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Returning Barton stars as Burnley beat Saints 1-0


Burnley (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Substitute Joey Barton marked his return to Burnley, after a short-lived stint at Rangers, by scoring a 78th-minute free-kick to earn his side a 1-0 home win over Southampton on Saturday.

The controversial English midfielder returned to the Premier League this month despite having a charge of misconduct hanging over him for alleged betting. 

The 34-year-old, who played a leading role in Burnley’s promotion last term, started on the bench, coming on to an ovation at Turf Moor in place Dean Marney after 73 minutes.

Five minutes later he was the star of the day as he blasted in a long-range free-kick after Oriel Romeu fouled George Boyd.

It gave Burnley their eighth win — all at home — and a third one in four games to climb into tenth place.

Southampton, who had won the reverse fixture 3-1 in October, slip to their fourth consecutive loss and 13th position.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche made two changes following a 2-1 loss at Man City with Marney and Steven Defour in midfield in place of injured duo Scott Arfield and Johann Berg.

For Southampton, there were four changes from their 3-0 loss at Everton, with Dutch centre-back Virgil van Dijk playing ahead of Jose Fonte, Shane Long and Dudan Tadic up front while Ryan Bertrand was at left-back.

Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton did well to keep his net clear in the first half with Tadic sending wide early, and Ben Mee clearing another on the back post.

Steven Defour tested Fraser Forster from distance while Long headed a Cedric Soares cross into the side netting.

Barton came on and had an immediate impact, clearing a van Dijk header back across from a free-kick caused panic in the Clarets box.

Then minutes later Barton was presented with a free-kick opportunity, beating Fraser Foster in goal with a slight deflection, stealing the show on his return after an unsuccessful spell in Scotland where he was handed a one-match suspension for breaching rules on gambling.

Ryan Bertrand and Van Dijk were both denied equalisers by Heaton, who made a double save to thwart Rodriguez and Josh Sims.

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