Premier League
WatfordWatford1BurnleyBurnley2

Watford 1-2 Burnley

By Steve SutcliffeBBC Sport
Sam Vokes
Sam Vokes scored his first goal since November with his first touch

Manager Sean Dyche says talk of the Europa League "might not be such a joke now" after Burnley fought back from a goal down to beat Watford with two goals in three minutes.

The visitors' revival, courtesy of goals from substitute Sam Vokes, who scored 22 seconds after coming on, and Jack Cork, whose header was confirmed by goal-line technology, secured a fourth consecutive top-flight win for Burnley for the first time since 1968.

"I said to him [Vokes] if you don't score in 30 seconds you won't be playing again," Dyche joked. "That is some motivation."

The result leaves Burnley on course for the Europa League. They closed the gap on sixth-placed Arsenal to two points and pulled six clear of Leicester in eighth.

Watford, who had gone ahead just after the hour mark through Roberto Pereyra, drop a place to 12th despite dominating possession and creating more clear-cut scoring opportunities at Vicarage Road.

Boss Javi Gracia said: "We should have killed the game and after three minutes we have conceded two goals from two free-kicks again."

Despite this latest setback, which follows heavy defeats at Arsenal and Liverpool and being pegged back in the final minute against Bournemouth last week, the Hornets are still well placed for a best top-flight finish for 31 years.

Where do Watford go from here?

Watford hardly resemble a team that won once in 11 Premier League matches earlier in the season, resulting in the January dismissal of manager Marco Silva.

With fixtures looming against Huddersfield and Crystal Palace, they are still more than capable of equalling the feats of the 1986-87 squad, managed by Graham Taylor.

Inspired by a Liverpool-bound John Barnes, the Hornets finished ninth that year.

Gracia's immediate challenge is to eliminate the defensive errors undermining his team, after they slipped to a third defeat in four games.

Defender Adrian Mariappa's looping header directly assisted the equaliser, and Cork was left unmarked to score the winning goal.

Burnley's big three

While Burnley's defensive resilience has underpinned their success this season, manager Sean Dyche has also followed a tried and tested formula with his strikers and tactics.

When things are not going to plan, he switches formation and reverts to a 'big three' of Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood and Vokes at the apex of his attack.

His decision here to introduce Vokes and be more direct proved the catalyst for a remarkable turnaround on Saturday.

Vokes scored his first Clarets goal since November with his first touch, 22 seconds after entering the field as a substitute.

That means he, Barnes and Wood have been responsible for 68% of Burnley's goals this season.

Man of the match - Nick Pope (Burnley)

Nick Pope
Goalkeeper Nick Pope made key saves for Burnley to press his claims for a place in England's World Cup squad

Burnley 'in a position to think of Europe' - what they said

Dyche praises Burnley mentality

Burnley manager Sean Dyche on the possibility of Europa League qualification: "There's a lot of games to go, a lot of football to be played, but the lads have put themselves in a good position to be thinking that.

"The reward for the lads is going into the final few games of the season, knowing the first marker has been achieved. Now they all enjoy their football.

"We know we didn't play well, but found a way. We had a scratch of luck, doing the ugly stuff. All that is important."

On Vokes' goal: "I didn't think it would come that quickly of course, but a good finish. The players had a good mentality - they got us through.

"We're not going to slick it around every week. We played well at West Brom and West Ham, but a different way to win, blood and guts and working hard."

Watford failed to 'kill' game - Gracia

Watford manager Javi Gracia: "We dominated for most of the game, had more possession, more shots on target, 10 corners to one, but it wasn't enough. We should have killed the game and we didn't.

"They didn't surprise us, we knew their style of play. We lost in a similar way in the last game with two set-pieces. We are not happy today; we'll try to do better next time.

"We were ready to defend this and improve in those situations. Today we conceded two goals from two free-kicks.

"They score two goals in three minutes; we tried to work on this. We are conceding the last two games many goals this way, and we are losing points."

Watford's first home league defeat under Gracia - the stats

  • This was Watford's first home league defeat under Gracia, with Swansea the last side to win at Vicarage Road in December.
  • Burnley have won seven away games in the Premier League this season, their most in a top-flight campaign since 1965-66 (nine).
  • The Clarets won a Premier League away game in which they conceded the first goal for the first time since April 2010 (4-1 at Hull), ending a run of 29 defeats and seven draws when conceding first on the road.
  • Vokes' leveller was scored with his first touch of the game and just 22 seconds after coming off the bench - the fastest goal scored by a substitute in the Premier League this season.
  • Cork scored his first goal in 20 Premier League appearances, since netting against Swansea in November.
  • Pereyra has scored in consecutive Premier League games for the first time.

What's next?

Watford travel to the John Smith's Stadium to face Huddersfield next Saturday (15:00 BST). On the same day, Burnley host Leicester City in a match between seventh and eighth at Turf Moor (15:00 BST).

Line-ups

Watford

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 30Karnezis
  • 2JanmaatSubstituted forOkakaat 76'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 5Prödl
  • 6Mariappa
  • 25Holebas
  • 16DoucouréBooked at 56minsSubstituted forCarrilloat 85'minutes
  • 29Capoue
  • 21Femenía
  • 19HughesSubstituted forRicharlisonat 85'minutes
  • 37Pereyra
  • 9Deeney

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 3Britos
  • 11Richarlison
  • 15Cathcart
  • 18Gray
  • 28Carrillo
  • 33Okaka

Burnley

Formation 4-4-2

  • 29Pope
  • 2LowtonBooked at 90mins
  • 28Long
  • 5Tarkowski
  • 23Ward
  • 25LennonSubstituted forHendrickat 81'minutes
  • 4Cork
  • 18Westwood
  • 7NkoudouBooked at 33minsSubstituted forVokesat 70'minutes
  • 10Barnes
  • 11Wood

Substitutes

  • 1Heaton
  • 3Taylor
  • 8Marney
  • 9Vokes
  • 13Hendrick
  • 21Wells
  • 26Bardsley
Referee:
Paul Tierney
Attendance:
20,044

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamBurnley
Possession
Home61%
Away39%
Shots
Home14
Away7
Shots on Target
Home5
Away4
Corners
Home11
Away1
Fouls
Home18
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Watford 1, Burnley 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Watford 1, Burnley 2.

  3. Post update

    Kiko Femenía (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Jack Cork (Burnley).

  5. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Ashley Westwood.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Etienne Capoue (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  7. Booking

    Stefano Okaka (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Stefano Okaka (Watford).

  9. Post update

    Jack Cork (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    José Holebas (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Matthew Lowton (Burnley).

  12. Booking

    Matthew Lowton (Burnley) is shown the yellow card.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Burnley. Conceded by Orestis Karnezis.

  14. Post update

    Attempt saved. Chris Wood (Burnley) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Sebastian Prödl (Watford).

  16. Post update

    Ashley Westwood (Burnley) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Richarlison replaces Will Hughes.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. André Carrillo replaces Abdoulaye Doucouré.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Stefano Okaka (Watford) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Kiko Femenía with a cross.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Burnley. Jeff Hendrick replaces Aaron Lennon.

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