- Burnley 1, Albion 2
Albion made a great start to the season as they came from behind to triumph at Turf Moor.
James Tarkowski gave the hosts a controversial second-minute lead when he headed home and the Clarets twice hit the woodwork as they dominated the first 45.
But Albion worked their way back into the game in the second half and had 1300 away fans in raptures with two goals in eight minutes. Neal Maupay celebrated his 25th birthday by sweeping home a cross from Jakub Moder before another substitute, Alexis Mac Allister, made it 2-1 moments after coming off the bench in the 78th minute.
Albion fell behind in controversial circumstances after just two minutes. Tarkowski pushed Neal Maupay over inside the box as he attacked a corner and headed in unmarked at the far post. There was a VAR check, but the goal was allowed to stand, despite protests to referee David Coote from Albion players.
Burnley and a raucous home crowd were right up for the battle. Johann Gudmundsson – who scored in the 1-1 draw at Turf Moor in February - was booked for a heavy challenge on Yves Bissouma then Tarkowski followed him when he brought down Maupay 25 yards out. Solly March’s free kick was on target but easy for Nick Pope.
Burnley nearly had a second in the 19th minute. Gudmundsson ran forward from midfield and let fly from 20 yards with a right-foot shot across Rob Sanchez which came back off the far post. On his 25th birthday, Maupay received an unwanted card when he was booked in the opening 25 minutes for a foul on Tarkowski before the hosts threatened again. Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez combined with Wood’s lay-off allowing his team-mate a shot which fortunately for Albion was straight at Sanchez.
Albion had another let-off in the 36th minute. Sanchez punched an in-swinging corner only as far as Ben Mee whose header bounced out off the underside of the bar to Tarkowski, who volleyed over. At that stage Albion were fortunate to only be one behind but it needed a goal-line clearance by Dwight McNeil after Shane Duffy met Solly March's corner with a strong header before Maupay glanced a header wide during Albion’s best spell of the first half.
Adam Lallana replaced Enock Mwepu at the break, Bissouma moved into his familiar position as a deep-lying midfielder and Albion started the second half well. Maupay forced Mee to save low down when he connected with a cutback by March – who had swapped flanks with Gross in another tactical tweak – before Leo Trossard curled an effort wide after Steven Alzate picked him out inside the box.
The visitors were much more in the game approaching the final quarter, but could they create that clear-cut opportunity to get back in the game. The answer was yes. On 70 minutes Moder, who had just come on, raced into space down the right onto a nicely weighted pass by Bissouma and his low cross was stabbed home by Maupay.
It got better for Albion, who went in front eight minutes later as another substitute made a dramatic impact as once again, Albion profited from a move down the right. Gross pulled the ball back and Mac Allister, who had only just come on, clipped the ball past Pope from eight yards.
It was a stunning turnaround by Albion, and head coach Graham Potter will derive a great deal of satisfaction from how his substitutions had such a positive impact and they were denied a third in stoppage time when Tarkowski cleared Gross' chip off the line.
Shane Duffy made his first Albion start since June 2020 while there was a Premier League debut in midfield for Enock Mwepu. Taylor Richards was in a Premier League squad for the first time having made his only previous first-team appearance in the Carabao Cup tie against Aston Villa in September 2019. Albion lined up with a back four with Pascal Gross at left-back and Adam Webster at right-back.
Albion: Sanchez, Webster, Dunk, Duffy, Gross, Bissouma, Alzate (Moder 70), Mwepu (Lallana 45), Trossard (Mac Allister 77), Maupay, March. Subs: Steele, Karbownik, Zeqiri, Andone, Caicedo, Richards.
Yellow cards: Gudmundsson (foul), Tarkowski (foul), Maupay (foul)