SAINTS suffered a fourth defeat in six games in horrendous conditions, conceding a bizarre early goal before a stunning second-half winner from substitute Matej Vydra.

Burnley took a second-minute lead direct from a corner after Danny Ings left the ball at the near post for Alex McCarthy, who was stood behind his goalline as he collected the wind-assisted inswinger. 

Ings levelled in the 18th minute with his 18th goal of the season, another clinical finish from the edge of the box.

But sub Vydra scored a sensational winner on the hour as Burnley extended their unbeaten run against Saints to seven matches.

Saints thought they had won a late penalty when a Jack Stephens cross struck the arm of Burnley captain Ben Mee.

But after being checked by VAR it was not given.

Ralph Hasenhuttl made four changes to the team that lost their last Premier League match at Liverpool four weeks ago.

Jannik Vestergaard, Stuart Armstrong, Sofiane Boufal all returned while Tottenham loanee Kyle Walker-Peters was handed his debut at right-back.

Jan Bednarek, Moussa Djenepo and Oriol Romeu all dropped to the bench, while Nathan Redmond was unavailable after he was injured in Friday’s training session.

This was the first time Bednarek was dropped for a Premier League match by Hasenhuttl, with Vestergaard preferred, perhaps due to the need for a more physical presence against a Burnley side known for their direct approach and in a match played with Storm Dennis at its peak.

Ex-Saints Jack Cork and Jay Rodriguez were included in a Burnley team missing the injured Ashley Barnes, who has scored six goals against Saints before, including four in his last three starts.

But the visitors were still ahead inside the first 90 seconds as Ashley Westwood scored a bizarre goal direct from a corner.

His right-footed, wind-assisted inswinger was left by Ings at the near post for Alex McCarthy who, inexplicably, was stood behind his goal-line as he collected the ball.

Torrential rain and high winds did not make it an easy afternoon, but McCarthy had little else to do in the first half other than make two comfortable saves.

Saints did their best to play the ball to feet and were level in the 18th minute as Ings curled a delightful 20-yarder into the bottom corner.

After trying to provide an assist with a deft flick, the ball rebounded favourably and he unleashed a wonderful finish against his former club – as Cork tried in vain to block the shot.

Already without Barnes, Burnley were dealt a further blow when Chris Wood had to be replaced in the 21st minute after pulling up with a hamstring injury.

Stephens headed against the crossbar when Boufal delivered an inviting cross, an inswinger from the left flank.

But Saints were forced into a change in the 38th minute, when Boufal had to be helped by two backroom staff as he limped off with a foot injury.

Despite the conditions, Saints tried to play attractive football.

Burnley captain Ben Mee was booked for a foul on Ings when his former teammate’s feet proved too quick.

Bertrand lashed a shot into the side-netting from Djenepo’s pass and Ings just failed to latch on to another high-class long ball from Stephens at the beginning of the second half.

Then, out of nowhere, Vydra scored an outstanding second goal for Burnley.

After receiving Hendrick’s cross with his chest and with his back to goal, he spun past Vestergaard. With Stephens and Walker-Peters also in close attendance, he took the ball across the edge of the box before striking a ferocious left-footer into the top-left corner.

Burnley delivered some dangerous corners in the high winds and Saints switched to 3-4-3 with the 73rd-minute introduction of Michael Obafemi for Walker-Peters.

Burnley threatened to capitalise on the lack of a right-back through Dwight McNeil and Charlie Taylor down the left flank. With a little more composure, Taylor could easily have set up a third for the visitors.

But when Stephens’ cross hit Mee’s arm in the 82nd minute, after a brilliant run took him past several Burnley players, Saints looked to have won a penalty. The decision was not given after being checked by VAR, who presumably decided the Burnley captain could not move his arm in time.

Vydra had the chance to score another but could not get enough pace on the shot, which was straight at McCarthy.

A powerful Rodriguez strike was tipped over before Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was denied by Nick Pope in the last minute of normal time.

SAINTS: McCarthy, Walker-Peters (Obafemi 73), Vestergaard, Stephens, Bertrand, Ward-Prowse, Hojbjerg, Boufal (Djenepo 40), Armstrong, Long (Adams 86), Ings.
Subs not used: Gunn, Romeu, Smallbone, Bednarek.
Booked: Vestergaard.

BURNLEY: Pope, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Hendrick, Westwood, Cork, McNeil, Wood (Vydra 21), Rodriguez.
Subs not used: Hart, Brown, Brady, Pieters, Lennon, K Long.
Booked: Hendrick, Mee.