CHERRIES found the net twice at Burnley – but still lost 3-0 after two controversial VAR decisions.

Joshua King saw a goal chalked off in the first half after Philip Billing was deemed to have handled in the build-up, but the drama ramped up in the second period.

With Burnley a goal ahead thanks to Matej Vydra, Harry Wilson looked to have levelled the contest. But instead the hosts doubled their tally after play was pulled back for a penalty with Adam Smith judged to have controlled the ball with his arm in the box, before Cherries launched their attack.

And there was time for further salt in the wounds with Dwight McNeil curling a fine effort in from outside the box.

Eddie Howe made three changes to the team which lost at Sheffield United before the winter break. Jack Stacey and Joshua King recovered from hamstring injuries to start, while Steve Cook was also recalled. Diego Rico and Ryan Fraser dropped to the bench, while Nathan Ake missed out due to concussion suffered in training earlier this week.

Jefferson Lerma, available again after suspension, was absent due to a back injury suffered against Aston Villa earlier this month.

Cherries, without an away win since December, made a strong start with Phil Bardsley called into a vital block to deny Joshua King, before Callum Wilson’s effort was well saved by the foot of Nick Pope.

Vydra looked like Burnley’s liveliest threat with his pace causing problems for Simon Francis and after shaking off the Cherries skipper, goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale was called to make a smart low stop.

The biggest talking point of the half arrived just after the 20-minute mark. After Philip Billing’s shot had been deflected behind, the resulting corner from Andrew Surman was met by the Dane. His knock-on fell kindly at the feet of King, who nipped ahead of strike partner Callum Wilson to turn in and seemingly give Cherries the lead.

However, after consultation with VAR, it was deemed Billing had used an arm to turn the ball towards goal and the effort was disallowed for handball.

Not deterred, Cherries again flew forwards and tested England stopper Pope as Harry Wilson met King’s cross, but his header was swatted away.

Burnley were struggling to create much of their own and had a penalty shout waved away when Steve Cook handled in the box.

King was again causing problems from his spot on the left wing, delivering for marauding full-back Stacey, whose volley lacked the power to beat Pope.

Burnley quickly broke through Vydra again, but Cherries had Ramsdale to thank for denying the Czech again one-on-one as the half ended goalless.

But the deadlock was broken eight minutes after the restart. After being played in down the left by Dwight McNeil, Vydra scampered clear before skipping inside a sliding Francis and lifting the ball over Ramsdale for his second goal in as many matches.

Cherries again thought they had netted just past the hour mark. After Adam Smith controlled a deep Burnley cross inside his own box, the visitors launched a swift counter-attack. Callum Wilson bursts forwards before picking out Harry Wilson deep in the box and the Welshman duly converted.

However, Cherries were to be denied in incredible fashion. Not only was their goal chalked off, but Burnley were awarded a penalty down the other end with Smith deemed to have handled in the box. Jay Rodriguez stepped up and slammed into the top-right corner to double the advantage.

Cherries goalkeeper coach Neil Moss was also dismissed from the sidelines in the aftermath by referee Mike Dean.

Clearly deflated, Cherries were fortunate in the end not to be leaving on the back of a heavier loss as Burnley turned the screw in the final 20 minutes.

But the Clarets found Ramsdale in the way with the young stopper denying Rodriguez while McNeil’s effort also came back off the inside of the post.

However, the winger was not to be denied from long, cutting in from the right in the dying minutes before lashing beyond Ramsdale to complete the victory.

Cherries had one late chance to pull a goal back when Stacey crossed for Callum Wilson, but he turned wide.

Cherries remain two points outside the relegation zone.

Cherries: Ramsdale; Stacey, Francis, S Cook, Smith; Billing, Surman, Gosling (Fraser, 70); H Wilson (Solanke, 74), King (Stanislas, 70), C Wilson.

Unused subs: Simpson, Rico, L Cook, Boruc (g/k).

Booked: Francis, Smith.

Burnley: Pope; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Hendrick, Westwood, Cork (Brownhill, 90+1), McNeil (Brady, 90+1); Rodriguez, Vydra (Lennon, 82).

Unused subs: Long, Pieters, Gudmundsson, Hart (g/k).

Booked: Bardsley, Lennon, Hendrick, Mee.

Referee: Mike Dean.

VAR: Chris Kavanagh.