and cause a lot of problems. Burnley have to play two up front at home and batter teams. Their home record is great."

Former England captain Alan Shearer:

"I think Middlesbrough and Burnley will both be very pleased with the progress they've shown after 18 games. Both are in reasonably comfortable positions."

Man of the match - George Boyd (Burnley)

George Boyd
A typically tireless performance by the winger, who covered 12.14km - the next nearest player on either team was Boro's Adam Forshaw (10.97km). Boyd also won possession for his team nine times - more than any other player - and produced some tidy wing play in addition to forcing a decent save from Valdes in the first half

Match stats - Gray ends 10-game drought

  • Burnley secured their first win in their last seven league games against Middlesbrough (D2 L4)
  • Middlesbrough have enjoyed just one win in their last 22 away Premier League games (D6 L15)
  • Burnley have found the back of the net in eight of their last nine top-flight games at Turf Moor
  • Middlesbrough didn't have a shot on target until the 60th minute, via Gaston Ramirez
  • Andre Gray bagged his first goal in his last 10 Premier League appearances
  • Gray scored with his only shot of the game
  • Sam Vokes has been directly involved in six Premier League goals this season (four goals, two assists) - two more than any other Burnley player

Manager reaction

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Dyche happy to win 'close, ugly' game

Burnley manager Sean Dyche: "We've had to work very hard for it. It was a close game and an ugly game at times. In defence of both teams, I must say conditions were really hard today - the wind was swirling and the ball was going all over the place.

"We knew they weren't going to come and be easy to knock over, but we finally got there in the end with a good finish.

"I was pleased with Andre. Obviously their keeper might be disappointed but he takes it early, takes it with power and takes it with freedom. He's got that about him, where he will take on a chance and not be afraid to miss and that's a fantastic thing to have."

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Boro boss Karanka curses missed opportunity

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka: "It was a game completely under control. It is frustrating.

"We had chances and we could have prevented their goal. They had a lot of long balls and we knew that this was the only way they could score. We must learn."

What's next?

The New Year's Eve fixtures are next up for these two as Burnley host Sunderland and Middlesbrough hit the road again to play Manchester United. Both games kick off at 15:00 GMT.



  • 1Heaton
  • 4FlanaganBooked at 53mins
  • 5Keane
  • 6MeeBooked at 42mins
  • 23WardBooked at 65mins
  • 21BoydBooked at 21mins
  • 8MarneySubstituted forDefourat 75'minutes
  • 13HendrickBooked at 85mins
  • 37ArfieldSubstituted forBerg Gudmundssonat 77'minutes
  • 7GrayBooked at 73mins
  • 10BarnesSubstituted forVokesat 66'minutes


  • 9Vokes
  • 11Kightly
  • 16Defour
  • 17Robinson
  • 25Berg Gudmundsson
  • 26Tarkowski
  • 27Darikwa


  • 26Valdés
  • 17BarragánBooked at 45mins
  • 25Chambers
  • 6Gibson
  • 2da SilvaBooked at 80mins
  • 34Forshaw
  • 8Clayton
  • 14de RoonBooked at 2minsSubstituted forFriendat 87'minutes
  • 18StuaniSubstituted forTraoréat 86'minutes
  • 10NegredoBooked at 90mins
  • 21RamírezBooked at 31mins


  • 3Friend
  • 5Bernardo
  • 7Leadbitter
  • 9Rhodes
  • 12Guzan
  • 19Downing
  • 37Traoré
Craig Pawson

Match Stats

Home TeamBurnleyAway TeamMiddlesbrough
Shots on Target

Live Text

Match ends, Burnley 1, Middlesbrough 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Burnley 1, Middlesbrough 0.


Álvaro Negredo (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Álvaro Negredo (Middlesbrough).

Ben Mee (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Álvaro Negredo (Middlesbrough).

Michael Keane (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Álvaro Negredo (Middlesbrough).

Ben Mee (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Adama Traoré (Middlesbrough).

Jeff Hendrick (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.


Substitution, Middlesbrough. George Friend replaces Marten de Roon.


Substitution, Middlesbrough. Adama Traoré replaces Cristhian Stuani.


Jeff Hendrick (Burnley) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Cristhian Stuani (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jeff Hendrick (Burnley).

Corner, Burnley. Conceded by Álvaro Negredo.

Corner, Burnley. Conceded by Antonio Barragán.

Foul by Cristhian Stuani (Middlesbrough).

Jon Flanagan (Burnley) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Corner, Burnley. Conceded by Antonio Barragán.


Goal! Burnley 1, Middlesbrough 0. Andre Gray (Burnley) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Sam Vokes with a headed pass following a set piece situation.


Fabio (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Fabio (Middlesbrough).

Steven Defour (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Álvaro Negredo (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Fabio.


Substitution, Burnley. Johann Berg Gudmundsson replaces Scott Arfield.

Offside, Burnley. Tom Heaton tries a through ball, but Andre Gray is caught offside.


Substitution, Burnley. Steven Defour replaces Dean Marney because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Dean Marney (Burnley) because of an injury.


Andre Gray (Burnley) is shown the yellow card.

Antonio Barragán (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Andre Gray (Burnley).

Attempt missed. Jeff Hendrick (Burnley) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a corner.

Corner, Burnley. Conceded by Fabio.

Attempt missed. Cristhian Stuani (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Gastón Ramírez with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Stephen Ward.

Attempt missed. Marten de Roon (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Gastón Ramírez with a cross following a set piece situation.


Substitution, Burnley. Sam Vokes replaces Ashley Barnes.


As It Stood

2Man City18123339201939
6Man Utd189632718933
9West Brom186572322123
11West Ham186482332-922
17Crystal Palace1844102933-416
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