David Nugent’s brace from the bench completed a 3-1 win for Burnley, stretching their run of home wins to nine, and lifting them into the top half of the Premier League.

First he fired a bullet header past Craig Gordon after a flowing Burnley move, and with just minutes to play he sealed the points with a delicious left-footed curling effort from eighteen yards into the top corner.

Sunderland had been the better side until Owen Coyle swapped Steven Fletcher and Martin Paterson for Chris Eagles and Nugent, while Steve Bruce’s changes opened up acres of space for Wade Elliott to exploit fully.

The visitors started the better side, as Darren Bent and Fraizer Campbell both stretched a Burnley back four that had conceded seven goals in their previous two matches. But against the run of play the hosts got a slice of luck. Elliott ran clear down the channel and into the area, but Anton Ferdinand brought his run to an end by clattering him unnecessarily to the ground. Referee Chris Foy had no hesitation in giving the penalty on the advice of his linesman and Graham Alexander stepped up to smash the penalty straight down the middle.

Burnley enjoyed their best spell of the half after the goal, but an injury to Chris McCann meant a change of shape interrupted their flow as Joey Gudjonsson came on. And they switched off just before half-time to allow the Black Cats to equalise.

Tyrone Mears did everything right in showing Andy Reid inside onto his weaker right foot, but no tackle was forthcoming from any Clarets defender, and Reid slipped the ball through the gap between static Burnley defenders Clarke Carlisle and Andre Bikey for Darren Bent, who did what Rooney, Owen, Berbatov, Saha and Jo couldn’t do at Turf Moor, in lifting the ball over Brian Jensen in the Burnley goal to carry on his hot streak for his new club.

The goal shocked the home fans, who hadn’t seen their team concede at Turf Moor since March. But they rallied at the break and grew into the second half, playing some sparkling football. Nugent’s introduction provided an extra cutting edge and he started the move that led to Burnley’s second goal. He cushioned a header down to Chris Eagles who made progress down the flank before laying the ball back to Tyrone Mears. Mears played Elliott in and his cross was pin-perfect for Nugent to crash home his first Burnley goal, on his home debut.

The closest Bruce’s team came to a leveller was when Lorik Cana floated a header just over the bar, and even Kenwyne Jones couldn’t provide the spark to spur them on after his introduction.

And Burnley put the game away when Michael Turner stood off Nugent after a rampaging run from Elliott through the middle, the former England international starting the celebrations early with a great finish across Gordon.

The win is Burnley’s third of the season already as they continue to prove the critics wrong. Away from home they looked like lost boys against Chelsea and Liverpool, but at home, in front of 18,000 vociferous Lancastrians, they are a different proposition. They moved the ball swiftly and looked dangerous every time they attacked a nervy Sunderland defence. And at the back, bar the shaky defending for the Sunderland goal, Carlisle and Bikey repelled everything Bruce’s men could come up with.

In contrast, Sunderland looked a different side to the team that thrashed Hull 4-1 last week, and Bruce will be forced into making changes for their next game. But Burnley look on, with hope rather than fear of their first forays into the Premier League.

This article was written for FansOnline Burnley.

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