Burnley 6 Nice 1

Chris Wood leads goal romp with a hat-trick as Clarets warm up in style

Chris Wood continued his pre-season scoring spree with a hat-trick as it rained goals amidst a mid-summer soaking at Turf Moor.

The unseasonal weather made it a far cry from Nice’s home on the French Rivieria.

And ‘Le Gym’ – who finished seventh in Ligue 1 last season – were washed away on a tide of optimism arising from a top-class Clarets display.

The heat of battle of the Premier League will provide an entirely different test when it starts on Saturday week.

But Sean Dyche’s squad couldn’t have done any more to look ready for the task as they romped to a victory spearheaded by Wood, who made it nine goals during the summer schedule, and with further strikes from Jeff Hendrick, Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Jay Rodriguez’s first back in a Burnley shirt.

The game was over as a contest inside the opening 20 minutes as the Clarets – still missing the injured trio of Nick Pope, Ben Gibson and Robbie Brady – roared into a 3-0 lead.

Right from the start Burnley were all over their French opposition as they played with a real intensity and discipline that left the visitors with no answer.

And it took less than five minutes for the gulf between the sides to be illustrated as the Clarets went ahead.

An excellent cross from Phil Bardsley picked out Ashley Barnes for a volley that was blocked.

But Barnes and Wood hunt as a pair and when Wood latched onto the loose ball, he turned sharply to fire home on the volley from eight yards.

The newly crowned New Zealand player of the year has enjoyed an electric pre-season and he quickly doubled his tally on the night with a typical poacher’s finish, side-footing in from close-range after Gudmundsson had retrieved the ball and crossed low after a Hendrick shot had been parried.

Hendrick wouldn’t be denied for long, though, as the midfielder made it 3-0 after 18 minutes from a wonderfully worked set-piece.

The Clarets made three changes at the break, but they did little to stem the flow as Dyche’s men quickly went for a fifth goal.

Wood again went close to grabbing his third before Barnes was just denied by a last-gasp intervention as he looked to convert a peach of a low cross from substitute Dwight McNeil.

But even though the heavy rain had relented – a stark contrast to the bright sunshine and sky-high temperatures the Clarets had experienced a week earlier at Fleetwood – the floodgates remained open.

And with just over an hour gone Wood did complete his treble.

Nice had been unable to cope with the Clarets’ high-tempo approach and after being pressed back again, Khephren Thuram gifted the ball to Wood, who took a touch before thumping the ball past back-pedalling substitute goalkeeper Yannis Clementia.

The visitors did pull a goal back with 20 minutes to go when Saint-Maximin managed to force the ball over the line just as the Clarets were about to bring on three further substitutes – including Rodriguez for his Turf Moor return as Dyche re-shuffled his attacking formation.

And the summer signing wasted no time in making himself back at home as he ran onto Matt Lowton’s pull-back to clinically slot home the Clarets’ sixth goal 12 minutes from the end of a soggy night that whet the appetite for things to come.

Burnley: Heaton (Hart HT); Bardsley (Lowton 75), Long (Tarkowski HT), Mee (Dunne 69), Pieters (Taylor 75); Lennon (Rodriguez 69), Westwood (Cork 69), Hendrick, Gudmundsson (McNeil HT); Wood (Wells 83), Barnes. Substitutes: Legzdins, Vydra.

Nice: Cardinale (Clementia HT), Dante, Herelle, Pelmard, Danilo, Walter, Lees-Melou, Saint-Maxim (Wade 83), Thuram (Guessand 63), Gameiro, Maolida (Cyprien 75). 

Referee: Michael Oliver

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