Newcastle United 2, Burnley 0: Burnley's unbeaten Premier League run comes to an end

James Tarkowski rues a missed opportunity
James Tarkowski rues a missed opportunity

Burnley's unbeaten run in the Premier League came to a close as Newcastle United ran out 2-1 winners at St James's Park.

The Clarets had been rubbing shoulders with Europe's elite after embarking on an eight-game stretch without a loss - their best spell in the top flight since 1966 - but they weren't feeling themselves in the north east.

Only Manchester City and Manchester United could better Burnley's 18-point return over that spell but they'll be forced in to a rethink when Crystal Palace come to Turf Moor at the weekend.

Sean Dyche's side were a shadow of the side that had responded so impressively to defeat against Everton on Boxing Day.

All the good qualities that they had shown during a record-breaking eight-game unbeaten run in the Premier League had dissipated and the Magpies capitalised.

The visitors were flat, uninspired, one-dimensional and disjointed. A far cry from what had been on display in away games against Huddersfield Town, Watford, Manchester United and Brighton.

Having dealt with the marauding runs of Serge Aurier and Danny Rose on Saturday, the Clarets had more of an issue negating the threat of Newcastle United's wide men.

The running of Matt Ritchie and Javier Manquillo coupled with the movement of Miguel Almiron and Ayoze Perez continuously stretched and troubled the away side.

As soon as £21m signing from Atlanta United, Almiron, slid the ball wide of the upright, Rafa Benitez's men grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.

Switzerland international Fabian Schar then reminded the Clarets of his capabilities inside the opposition's penalty area only for Tom Heaton to save the defender's header down at his left hand upright.

However, there was nothing the Burnley skipper could do when the former Deportivo centre back struck to open the scoring midway through the half.

The 27-year-old was afforded far too much space on the edge of the box, with a jaded-looking Dwight McNeil failing to apply the pressure, and he thumped the ball past Heaton off the inside of the post.

It was the first goal Newcastle had scored from outside the box since last April, when Perez netted against Leicester City.

As poor as the visitors were, they did create a number of good opportunities. Martin Dubravka didn't know much about Chris Wood's volley when the striker connected with Johann Berg Gudmundsson's corner. But, as oblivious as he was, the Slovakian goalkeeper did enough to keep the effort out.

That proved to be a key moment and the hosts went on to double the advantage before the break.

Ritchie infiltrated the space in behind the full back to deliver from the byeline, Rondon couldn't connect, but Sean Longstaff was in place to fire the ball across Heaton and in to the far corner to bag his first Premier League goal for the club.

Burnley's big opportunity to get back in to the game before half-time came from another set-piece situation as Gudmundsson's kick was helped on by both Ben Mee and Ashley Barnes only for an unmarked James Tarkowski to lift over the crossbar from close range.

It didn't get much better for Burnley in the second period, either. Manquillo's pass caught Taylor on his heels early on but Almiron's touch favoured Heaton, who saved with his toes.

Tarkowski had a chance to redeem himself in the second half when the centre back towered above Florian Lejeune to meet substitute Robbie Brady's corner. However, the header sailed well wide of the target.

Peter Crouch and Matej Vydra were introduced in the closing stages of the game, and both had a swing at the ball when Brady's corner caused panic in the six-yard box, but they couldn't alter the course of the game.

Fortunately, results elsewhere were favourable as Cardiff City lost at home to Everton and the Seagulls were beaten by Leicester City.