Scott Twine’s stunning late free-kick saw Burnley come from behind to beat West Brom 2-1 at Turf Moor and move another step closer to an instant return to the Premier League.
Vincent Kompany’s side have dominated this Championship season, losing just twice, but found themselves behind at half-time after Darnell Furlong gave the resurgent Baggies an early lead (7).
Carlos Corberan looked like he was going to claim his 10th win from his first 12 Championship games as West Brom manager, with the visitors poised to move up to third, but Nathan Tella leveled the scores with a powerful finish (75).
Burnley then pushed for a winner that would move them 19 points clear of third-placed Watford – and they got it through Scott Twine, who whipped an 88th-minute free-kick into the top corner to score his first goal for the club and spark wild celebrations under the Turf Moor lights.
How Burnley broke down stubborn Baggies
Kompany claimed pre-match that West Brom would provide his Burnley side with their toughest game of the season, and the manager’s words looked to be coming true when an unmarked Furlong headed in a corner at close range.
The defending was surprisingly slack for a side that had conceded the second fewest goals in the Championship this season, but was indicative of Burnley’s first-half display, with West Brom keeping their ponderous hosts at arm’s length while posing a regular threat on the counter- attack.
Burnley were fortunate not to find themselves two goals down when referee Jarred Gillett spared Arijanet Muric’s blushes after the goalkeeper fumbled the ball into his own net under pressure from Okay Yokuslu.
Gillett was less generous in the opposite penalty area, but he made the right call to turn down three hopeful Burnley penalty appeals for fouls on Ashley Barnes, Josh Brownhill and Nathan Tella.
The Clarets did come close to equalizing when their former defender Erik Pieters almost turned Barnes’ cross into his own net, before Barnes hit the bar just before half-time.
But Burnley played with more focus, energy and intent in the second half, and West Brom were pushed further backwards until they finally caved when Tella ran onto Anass Zaroury’s clever ball behind their defense before lashing a shot past Alex Palmer.
Burnley’s winner began to feel inevitable, with West Brom defending ever more desperately until Twine – brought off the bench for just his fifth appearance since signing from MK Dons in the summer – curled in from the edge of the area to snatch another three points for Kompany’s side.
Kompany: West Brom are best in the league
Kompany admitted he was “drained” yet “pleased” after witnessing his side come back to defeat a West Brom team that he considered to be potentially the best in the Championship.
“I’m happy – drained and tired, but pleased for the guys,” the Burnley boss told Sky Sports. “It was such a good performance.
“I saw a few opportunities for us to do a little bit more damage in the first half. It just took the half-time break for us to get it right.
“I saw in West Brom maybe the best team in the league. I felt it was such a tricky game, they were on such a good run and I thought they had a lot of tools to hurt us.”
Kompany also reserved praised for Twine after he won the game with his free-kick from 18 yards out, saying: “One of the players behind me said ‘it should have been a penalty’, but I said: “For Twiney, it is a penalty.” He’s scored so many of those.
“Twiney took his opportunity and I’m really happy for him, given the journey he’s been on.”
Corberan: We must keep growing
Corberan admitted West Brom were second best despite leading Burnley for much of the night, and urged his side to use the experience as evidence of their need to continue improving.
“We need to reflect on why we were a worse team than them because for me today they were better for us,” Corberan told Sky Sports. “Maybe it’s the fact we started very fast and it gave us the feeling we needed to defend our result.
“But to win these games we need to offer more. Even if they played better than us today, we were not too far from getting the result we wanted to get. But if you are just defending, it’s just a question of time.
“Sometimes it’s better to defend higher and attack more. We didn’t attack well. We accept that they were better and we need to understand that we need to keep growing – a lot.”
Burnley: Muric (6), Roberts (6), Beyer (7), Taylor (7), Maatsen (7), Cullen (7), Bastien (6), Brownhill (7), Tella (7), Barnes (7), Zaroury (7).
Subs: Rodriguez (6), Benson (6), Twine (7), Vitinho (n/a).
West Brom: Palmer (6), Furlong (6), O’Shea (6), Pieters (6), Townsend (7), Molumby (6), Yokuslu (7), Diangana (6), Wallace (6), Swift (7 ), Dick (5).
Subs: Rogic (5), Reach (n/a), Grant (n/a).
Man of the match: Anass Zaroury
Both sides are next in FA Cup fourth-round action on Saturday January 28 at 3pm, with West Brom visiting Bristol City and Burnley traveling to League One side Ipswich.
Burnley’s next Championship fixture is on Saturday February 4 when they play away to Norwichlive on Sky Sports – kick-off 12.30pm.
West Brom’s next league game is at home to Coventry on Friday February 3 – kick-off 8pm.