Match report – Jack Cork haunts old club Swansea as Burnley impress again

Jack Cork helped heap the pressure on his former manager, Paul Clement, as Burnley swept aside Swansea 2-0 at Turf Moor.

Cork was handed his England debut against Germany last week and continued making memories by nodding home the first goal against his former club, underlining Clement’s increasingly curious decision to let him go in the summer.

Ashley Barnes followed up with a rocket of a strike that caught everyone by surprise, handing the upwardly mobile Clarets their third win in a row and plunging Swansea into the kind of relegation trough that leaves managers looking nervously over their shoulder.

Sean Dyche, meanwhile, has now overseen his club’s first hat-trick of top-flight wins since 1975 and can expect links with the vacant Everton job to linger.

While Cork’s form highlights Dyche’s canny knack of invigorating low-key personnel, Swansea’s woes were embodied by Renato Sanches. Once one of Europe’s hottest teenage properties, he is now something of a lost soul.

The Bayern Munich loanee is not even a guaranteed starter at the Welsh strugglers and his efforts here can only have steered him closer to the bench.

His set-piece delivery was dreadful, he dallied in possession and, when a woeful shot disappeared over the bar he raised both hands in apology to his team-mates. Quite how Euro 2016’s breakout star has come to this is anyone’s guess.

Burnley’s biggest moment of concern came from one of their own in the eighth minute, Matt Lowton launching a volleyed clearance just wide after Jordan Ayew chased down a lost cause.

The rest of the first half belonged to Burnley, who attacked with a frantic quality that unnerved the visitors and settled the result by the interval.

One passage saw three chances open up in a matter of seconds – Alfie Mawson stealing one of Barnes’ toes, Lukasz Fabianski beating away Steven Defour’s subsequent drive and Sam Clucas smothering another attempt from Jeff Hendrick.

When corner floated towards the far post moments later, only a sprawling save from Fabianski spared Martin Olsson an own-goal.

The Polish keeper was doing all the heavy lifting for his side, rising to the occasion again when Barnes met Lowton’s cross at the far post and produced a powerful header.

His resistance was broken on the half-hour as Cork ferried the ball 20 yards upfield before laying it off to Barnes and heading for the six-yard box. By the time he got there, unmarked, Robbie Brady had provided the kind of cross which demands to be planted into the corner, as Cork happily did. It will not be lost on Swans fans that he scored just twice for them in two and a half years.

Barnes’ brilliant strike made it two five minutes before the break, the forward gathered Hendrick’s pass with a neat touch before rifling a thunderous drive inside the near post.

Swansea sent on Wilfried Bony at the break but, like Sanches, he is a man shorn of form and fulfillment.

He snatched at his first chance, lashing wide from an inviting position, and was robbed by a sliding Lowton just as he shaped to shoot in the 75th minute.

Swansea’s bad luck caught up with Tammy Abraham next. The striker made his England bow along with Cork at Wembley but while the latter left Turf Moor beaming in celebration, Abraham departed on a stretcher having battled an apparent back problem for several minutes.

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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