Thursday 22 February 2018

Wily Fox inspires Burnley

Nugent 14, Fox 55
Ilan 81

Chris Brereton

FOR SOME people, it takes five years to become an overnight sensation.

Burnley’s Danny Fox is one of those people, although he is making up for lost time as he set up one and scored the other in a pulsating encounter on Saturday that saw Burnley emerge victorious at the expense of West Ham United, who also replaced them in the bottom three as a result.

Fox began his footballing career at Everton, alongside the likes of a certain Wayne Rooney, yet he was released by the Merseyside club in 2005 having never played a game in the Premier League.

Yet after stints at Walsall, Coventry City and six months at Celtic, he has finally arrived at the stage he has always dreamt of and he demonstrated his desire to stay at this level with a superb showing against Gianfranco Zola’s side in Burnley’s 2-1 win.

“I got let go by Everton when I was 18 and I am an Everton fan,” Fox said. “It was a bitter blow but it was my aim to prove people wrong. It was always my dream to play in the Premier League and I don’t want to be here for a few months – I want to be here for the rest of my career if possible.”

“People say, ‘You wouldn’t play in the Premier League’, but hopefully I have answered a few of my critics.” Fox started answering those critics as early as the 14th minute when he launched a high through-ball in the direction of David Nugent, who benefited from the indecision by Matthew Upson. He dithered and that allowed Nugent to slip past him and lob the onrushing Robert Green for the first goal.

West Ham were punished further for their lax approach soon after the interval when Jack Collison ridiculously pushed Tyrone Mears to the ground on the edge of the box and Fox curled home a great free-kick.

Puzzlingly though, the goal fired West Ham’s enthusiasm and they dominated the last half-hour to the extent that it was remarkable that they failed to earn a point.

Carlton Cole had a chance ruled out for offside before the Brazilian striker Ilan swept home with 10 minutes left to ensure a nervy finish. Junior Stanislas and Mido then both tested the woodwork and Scott Parker was also denied by a wonderful low save from Brian Jensen, easily the busiest man in Lancashire for most of the second half.

Burnley (4-4-2): Jensen; Mears, Cort, Carlisle, Fox (Edgar, 86); Elliott, Bikey, McDonald, Blake (Paterson, 72), Fletcher, Nugent (Thompson, 89). Substitutes not used: Weaver (gk), Duff, Eagles, Cork.

West Ham United (4-4-2): Green; Faubert, Tomkins, Upson, Spector; Parker, Behrami, Collison (Stanislas, 62), Noble (Ilan, 77); Cole, McCarthy (Mido, 46). Substitutes not used: Stech (gk), Kovac, Da Costa, Ilunga.

Referee: H Webb (South Yorkshire).

Booked: Burnley Fox, McDonald; West Ham Parker.

Man of the match: Fox.

Attendance: 21,001.

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