Burnley promoted to the Premier League

Last Updated: Monday, April 21, 2014 - 23:10

London: Burnley ended their four-year wait to return to the Premier League in emphatic fashion as their 2-0 win over Wigan clinched promotion on Monday.

Sean Dyche`s team kicked off knowing a victory would guarantee their lucrative place among English football`s elite next season, and they finished the job with a flourish in front of their jubilant supporters at Turf Moor.

Ashley Barnes put the Clarets ahead in the 22nd minute and Michael Kightly`s 42nd minute goal allowed Burnley`s supporters to begin celebrating their return to the top flight.

Second-placed Burnley, eight points clear of third-placed Derby with just two games remaining, join already-promoted leaders Leicester in securing a top-two finish in the Championship.

Hundreds of fans poured on to the pitch as soon as the final whistle officially confirmed Burnley`s promotion.

Dyche`s players were mobbed by many of those supporters and they stayed on the pitch to join in the celebrations.

"These are great scenes. The season seems like it`s been forever, but we plugged away and the lads deserve it," Kightly said.

"Promotion to the Premier League means everything. We were fourth favourites to go down, but the character we have shown has been amazing."

Dyche, dubbed the `ginger Mourinho` by Clarets fans, was lifted into the air by his players before they returned to the dressing room, where champagne corks were soon popping.

"We were intent on getting promoted ourselves, not having to rely on anyone else for help," Dyche said.

"It`s getting harder to win automatic promotion to the Premier League because of all the constraints on teams like ourselves. I`m extremely proud."

Burnley`s third win in their last four matches means Leicester still have to win one of their final three matches to clinch the second tier title.

It remains unlikely Burnley will pip the Foxes to top spot, but promotion will more than suffice for a club with limited resources who were tipped by many to struggle at the start of the season.

The Clarets started brightly and after just two minutes Barnes slipped Danny Ings in behind the Wigan defence, only for goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi to beat the striker to the ball.

Burnley`s pressure told in the 22nd minute as Dean Marney`s cross found Barnes, who fired home from six yards for his third goal for Burnley.

Six minutes later the pair almost linked up again but a save from Al-Habsi prevented Barnes from doubling the lead.

The Premier League was in sight for Burnley three minutes before half-time when Kightly`s free-kick from the left side of the penalty area evaded everyone and flew into the corner off Al-Habsi`s far post.

On the hour, Ings went close to his 21st league goal of the campaign, but the striker hit a post from a tight angle.

It mattered little as Burnley were almost home and dry and it wasn`t long before the celebrations began in earnest.

AFP

First Published: Monday, April 21, 2014 - 23:10

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