- Albion win 2-1 at Burnley in their final game of the season
- Goals from Yves Bissouma and Aaron Connolly cancel out Chris Wood's equaliser
- Mali international nets his first for the club and Connolly’s goal is his third of the campaign
- Seagulls finish the season unbeaten in seven on the road
Albion ended the season on a high, establishing a new Premier League record of 41 points with a 2-1 win at Burnley.
Yves Bissouma scored his first goal for the club on his 50th Premier League appearance midway through the first period and after Chris Wood equalised against the run of play, Aaron Connolly restored Albion’s lead early in the second half with his third goal of the campaign.
Graham Potter brought in Alexis Mac Allister, Solly March and Aaron Connolly in a 3-4-1-2 formation with March and Tariq Lamptey providing width and Mac Allister in behind Connolly and top scorer Neal Maupay.
Albion made a lively start but the first moment of alarm came at the other end when Dale Stephens tussled with Jay Rodriguez, but VAR upheld referee Moss’s decision that it wasn’t a penalty.
The Seagulls responded by taking the lead with a stunning goal in the 20th minute. Chris Wood’s clearance fell to Bissouma 25 yards out, took a touch and the Mali international curled a fantastic shot with the inside of his right foot into the top left-hand corner, with Clarets’ keeper Nick Pope helpless. Not a bad start to life in the new home kit!
It was nearly two for the Seagulls four minutes later. Lamptey’s cross found Maupay who climbed highest and saw his header beat Pope and come back off the bar to Connolly, whose overhead kick drifted wide of the right-hand post. Fine margins indeed.
Lamptey was provider again in the 27th minute when his pass picked out Mac Allister in space and the midfielder should have done better than shoot straight at Pope.
The visitors were made to pay for those misses when Burnley levelled with their first shot on target in the 44th minute. Erik Pieters’ pass down the inside-left channel found Wood ghosting into space beyond Lewis Dunk and he controlled the ball superbly before sliding it past Ryan and inside the far post.
Albion carved out a great chance three minutes after the break. Dunk found Lamptey over-lapping on the right with a wonderful pass. Lamptey’s cross was just as inviting for Connolly but his effort at the far post hit Pope’s ankles.
But the Irishman wasn’t to be denied and put Albion back in front in the 50th minute with a high-quality finish. Connolly outpaced James Tarkowski, cut in from the left and then opened his body up and side-footed past Pope from the tightest of angles for his first goal since his double helped sink Tottenham back in October.
Burnley thought they had levelled seven minutes later when Rodriguez met Ashley Westwood’s corner from the left with a flicked header at the far post, but VAR ruled Johann Gudmundsson was offside.
The hosts, with a cold Pennine wind behind them, pushed again in the 63rd minute and when Tarkowski’s header dropped for Kevin Long ten yards out he let fly, only for Dunk to throw himself in front of the shot and deflect it for a corner. Albion were hanging on and it needed a goal-line clearance, this time by Stephens, to thwart Rodriguez.
Although Burnley were pressing hard, Albion were still a threat. A counter-attack started from deep inside his own half by Adam Webster ended with Connolly firing over from March’s pass.
Webster headed Robbie Brady’s on-target effort away and the Burnley sub should have done better in the 88th minute when Aaron Mooy cleared the ball to him but he lifted his left-foot shot wide of goal.
It meant Albion finish the campaign unbeaten away from home in seven games and 351 days after it had started, Albion’s season ended as it had begun, with a victory.
ALBION: Ryan, Lamptey, Dunk, Webster, Burn, Stephens, Bissouma (Propper 73), March (Bernardo 73), Mac Allister (Mooy 73), Maupay (Jahanbakhsh 90+2), Connolly (Murray 89).
SUBS NOT USED: Button, Trossard, Gross, Montoya.
REFEREE: J. Moss