Burnley 2 (Coady OG 2, McNeil 77) Wolves 0
A below-par Wolves performance saw Nuno Espirito Santo’s side suffer their first defeat in four matches when his team visited Turf Moor to face Burnley.
Conor Coady’s unfortunate own-goal set the home side on their way to victory in just the second minute of the match, before Dwight McNeil secured all three points for the Clarets in the second-half of what was an underwhelming showing from Wolves.
The head coach made three changes to the Wolves team which knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup two weeks previously, with Rui Patricio, Adama Traore and Ivan Cavaleiro coming into the starting line-up in place of John Ruddy, Matt Doherty and Raul Jimenez, who all started on the bench.
Despite coming into the match as the underdogs following the form of the two sides, the game was only underway for just over 60 seconds when Burnley took the lead. From a quickly taken free-kick on the half-way line, Chris Wood was able to beat the offside trap and get on the end of the set piece.
Unmarked, the striker rounded Patricio and hit a shot goalwards which came off the post before deflecting off Coady, who slid in attempting to clear Wood’s initial effort, with the ball ending up in the back of the net.
As a first-half laboured on – and with nothing to separate the two teams – both sides had appeals for penalties waved away by referee Chris Kavanagh. Firstly, Ashley Barnes went down in the Wolves area after a coming together with Willy Boly, before Jonny’s powerfully hit volley up the other end of the pitch appeared to strike the arm of the Burnley man before the ball went behind for a corner.
Wolves started to get a foothold in the game as the first-half progressed, with Ruben Neves’ first-time volley unfortunately skewering wide of Tom Heaton’s upright, but there was limited goalmouth action in what was a lacklustre first 45 minutes of football.
Half-time: Burnley 1 Wolves 0
It was the visitors who started the second-half the brighter, with Adama Traore using his pace to run at the Burnley defence who were backing off in numbers. He passed the ball out to Jota on the left who cut inside before rasping a curled effort towards the par post, narrowly missing the target.
Ivan Cavaleiro could have got Wolves back into the game just moments later after good work by Leander Dendoncker on the right played the Portuguese in just outside the box, but Cavaleiro could only smash his powerful effort over Heaton’s crossbar.
With almost an hour gone in the contest, Nuno felt it was time to give his side a much-needed change, with Doherty and Jimenez coming onto the pitch in place of Dendoncker and Cavaleiro.
Although Wolves were dominating possession and looking the most likely to score the second goal of the contest, it was the visitors who extended their lead with a well taken drive across goal from the edge of the area by McNeil. The Burnley midfielder found himself in acres of space on the left before arrowing a finish across Patricio and into the back of the net.
Although Wolves continued to push throughout the second-half, a lack of finesse in the final third of the pitch let the visitors down, as Burnley were able to see out the tie.
Full-time: Burnley 2 Wolves 0
Burnley: Heaton, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Hendrick, Cork, Westwood, McNeil (Gudmundsson 86), Barnes, Wood.
Unused subs: Hart, Lowton, Brady, Gibson, Ward, Vydra.
Wolves: Patricio, Traore (Costa 71), Saiss, Coady, Boly, Jonny, Dendoncker (Doherty 59), Neves, Moutinho, Jota, Cavaleiro (Jimenez 59).
Unused subs: Ruddy, Kilman, Vinagre, Gibbs-White.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh