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13/12/2014: Burnley 1-0 Saints

Saints suffered a 4th straight defeat at the hands of struggling Burnley. Ronald Koeman's side were well below their best for most of a poor match.

Burnley made a more energetic start to the game. Danny Ings' miscued header was easy for Fraser Forster to gather in the 1st minute. The same player shot wide a few moments later following another good breakaway. Saints were far too slow in possession. Jake Hesketh struck the ball over the bar from Sadio Mane's 9th minute knock-down.

After 15 minutes the tempo of the game slowed, with Saints gaining control of the ball. Ryan Bertrand shot over from a corner on 22. Burnley troubled the visitors with a goalmouth scramble after Hesketh had gone down injured. The game then entered a lull, only briefly livening up for a spell towards the end of the half. Ward-Prowse had half a chance from range. Saints never once opened up their opponents during the opening 45.

Saints made a slow start to the 2nd half. Koeman's men were wasteful in possession, and there wasn't enough urgency in the opponents half. Saints did start to put a few decent moves together as the game dragged on. Mane curled the ball over the bar on 58 following some great build up play. Moments later Bertrand was hacked down and Saints were given a spot-kick. Dusan Tadic shot low to Tom Heaton's left, but was thwarted by the Clarets stopper.

Koeman mixed things up slightly going forward, with Mane and Tadic playing more centrally as the full-backs were given great licence to push on. Saints looked slightly more dangerous as a result. Pelle latched on to Tadic's clever pass before shooting wide of the near post.

Just when Saints appeared to be finally getting it together going forward, Burnley hit back. The home side took the lead on 73 minutes. Ings pressed Clyne on the left flank, before the ball fell to Ashley Barnes, who sent Forster the wrong way with the aid of a deflection.

Saints attacked with desperation during the final quarter. Mane's 75th minute header was well held by Heaton. James Ward-Prowse hit the side netting from on free-kick on 80. Clyne clipped the post with a rocket of the shot late on. Finally, Victor Wanyama headed wide from Ward-Prowse's cross deep into stoppage time. It was a poor miss, and pretty much summed up Saints' day.

The three previous defeats were excusable to some degree, given the quality of the opposition and the number of injuries. Saints had players missing at Turf Moor, but could and should have caused Burnley more problems with the side that was put out. Aside from a few brief spells in the 2nd half, Saints weren't creative enough in the final third. Mane and Tadic haven't performed to the level they were at earlier in the season recently. On a more positive note, Ward-Prowse looked decent on his return. His delivery has been missed and could prove useful during the tricky festive period.

Player Ratings:

Forster: 6. Not entirely convincing again

Clyne: 6. Got caught out for the goal, but offered reasonable support going forward

Fonte: 7. Did well to get himself out of a few tricky situations

Alderweireld: 7. Calm on the ball and mostly good decision making

Bertrand: 6. A few misplaced passes, but generally attacked with purpose. Did well to win the penalty

Wanyama: 6. Got a bit sloppy towards the end of the game, but strong in other periods

Davis: 7. A good outlet for Saints, always showing for the ball. Some good skill too

Hesketh: 6. Made a solid start to the game before coming off injured as the result of a tough tackle

Mane: 5. Kept it simple without ever really testing the Burnley defence

Tadic: 6. A few bursts of quality midway through the 2nd half, but mostly quiet. Penalty miss proved to be decisive

Pelle: 7. Some classy touches. Involved in a few decent moves in the 2nd half, but also picked up a silly booking

Substitutes

Ward-Prowse: 7. Solid first match back. Nice to have someone who can take a good set piece

Long: Briefly injected a bit of energy into Saints' attack, but ineffective in front of goal

Match Details

Burnley - Barnes (73)

Attendance - 17,287

Referee: Mark Clattenberg

Line-ups

Saints: Forster, Clyne, Fonte, Alderweireld, Bertrand, Wanyama, S Davis, Hesketh (Ward-Prowse 32), Mane (Long 78), Tadic, Pelle

Subs not used: K Davis, Gardos, Yoshida, Reed, Mayuka

Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Keane, Shackell, Mee (Lafferty 74), Arfield, Marney, Jones, Boyd, Barnes, Ings

Subs not used: Gilks, Wallace, Chalobah, Long, Kightly, Jutkiewicz

Previous Match Reports

09/12/2014: Saints U18s 2-1 West Ham
08/12/2014: Saints 1-2 Man United
03/12/2014: Arsenal 1-0 Saints
01/12/2014: Saints U21s 1-0 Man United U21s
30/11/2014: Saints 0-3 Man City
24/11/2014: Aston Villa 1-1 Saints
08/11/2014: Saints 2-0 Leicester
01/11/2014: Hull 0-1 Saints
29/10/2014: Stoke 2-3 Saints
25/10/2014: Saints 1-0 Stoke
18/10/2014: Saints 8-0 Sunderland
05/10/2014: Tottenham 1-0 Saints
29/09/2014: Saints U21s 2-0 Norwich U21s
27/09/2014: Saints 2-1 QPR
23/09/2014: Arsenal 1-2 Saints
20/09/2014: Swansea 0-1 Saints
13/09/2014: Saints 4-0 Newcastle
12/09/2014: Tottenham U21s 3-2 Saints U21s
30/08/2014: West Ham 1-3 Saints
26/08/2014: Millwall 0-2 Saints
23/08/2014: Saints 0-0 West Brom
22/08/2014: West Ham U21s 1-2 Saints U21s
17/08/2014: Liverpool 2-1 Saints
09/08/2014: Saints 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen
31/07/2014: Brighton 1-3 Saints
25/07/2014: Bournemouth 0-1 Saints
21/07/2014: Swindon 0-1 Saints