Danny Ings is proving his worth to Burnley this season, having stepped out of the shadow of Charlie Austin and Jay Rodriguez. The 21-year-old has scored seven goals in 11 league starts so far and has been rewarded for his fine form with a call-up to the England Under-21 squad. His well-taken opener against Reading set his side on the road to victory over a Royals side with 11 points from their previous five matches. Burnley never looked like losing though, as they ran riot from the first whistle. The Clarets hit 21 shots to their opponents’ seven and took the lead when a speculative ball from Kieran Trippier fooled the Reading defence and Ings fired past Alex McCarthy. The Reading goalkeeper had a fantastic match, making several vital stops in succession, but his individual efforts were in vain given his team-mates’ profligacy at the other end. Sam Vokes, another Clarets striker in fine form, doubled the lead with ten minutes left, side-footing into the net from a tight angle. Reading did eventually force a consolation when Jason Shackell couldn’t get out of the way of a Pavel Pogrebnyak header, and put through his own net. The three points were nothing less than deserved for the home side however, and they top the table after eleven games.
It’s taken until October for Bolton to register their first win of the season, but the Trotters were hardly convincing in their performance against Birmingham City. The visitors took the lead early on through Jermaine Beckford after Dan Burn’s error let the striker in on goal. Birmingham looked lethargic and their debut-hero Jesse Lingard failed to get into the game in the first half. Callum Reilly offered the sole threat for the hosts, as his 25-yard curler was pushed away by Adam Bogdan. After the break both sides had more zip about them and Birmingham were eager for an equaliser, but some more sloppiness in the defence let Beckford in again – but he headed another effort against the bar. David Randolph compounded his side’s misery when he failed to collect a cross and allowed Neil Danns to put Bolton 2-0 up. Just five minutes later, and Birmingham’s Nikola Zigic got a fortuitous header past Bogdan and made the last 20 minutes interesting. Any relief that Bolton boss Dougie Freedman had at his side’s seemingly impending win would have been tested when in the dying moments Liam Feeney blocked Reilly’s shot with his arms inside the box. Referee David Coote decided against giving the penalty, and Bolton clung on for the three points and moved out of the relegation zone.
Millwall shot out of the blocks at Dean Court on Saturday, with two goals in the opening 10 minutes. It’s hard to think that anyone in the stadium would have predicted another five goals were to come, and none for the away side. Martyn Waghorn slammed a low shot past Stephen Henderson before turning provider for Liam Trotter, as his low cross found the midfielder with enough time to pull an audacious chip and double Millwall’s lead. Henderson, who was handed his debut, was getting heckled by the away support for his West Ham connections but it was his opposite number who’d be the subject of taunts at the end of the match. Bournemouth didn’t let the early deficit affect them, and they grabbed a crucial goal on the stroke of half-time courtesy of Ryan Fraser’s strike from the edge of the box. With boss Eddie Howe’s words ringing in their ears, the Cherries came out and hit their opponents with one blow after another, as the second half very quickly turned into a one-sided affair. Steve Cook equalised from a near post header, before Harry Arter marked his return from injury with a strong drive which left David Forde with no chance. Millwall’s uphill task was made tougher when defender Alan Dunne picked up his second yellow of the match and allow Bournemouth’s top scorer Lewis Grabban a chance from the penalty spot. He dispatched it with ease, and the hosts’ man advantage told as the game petered out with a second penalty, scored by Bret Pitman who was brought off the bench just minutes earlier. 5-2 the final score, and a bleak journey back to London for the Lions.
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