Ashley Barnes’ first goal in more than a year set Burnley on their way to a 2-1 win over Wolves as their resurgence continued.
Barnes ended a 17-game run without a goal when he headed home midway through the first half, while a thumping effort from Chris Wood early in the second made it the first time Burnley had scored more than once in a home game since February.
They could have had more on an encouraging night, spoiled only by Fabio Silva’s late penalty for Wolves, as Burnley made it eight points from their last four games to put a slow start to the season behind them.
Barnes was the only change to the side which drew with Aston Villa on Thursday, replacing Jay Rodriguez, desperate to end a drought which had come either side of a lengthy spell out last term with a hernia problem.
That one meant 𝒂 𝒍𝒐𝒕! 💪 pic.twitter.com/c7kLYiqAaR
— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) December 21, 2020
And though they would have to be patient in a first half during which Wolves bossed the ball, Burnley enjoyed the better chances.
Wood hooked Dwight McNeil’s 15th-minute cross narrowly wide before Rui Patricio had to save with his feet when a long clearance from Nick Pope caught Romain Saiss napping to allow Barnes a shot at goal.
The breakthrough came soon after the half hour mark. Charlie Taylor burst forward to latch on to Wood’s pass, sending in a deep cross to the far post where Barnes muscled his way through to head home and end a 970-minute run without a goal.
Ruben Neves flashed a shot narrowly over as Wolves sought a quick response, but Nuno Espirito Santo’s side lacked quality up front as they lined up without a recognised striker.
Nuno had kept Silva on the bench, instead playing a wildcard in the form of the 19-year-old Owen Otasowie, who made his full debut after appearing as a substitute in the win over Chelsea last week.
Listed as a midfielder, he took up a central role in a front three, with his physical presence certainly a disrupting force if not always an effective one.
Having gone in trailing, a response would have been expected from Nuno’s men after the break but they were on the back-foot almost immediately.
Josh Brownhill capitalised on a slip from Neves to bend a shot on to the crossbar before Wood doubled Burnley’s lead in the 51st minute after the visitors failed to deal with Ashley Westwood’s free-kick.
Ben Mee headed the ball back into the box where it struck Rayan Ait-Nouri before sitting up for Wood to blast into the roof of the net from point-blank range.
— Wolves (@Wolves) December 21, 2020
Chances kept coming, the best of them when Westwood’s pass over the top freed Wood, but Patricio was quickly out to smother the shot.
With Silva and Traore replacing Otasowie and Ait-Nouri, Wolves’ changes had an impact as they turned up the intensity late on, with Neves’ volley from the edge of the area forcing a smart save from Pope before Daniel Podence’s close-range shot was deflected wide.
Their late lifeline came when Silva wriggled away from James Tarkowski and then tumbled over a challenge from Josh Benson – just on as a substitute and guilty of conceding a penalty before touching the ball.
Silva hit the spot-kick low and hard to the left to beat Pope – denying Burnley a third straight clean sheet – but Saiss missed with a late chance from a tight angle and Wolves left empty-handed.