West Brom 1 Burnley 2: Barnes, Wood leave Baggies clinging on
West Brom sunk closer to Premier League relegation as Burnley edged to a nervy 2-1 victory at the Hawthorns on Saturday.
Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood - both scorers in the Clarets' win at West Ham last time out - struck either side of half-time to consign the home side to a crippling eighth straight league defeat.
Salomon Rondon did grab a reward for his efforts with a well-taken consolation in the 83rd minute, but the Baggies largely lacked the necessary verve to break down the best defence outside the top six.
Barnes' 22nd-minute strike would have been a worthy winner alone, the bulldozing forward exhibiting his classier side by hooking in Aaron Lennon's cross amid a one-sided first half.
Instead, Sean Dyche's side established a buffer when Wood forced in a second in the 73rd minute and that proved important as Rondon soon halved the deficit.
West Brom forced a late scramble and knocked on the door but the comeback ultimately fell short, leaving Alan Pardew's men 10 points shy of safety and with their dwindling chances of survival seemingly set to evaporate over the remaining six fixtures.
4 - Ashley Barnes is the second Burnley player to score in four consecutive Premier League appearances after Sam Vokes. Vintage.-- OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 31, 2018
Buoyed by his first England call-up, goalkeeper Pope looked assured in snaffling a looping Rondon header inside 10 minutes.
Ben Mee then sliced a hurried effort straight to Ben Foster as the early signs illustrated why these teams had scored 51 goals in a combined 61 league matches this term.
That was, however, until Barnes defied expectation with a stunning finish. Lennon lofted a cross behind the in-form striker, but he readjusted well and volleyed expertly past a helpless Foster.
Chris Wood next nodded wide from a corner as the probing visitors sought to prey on West Brom's mental demons, although it was Pope who came to Burnley's rescue in first-half stoppage time.
The 25-year-old reacted impressively to claw another Rondon header out of the bottom right corner, keeping his side ahead at the interval.
Pardew responded by introducing Matt Phillips in place of Kieran Gibbs for the second half and the attacking intent was noticeable with Chris Brunt and Rondon both whipping dangerous deliveries across the face of goal.
The unlikely figure of Ahmed Hegazi was next to swing in a cross that Pope manfully punched clear, before Ashley Westwood fired wastefully wide at the other end.
But the miss mattered little when Matt Lowton slipped a pass into Wood, the New Zealand international nodding home at the second attempt after his initial effort rebounded kindly off Foster.
Rondon did spark some hope of a Baggies revival by lashing in a hopeful Jonny Evans cross late in proceedings, but a goalmouth scramble in stoppage time was the best they could manage amid a desperate finish.