Gray lights up Turf Moor

Last updated : 13 September 2015 By Tony Scholes

Jones gave us the lead with a superb early free kick, Taylor scored with a sublime volley after being set up by Gray, albeit via a slight deflection, before Gray lit up the Turf with his first goal for us before leaving to his own standing ovation.

It wasn't easy by any stretch of the imagination and for what appeared to be a long period in the second half I thought a defeat was probably more likely than a win. Wednesday, though, didn't make the most of their ascendancy; we did. You have to make and take chances to win a game of football and that's why we were, for me, fully deserving of those three points when referee Steve Martin blew his final whistle.

Summer decided to disappear yesterday during the morning and early afternoon. Rather than strolling round in shirt sleeves it was time to dodge the showers in order to get to the pub for a pre-match pint, even if, for medical reasons, I'm not permitted any alcohol right now.

But it was all bright and sunny by the time the familiar news reached us that Sean Dyche had named an unchanged team. I'd expected it and I'd also expected the two vacant substitute places occupied by Lukas Jutkiewicz and Jelle Vossen at Bristol, would go to Matt Lowton and Chris Long, both named for the first time.

An assist and a goal for home debutant Andre Gray

Sheffield Wednesday, as expected, made a number of changes. They've made that many signings in the window and their starting line up included debutants with all of Daniel Pudil, Fernando Forestieri and Barry Bannan having been signed since they last played.

The presence of Forestieri concerned me. He scored twice against us for Watford on Good Friday 2013 in a 3-3 draw at Vicarage Road and looked very impressive. When Dyche spoke ahead of the game of them having brought in quality players, the Argentinean was very much one he must have been thinking of.

But we saw little of Forestieri in the opening exchanges that saw us get exactly what we wanted, the lead, and it came from the unlikely source of David Jones who has hardly been prolific for us in front of goal.

Jones was in good form in this game and linked up well with Tendayi Darikwa, who was excellent, down the right hand side. When the full back played the ball back to Jones he got a bad touch to the ball. Even so, he reached it first, cleverly trying to manoeuvre the ball away from Wednesday's Sam Hutchinson who brought him down.

Jones took the free kick himself, to the right of goal, and got it round the wall and into the corner of the net beyond goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith.

We looked comfortable. Wednesday were offering little and I thought that if we could maybe get another then we could go on to win this one easily.

But Wednesday took advantage of us being a man down on twenty minutes. I'm still not certain what happened but suddenly I spotted Michael Keane on his knees in front of our dug out with no shirt on and receiving treatment.

Suddenly we looked frantic. We got the ball away once but it came back for Bannan to have a shot. That was blocked and that should have been it, but they got the ball wide for Pudil to fire in a cross. The big man Atde Nuhiu, brilliantly described on the message board by the_quoon as the fake Zlatan, got above Ben Mee to fire home a header and suddenly it was all square.

We did have our moments. Keane was twice in the thick of it as balls dropped loose in the Wednesday box and Gray was twice denied, once by a last minute block after great work from Michael Kightly and then by the goalkeeper.

Probably the biggest concern at the other end was when Forestieri went down in the box as Tom Heaton came out but our captain clearly got a touch on the ball and there was no hope of any decision going in Wednesday's favour.

All square at half time and there were concerns that we'd lost our way a bit and that didn't improve once the second half got underway.

Wednesday dominated the play for some time. Forestieri hit one shot over the top and soon after he broke after they'd quickly taken a free kick needlessly given away by George Boyd in their half of the pitch.

Forestieri eventually played the ball to Nuhiu in the box. The big man side stepped a couple of defenders to set up a shooting chance, but all he could do was hit a tame left footer right in to Heaton's midriff.

Now, for all the comments from Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal after the game, not dissimilar to those from Marinus Dijkhuizen after the last game, this was the only effort they had on target all afternoon other than the goal they scored.

At the end of the day, the vital ingredient of any performance is putting the ball in the net. If you don't do it, you don't win, it's that simple.

I thought we needed to change things and we did. Just past the half hour we brought on Taylor and slowly but surely we started to get a foothold back in the game, and I believe we dominated the last twenty minutes or so.

Wednesday replaced former Claret Ross Wallace on 76 minutes; he left to a warm ovation from the home stands. A minute later Rouwen Hennings came on; the score was still 1-1, but we were close to regaining a lead we never looked like losing again.

Step up new boy Gray. I said I'd been impressed with him at Bristol a couple of weeks ago when he won the corner for our second goal. He's admitted himself that he wasn't at his best yesterday but he was about to take centre stage.

A ball was played up the pitch on the right. He turned Glenn Loovens really well but then the ball across for Taylor was outstanding. From my vantage point I just knew Taylor was going to score. It might have taken a deflection but don't let that take anything away from the finish. It really was sublime as he kept his volley down and make no mistake it would still have gone in without the touch from the defender.

We'd got the cake now and the icing came just as the board had gone up to indicate three extra minutes. The cake was goal number three and the sort of goal Burnley fans just love. Liam Palmer looked to be have time aplenty to clear the ball but Gray suddenly accelerated towards him, blocking his attempted clearance.

He'd not done the best bit yet. He brought it under control with a header and then, as Palmer recovered, he turned inside the defender on the left hand side of the box before hitting a low shot through his and Wildsmith's legs and into the net.

Goal number one for Gray for Burnley, the first time 'A Gray' has scored for us since Andy bagged a brace at Charlton before falling out with Owen Coyle. I will be absolutely staggered if this is not the first of many from the new man.

He really is the sort of forward Burnley fans will love and I think Hennings might be another to join him once he's started finding the net.

Dyche gave the Gray his own standing ovation and that allowed Chris Long to make a debut, albeit a short one. The manager was delighted with all three of them after they'd worked tirelessly over the previous two weeks to lift their fitness levels. He said both Gray and Hennings had done well as had Long, for twelve seconds.

By the final whistle we were fully deserving of this win. We scored more goals than they had efforts on target. We looked the more likely to score. We do, as Dyche was quick to point out, need to do better in possession but it will come and suddenly this team looks as though it's now got goals in it.

Three, and not one of them from a defender as well as two of them coming from open play.

I didn't know this fact until silkyskills1 posted it on the message board, but this is the first time we've scored goals at both ends of Turf Moor in a match since March 2014. We did just that against Derby, with goals from Jones and Dean Marney, and then followed it up in the next game against Leeds although the one at the cricket field end was an own goal.

I wasn't getting too concerned at the league table when we were in the bottom half so I won't get too excited now we are fifth, only to say that I'd rather be fifth than further down.

With players coming back from injury, and Joey Barton soon to take time out from talking politics, things are beginning to look better.

And three successive wins for the first time since we beat Blackpool, Wigan and Ipswich as we clinched promotion 17 months ago.

The teams were;

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Tendayi Darikwa, Michael Duff, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, George Boyd, Scott Arfield, David Jones, Michael Kightly (Matt Taylor 62), Sam Vokes (Rouwen Hennings 77), Andre Gray (Chris Long 90+3). Subs not used: Matt Gilks, Matt Lowton, Tom Anderson, Stephen Ward.

Sheffield Wednesday: Joe Wildsmith, Liam Palmer, Tom Lees, Glenn Loovens, Daniel Pudil, Kieran Lee, Sam Hutchinson, Ross Wallace (Marco Matias 76), Fernando Forestieri, Barry Bannan (Lucas João 81), Atdhe Nuhiu. Subs not used: Lewis Price, Michael Turner, Jeremy Helan, Jose Semedo, Alex López.
Yellow Cards: Barry Bannan, Sam Hutchinson.

Referee: Steve Martin (Staffordshire).

Attendance: 17,277 (including 2,417 Wednesday fans).