Clarets Keane on late leveller
There was a surge in the decibel levels at Turf Moor last night when fourth official Darren England held up the board showing we would have six extra minutes to play as we tried to fight back from a goal behind against Middlesbrough.
Just under two minutes later and the whole place erupted as Michael Keane got the final touch following a Matt Taylor corner to turn the ball into the net to win us the point we so richly deserved.
From my vantage point I had absolutely no idea who had scored the goal, but my mate, obviously with much better eyesight, cleared it up for me. “Who scored? ” I asked, “**** knows,” he replied.
It was Keane, it was his fifth of the season and they’ve all been vital. Three have come in draws, two of them in stoppage time at Brighton and again last night, and the other two in one goal wins. I’m not sure it was all worthy of him winning the man of the match award last night, that for me was going only in one direction, to Joey Barton who, when you think he’s played as well as he can, goes and turns in an even better performance.
But, at the end of the day, despite the rantings of Aitor Karanka, who appears to have at least one screw loose, there was no doubting that our performance merited us getting a point. On the way home I heard Kevin Kilbane on the radio and couldn’t have agreed more with him. He reckoned, in a game where the goalkeepers didn’t have too much to do, Middlesbrough had edged it in the first half and we’d been the better side in the second half.
It was always going to be a tough game for us but there was some good news ahead of kick off. Barton, who had been forced off at half time at Birmingham, was fit and so was Sam Vokes who had missed the St. Andrew’s encounter. He came in for Ashley Barnes in what was the only change to the starting eleven.
There was also a return to the bench for Michael Duff. He’s lost his guaranteed place in the match day squad since the inclusion of James Tarkowski but he was there last night for the first time since the Bolton away win with Tarkowski ruled out after taking a knock in that late cameo at Birmingham.
It all got off to a busy start for referee Mike Jones who pulled a yellow card out of his pocket in only the third minute. Grant Leadbitter was the recipient for a foul on Barton with the home crowd demanding a red.
Middlesbrough had started the better and we were thankful that an Albert Adomah shot hit the bar after the ball had dropped to him outside the box. Adomah has a habit of scoring against us as does Jordan Rhodes who made a hash of a potential chance soon after.
We were giving the ball away too cheaply at times and you sensed the frustration again in the crowd, but we had the best chance of the half midway through. Vokes played the ball to Andre Gray who set up Scott Arfield nicely. It looked almost a replica of the Leeds goal as we waited for Arfield to score but he missed the target and the chance was gone.
There wasn’t much between the two sides in the first half but Middlesbrough, I felt, had the edge over us. Even so, it was 0-0 and stlll so much to play for.
It was still very tight in the second half but it was Burnley, I felt, who now looked the stronger, but I’d begun to think it was all going to end at 0-0 before disaster struck twenty minutes from time. Ben Mee gave away a free kick. It looks a soft one to me but when it came into the box it was Rhodes who was there to convert.
The whole place went flat, but not for long. Sean Dyche made changes and Burnley started to put real pressure on the visitors who just dropped deeper and deeper and deeper. There were very few occasions when they didn’t pull ever man behind the ball as we really started to pressure them.
All of Lloyd Dyer, Ashley Barnes and Matt Taylor came on. Taylor saw the first of two free kicks deflected wide and Barnes had an effort blocked that looked to be heading for goal. That was after both Barton and Boyd had come close.
Boro were doing no more than hanging on but hang on they did until the ninety minutes when up went that board. Given the amount of time wasting from them in the second half, they were perhaps fortunate it was only six.
Another ball came in from the right, again Barnes got in a shot that was blocked for a corner on the left. That came over from Taylor and Stephen Ward was able to knock it back for Keane.
“I got myself in a position and it’s hit me, fell off Wardy and then I don’t know whether I’ve shinned it or kicked it in but they all count.”
I’ve seen it since and he has shinned it. I don’t care how he’s got it into the net, all I do know is he did before he and all his team mates celebrated in the corner. All the unused subs joined them as did the substituted. Matt Lowton ended up holding two kids.
It’s another key goal for Keane, a young player who has just got better and better as his first full season in league football has progressed.
As for that noise. I was discussing it this morning and we could only compare it to the moment when Robbie Blake scored against Manchester United in 2009. I think this was even louder.
How vital will that point be? What we do know with some certainty is that we’d now be third without it, but it really is so tight there right now. The manager and his players have said so often how important we are, how we are a vital part of this one club mentality.
Keane said: “It was the best atmosphere I’ve played in here. It was bouncing all game, especially in the second half when we were on top.”
Over 5,000 will be making our way to Deepdale on Friday night. We’ve got to give it all that again, as we did at Birmingham and as we did last night. We have to give our players as much support as we can. They are doing us proud right now, really, really proud.
And once again,
COME ON YOU CLARETS
The teams were;
Burnley: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, George Boyd (Matt Taylor 84), Dean Marney, Joey Barton, Scott Arfield (Lloyd Dyer 75), Sam Vokes, Andre Gray (Ashley Barnes 81). Subs not used: Paul Robinson, Tendayi Darikwa, Michael Duff, David Jones.
Yellow Card: Dean Marney.
Middlesbrough: Dimitrios Konstantopoulos, Emilio Nsue, Daniel Ayala, Ben Gibson, George Friend (Ritchie De Laet 54), Adam Clayton, Grant Leadbitter, Albert Adomah, Gaston Ramirez (Adam Forshaw 75), Stewart Downing (Tomas Kalas 90+3), Jordan Rhodes. Subs not used: Michael Agazzi, Carlos De Pena, Julien De Sart, David Nugent.
Yellow Card: Grant Leadbitter, Adam Clayton.
Referee: Mike Jones (Chester).
Attendance: 20,197 (including 2,401 from Middlesbrough).
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