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Burnley survive scare against MK Dons after Vydra strike and shootout drama

burnley-survive-scare-against-mk-dons-after-vydra-strike-and-shootout-drama

Burnley goalkeeper Will Norris makes a save from Milton Keynes Dons’ Lasse Sorensen in the penalty shootout






Burnley goalkeeper Will Norris makes a save from Milton Keynes Dons’ Lasse Sorensen in the penalty shootout.
Photograph: Tim Goode/PA

Burnley avoided an FA Cup upset with a penalty shootout victory over MK Dons.

The League One side led through Cameron Jerome’s 29th-minute header and looked set to beat a Premier League team in the competition for the second time but the Burnley substitute Matej Vydra grabbed an equaliser in the final minute of injury time to make it 1-1.

The Dons manager, Russell Martin, was then sent to the stands and extra time did not yield a goal.

Vydra’s opening spot-kick was saved by the excellent Lee Nicholls but Burnley’s debutant keeper, Will Norris, proved the hero with stops from Lasse Sorensen and Ben Gladwin before Phil Bardsley rolled in the winning penalty.

It meant a winning start to Burnley’s new era following their takeover by the American investors ALK Capital, although their new chairman, Alan Pace, was forced to watch the match from home after a member of his household tested positive for coronavirus.

The Burnley manager, Sean Dyche, said: “I thought the performance was decent. Trying to balance all that and win a game was a bit tricky, and it was made even trickier by a good MK Dons side that tried to take the game on.

“I thought their keeper was excellent. It’s a strange one. You look at our side and say we should have won that game and we did in the end.”

Burnley’s squad has also been hit by Covid and the goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell was a notable absentee, meaning a chance for Norris. Jack Cork made his first appearance of the season after ankle surgery and Jóhann Berg Gudmundsson also returned in what was a strong Burnley side.

Nicholls was quickly called into action, tipping over Chris Wood’s header inside 30 seconds and the keeper was the difference in the first 15 minutes. Ashley Barnes had the freedom of Turf Moor but his lack of confidence after scoring one goal this season was clear as he tried to go around Nicholls and the keeper pushed the ball away. He then brilliantly denied Barnes on the volley.

Jerome had the first sight of goal at the other end only to be blocked by James Tarkowski, but he produced a fine header for the opening goal after Scott Fraser flicked on Stephen Walker’s cross.

Burnley should have responded immediately but with the goal gaping Tarkowski could only first slice the ball into the air and then poke it against a post from a yard out.

On the stroke of half-time Richard Keogh blocked a long ball with his arm as Wood ran in behind and Jon Moss showed a red card. But a second look on the pitchside monitor persuaded Moss that Wood had fouled Keogh and the card was rescinded.

Burnley kept probing in the second half as the snow began to fall but without showing enough quality in the final third. Robbie Brady had two chances, first volleying over and then being denied by another strong save from Nicholls, while the speedy debutant Joel Mumbongo broke through but the keeper again kept the effort out.

With the four minutes of injury time nearly up, Fraser was adjudged to have fouled Bardsley and from the free-kick Vydra fired in an equaliser.

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Martin earned a red card that did stick, presumably for his protests, and Gladwin came agonisingly close to restoring the Dons’ lead with a long-range effort that smacked against a post in the opening period of in extra time.

Dale Stephens should have found the net for Burnley but he side-footed wide from what proved to be the final chance to avoid penalties.

“I’m really disappointed for my players but I’m also immensely proud so I want to try to focus on that,” said Martin.

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