Ings strike downs Villa
Published 24/05/2015 | 17:31
Burnley signed off from the Barclays Premier League with a deserved 1-0 win at Aston Villa as Danny Ings gave them a perfect leaving present.
But the striker's first-half winner still meant the Clarets finished second bottom as they made a swift return to the Football League.
It was his 11th of the season and possibly last strike for the club with the out-of-contract forward expected to leave Turf Moor in the summer.
Villa, subdued for most of the first half, struggled to make a breakthrough although Tom Heaton saved from Gabriel Agbonlahor, Christian Benteke and Ashley Westwood.
Defeat saw Villa finish fourth bottom in the Premier League, ahead of the FA Cup final with Arsenal on Saturday, after another brush with the drop.
With one eye on Wembley, Tim Sherwood handed keeper Jed Steer his top-flight debut while Nathan Baker returned from a knee injury and Agbonlahor was also recalled.
Michael Keane and Fredrik Ulvestad started for Burnley with the Clarets having already been relegated.
But Sean Dyche's side refused to go without one last fight and hit the winner after just six minutes.
Ings cashed in on poor Villa defending when he looped a header over Steer after Ashley Barnes' clever knock down.
It allowed the visitors to open up and they were the more adventurous as Villa struggled to find any momentum.
But they still should have levelled after 16 minutes only for Ron Vlaar to blaze wide from 15 yards after Tom Cleverley found him free in the box.
A subdued Villa Park was expecting to party after they sealed survival last week but ended watching in almost silence as the hosts stuttered.
And they were almost stunned again on 26 minutes when Ings should have doubled Burnley's lead.
George Boyd tricked his way to the byline and left Charles N'Zogbia trailing but Ings could only balloon his cross over.
The quiet Benteke then saw a volley deflect wide eight minutes before the break, before Heaton saved his downward header two minutes later.
It was at least signs of life from Villa who, up until then, played in second gear and allowed Burnley too much time and space.
Heaton tipped Westwood's stinging drive over in first-half injury time and Villa kept pressing after the break.
Benteke and Fabian Delph lashed wide but while the hosts improved they lacked the quality to breakthrough.
Yet Agbonlahor should have levelled on 63 minutes when he fired straight at Heaton after Benteke had bulldozed his way through.
Instantly, though, Burnley broke and Steer needed to block Boyd's attempted chip after the midfielder broke past Villa's static defence.
It was the Clarets' only second-half chance as the hosts continued to make the running and Heaton needed to be at his agile best to deny Delph and N'Zogbia in quick succession.
First, he turned Delph's shot away before tipping over N'Zogbia's rising drive a minute later.
But Villa's threat waned with Burnley having the luxury of substituting Ings to consolidate their lead at the death.