Burnley beats Watford 2-1, continues Europa League pursuit
WATFORD, England (AP) — Burnley’s pursuit of Europa League qualification improved as two goals in three second-half minutes gave the team a 2-1 English Premier League win at Watford on Saturday.
The Clarets’ hopes of finishing in sixth place looked like faltering at Vicarage Road after Roberto Pereyra put Watford in front on the hour mark, but goals from Sam Vokes — seconds after coming off the bench — and Jack Cork saw Sean Dyche’s men close the gap on sixth-place Arsenal to two points.
It was also their fourth successive top-flight win, the first time they have achieved such a feat since 1968, and a seventh away success of what has been a memorable campaign.
It was a different story for Watford, which was the better team until Vokes’ equalizer, as it lost for a third time in four matches. Though still nine points above the relegation zone, they should not encounter any late-season drama.
Dyche had kept faith with Nick Pope despite Tom Heaton’s return from a lengthy injury lay-off and, as the hosts got a foothold in the game, it proved to be a wise selection as the goalkeeper showed exactly why he was called up for England last month.
He made a fine low save when he got down well to keep out Pereyra’s effort in the 15th and his stop from the same player 15 minutes later was even better.
Watford’s Argentine winger burst in from the right and, from 16 yards out, sent a curling effort that was heading for the top corner until Pope brilliantly tipped it over the crossbar.
Pereyra vs. Pope was becoming the battle of the match and the Watford man finally got the upper hand on the hour mark.
After the Hornets recycled a free kick, the ball fell to Pereyra, who this time gave the Burnley goalkeeper no chance as he drilled home low from 10 yards.
The Clarets turned to Vokes from the bench in the 70th and the Wales international’s arrival had an immediate impact as he levelled barely 20 seconds after coming on.
He poked home a loose ball from a free kick, ending a Premier League goal drought dating to November. It gave the visitors some momentum and three minutes later they were ahead.
Watford again failed to deal with a set piece and Cork was on hand to head home Kevin Long’s header back across goal, with technology confirming the ball crossed the line before goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis clawed it away.
More AP Premier League coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/PremierLeague