Four points from Defour for De Clarets
When Burnley, with a 1-0 lead, cleared a corner in the last minute of stoppage time it looked as though we’d bagged our second win of the season, but it wasn’t to be as Hull came back to equalise with a free kick in a game that, in the end, was lit up by two outstanding goals.
We’d gone in front with just under twenty minutes of the game remaining; Steven Defour scoring his first Burnley goal in his third appearance for the club. I don’t know how many goals he will go on to score for us but I doubt many of them will be as outstanding as this one.
He was just inside his own half when he received the ball from fellow central midfielder Dean Marney and the way he took the ball as he turned to beat his opponent brought a huge response from the stands. He then moved forward before unleashing a brilliant, curling shot from fully 30-yards which hit the back of the net past the helpless Eldin Jakupovic.
Turf Moor erupted again as it had done three weeks earlier in the Liverpool game and it looked as though it was going to be a winner until Ben Mee, who had been in outstanding form, slipped and conceded a late, late free kick. I don’t think there are too many players better than Robert Snodgrass in that situation and he hit the ball over the wall and in it went for that dramatic equaliser.
There was a lot of discussion on both games as to whether the two goalkeepers could have done more. At the time I wasn’t sure but having seen them again I would have to say that neither Jakupovic nor Tom Heaton had any chance of keeping them out.
I was surprised to learn the game was actually on. That was nothing to do with the weather; in truth it was hot and sunny and very un-Burnley like for a football match, but Sky had been all but suggesting all week that there were only two fixtures over the weekend, one in North West England and the other in Glasgow.
Both were underway by the time I left home and once outside the Turf I learned that we’d made one team change from the side that had lost at Chelsea with Johann Berg Gudmundsson getting his first Premier League start for Scott Arfield who had been on his travels to Honduras and the west of Canada since our last game.
Transfer deadline week signings Jeff Hendrick and Patrick Bamford were both on the bench and when Hull’s team news came through they had done similar, naming an unchanged team but with no fewer than five new recruits among the substitutes.
There was a real buzz about the place; no surprise given that last home performance, but this was not another Liverpool. Whereas then, we got an early lead, here we struggled to get a foothold into the game in the opening exchanges.
Heaton had to make an early save and, but for one scramble in the box when the ball wouldn’t drop for us and we had two shots blocked, Hull certainly had the upper hand.
Overall, however, it was a half with not too much in way of goalscoring opportunities. Stephen Ward fired one just over the bar for us and, right on half time, Hull’s best chance saw David Meyler, from the left of goal, place a shot past Heaton that hit the post after he’d been played in by Snodgrass.
If that was a chance then the one early in the second half was a sitter. When a ball came in from the left, only Adama Diomande himself will know how he managed to fire wide of the post from close range.
That signalled our best spell of the game and, one Snodgrass shot apart, which Heaton tipped over, we always looked the more likely in the second half.
Then came that sensational Defour goal. I’m no expert on European football and I’m not sure what we can expect from him. He looked good on his debut, not so good at Chelsea, but he looked a very good player yesterday and his partnership with Marney, who got the assist, was a feature of our performance.
Bamford, one of our new boys, was on his feet waiting to come on when the goal went in but he was quickly invited to take his seat again and just a couple of minutes later we made a double change. Defour, who is not quite up to full fitness, made way for Hendrick and received a superb ovation from the fans, and Arfield came on for Gudmundsson.
With ten minutes remaining, Bamford did get on for Gray and for much of the rest of the game we looked comfortable although they did hit the bar with a good Curtis Davies header but that came from a corner that was clearly a goal kick. I certainly didn’t expect us to concede, not even when Will Keane came on for Hull or when Michael Oliver held up the board showing four extra minutes.
Hull pushed on, as you would expect, and they did win that corner. The ball was cleared to Tom Huddlestone and Mee slipped as he tried to block and so conceded the free kick. It was so unfortunate but it did give Snodgrass that one last chance which he took. While others will look for some to blame, some woman coming out of the ground was blaming the way while another the goalkeeper and another even the manager, I really do think it was so much more about Snodgrass being an excellent player when it comes to free kicks.
We’d only just about time to kick off again although to be honest I’m not sure why referee Paul Tierney bothered with restarting although given his performance we could have expected just about anything from him.
It was so frustrating. When you concede a goal in stoppage time to lose a one goal lead it really does feel is if you’ve been beaten, just as it feels like a draw grabbed from the jaws of defeat with such a goal makes it feel like a win – just think Brighton or Middlesbrough last season or that last trip to Leicester in 2014/15.
Hull have made a good start to the season; everyone’s been talking about them. Had they not got that goal yesterday we would have been level on points.
Yes, we’ve played three home games and only one away from home, but the away game is Chelsea and we remain the only side to have beaten Liverpool who have now scored four goals against both of last season’s top two.
We might not have got all we wanted in the transfer window but the squad is most definitely looking stronger than it was. And we’ve now got four points, and each point in this league is a point closer to where we want to be by the end of the season.
Some will point to the opposition yesterday and suggest it could be one of our easiest games on paper, but they have, as suggested, made a good start to the season and they do have some very good players.
Now it is to the home of the champions next week. They’ll be smarting from yesterday at Anfield, no doubt about that, but Dyche’s side will be competitive and it would be brilliant if we could come home with something.
And then it is three successive games in front of the television cameras against Watford, Arsenal and Southampton.
There is much to be positive about, I’m sure of that.
The teams were;
Burnley: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, George Boyd, Dean Marney, Steven Defour (Jeff Hendrick 75), Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Scott Arfield 76), Sam Vokes, Andre Gray (Patrick Bamford 80). Subs not used: Paul Robinson, Jon Flanagan, James Tarkowski, Michael Kightly.
Yellow Cards: Ben Mee, Scott Arfield.
Hull: Eldin Jakupovic, Ahmed Elmohamady, Jake Livermore, Curtis Davies, Andrew Robertson, Sam Clucas (Shaun Maloney 83), Tom Huddlestone, David Meyler (Ryan Mason 73), Robert Snodgrass, Abel Hernandez, Adama Diomande (Will Keane 70). Subs not used: David Marshall, Harry Maguire, James Weir, Markus Henriksen.
Referee: Paul Tierney (Wigan).
Attendance: 18,803 (including 1,399 from Hull).
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