Barnes winner blasts Burnley up to fourth

Barnes winner blasts Burnley up to fourth
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Burnley's Ashley Barnes fired a last-gasp winner as his off-colour side climbed to the heady heights of fourth in the Premier League with a fortuitous 1-0 win over struggling Stoke City on Tuesday.

There was little to warm the home crowd on a wet and windy night but those who braved the wintry weather were celebrating in the 89th minute as Barnes seized on a ricochet off team mate Scott Arfield and thumped a shot past Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland.

Burnley moved above Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Liverpool -- all of whom play on Wednesday -- and are the highest they have been in the top flight since 1975.

Sean Dyche's side have played much better this season, but despite managing only two shots on target all night against the team with the worst defence in the Premier League, they found a way to get their ninth win from 17 games.

"Tonight was a different style of getting a result. It was an ugly game at times in harsh conditions," Dyche said.

"We found a way to win and a real fine goal. Sometimes that's football. We're not the real deal, we're a side that are improving. We're having a real go at what we can achieve this season. The fans and the town have got to enjoy these times."

Stoke's form has been in direct contrast to Burnley's and the pressure was starting to mount on manager Mark Hughes after his side's second-half capitulation in a 5-1 defeat by Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday.

That left them with 16 points from 16 games, which represented their worst start to a Premier League season, but they could count themselves unlucky not to return to the Potteries with at least a point on Tuesday.

Only a post prevented Peter Crouch giving the visitors an early lead while Kurt Zouma wasted another good chance and Mame Diouf fired an effort into the side-netting.

Hughes was jeered when he took off the creative Xherdan Shaqiri in the 84th minute but there was worse to come when Barnes produced a rare moment of quality to plunder the win.

"I thought the lads were fantastic and matched everything Burnley threw at us," Hughes said.

"I thought when we were able to get the ball down, we were the team trying to create openings in wide areas and get good balls in. It's hard to take, Burnley didn't deserve to win."

Stoke are three points above the drop zone with second-from-bottom West Ham United visiting on Saturday.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Ken Ferris and Toby Davis)

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