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Turf Moor (ATT 18,005) 3rd May 2009 - Kick off 13:15 Ref: C Oliver

Burnley Burnley vs Bristol City Bristol C

Clarets book play-off spot

Burnley ease past Bristol City

Last Updated: 03/05/09 4:20pm

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Alexander opens the scoring

Alexander opens the scoring

Burnley booked their place in the Championship play-offs after comfortable 4-0 win over Bristol City at Turf Moor.

The Clarets went into the game knowing they could miss out on a spot in the top-seven - but they did what was needed by claiming victory.

Graham Alexander and Wade Elliott found the net shortly before half-time for Owen Coyle's men against last season's beaten play-off finalists.

Alexander, now 37 but a key performer for Burnley throughout their marathon campaign, converted his second spot-kick with 14 minutes remaining and substitute Joey Gudjonsson added a fourth in the closing stages.

The Clarets attacked with pace and purpose in the opening quarter with the outstanding Chris Eagles at the heart of all their most promising moves

Victory was no more than the Clarets deserved as they were vibrant throughout and again reproduced the attractive brand of football which has won them many admirers.

Reading will not relish facing Coyle's men, who bundled Fulham, Chelsea and Arsenal out of the Carling Cup earlier this season and took Tottenham to extra-time in a classic semi-final encounter at Turf Moor.


Coyle has made Burnley a respected force and given his players the belief that they can reach Wembley and win a money-spinning promotion to the Premier League.

They went into this game needing a win to guarantee their place in the play-offs due to neighbours Preston lying just two points below them prior to kick-off.

Yet the Clarets attacked with pace and purpose in the opening quarter with the outstanding Chris Eagles at the heart of all their most promising moves.

The former Manchester United winger illustrated his quality in the eighth minute by flicking up the ball from Elliott's pass and unleashing a fierce right-foot shot from around 10 yards.

City goalkeeper Adriano Basso was well beaten and grateful to see the ball rebound off the crossbar to safety but the visitors, with nothing but pride left to play for, gradually gained a foothold on proceedings.

Striker Nicky Maynard had the ball in the net in the 11th minute but an offside flag had already been raised.

Yet Burnley remained largely dominant and led from the spot in the 42nd minute after Jamie McAllister clumsily fouled Elliott.

Alexander produced a perfect penalty as he fired the ball into the top left

corner of Basso's goal.

A second goal arrived two minutes later when City failed to clear their lines and the ball fell to the unmarked Elliott, who rifled home a fine left-foot shot from 20 yards.

Burnley were rarely troubled after the break as City's heart for the fight

gradually evaporated.

The Clarets' enterprise was rewarded with a third goal in the 76th minute when a cross from Eagles was handled by Robins right-back Bradley Orr.

Alexander stepped up again to fire high into the net and Turf Moor erupted once more with four minutes remaining when Eagles' shot was saved by Basso and Gudjonsson tucked away the rebound with a close-range strike.

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Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 46 90
2 Watford 46 89
3 Norwich City 46 86
4 Middlesbrough 46 85
5 Brentford 46 78
6 Ipswich Town 46 78
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 46 78
8 Derby County 46 77
9 Blackburn Rovers 46 67
10 Birmingham City 46 63
11 Cardiff City 46 62
12 Charlton Athletic 46 60
13 Sheffield Wednesday 46 60
14 Nottingham Forest 46 59
15 Leeds United 46 56
16 Huddersfield Town 46 55
17 Fulham 46 52
18 Bolton Wanderers 46 51
19 Reading 46 50
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 46 47
21 Rotherham United 46 46
22 Millwall 46 41
23 Wigan Athletic 46 39
24 Blackpool 46 26