To Hull and back. For Brian Laws and his Burnley players, it proved to be a heavenly journey yesterday. After a week of apology upon apology in the wake of their 6-1 hammering by Manchester City, the Clarets moved from the absolute dregs to something to truly savour.
After gifting their relegation rivals a goal in the third minute, the travelling Turf Moor faithful must have feared it was going to be another Rorke's Drift of an afternoon. Instead, it was a pretty sorry Hull side who were put to the sword. On Friday Graham Alexander, the Burnley player-coach, had called the East Lancastrians "a soft touch". Yesterday the 38-year-old midfield anchor man was at the heart of a battling fight-back, converting two second-half penalties to account for half of a barrage that earned Burnley their first Premier League away win of the season.
For Laws, after a week of headlines about dressing- room unrest and the threat of the sack, his second win in 14 League games as Owen Coyle's successor could hardly have been much sweeter. "It'll shut a few critics up, for a few days at least," he said. "It's been a very tough week but we got the response we needed." It was a response that took Burnley above Hull on goal difference into third-bottom spot.
As for Hull, they have a game in hand of Burnley but will need to produce a similar response on the road at Birmingham next Saturday. "It's a game we've got to forget very quickly," said their manager, Iain Dowie.
Yet Dowie could hardly have wished for a better start. There were 130 seconds on the clock when Kevin Kilbane, granted the freedom of the Burnley goalmouth, rose to head in a right- wing cross from Jozy Altidore – the veteran winger's first goal in 36 matches as a Hull player.
But Burnley settled and seized their chance when it came, 10 minutes before the interval. Mears fed a ball in from the right and Martin Paterson whacked home an angled shot on the turn.
Laws stood on the touchline politely applauding his players but was rather more animated when Michael Duff blew a big chance to put the visitors in front 11 minutes into the second half. The Burnley centre-half had the home goal at his mercy but blazed a right-foot shot over the bar from a range of six yards.
It was Dowie, though, who was to suffer the greater touchline torment. A second Burnley goal was looking increasingly likely and it duly arrived in the 63rd minute. Ibrahima Sonko felled Duff and Alexander converted the penalty with the simplest of toe-pokes.
Five minutes later David Nugent broke into the right side of the home box and was blatantly tugged back by Bernard Mendy. Alexander toe-ended another penalty past Myhill.
It might have been different had Altidore and Jimmy Bullard made anything of the two late chances that came their way. As it was, Wade Elliott curled home an injury-time free-kick for Burnley's fourth.
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of match: Paterson
Match rating: 7/10Reuse content