Frustrating night as we get a third successive draw
Burnley were held to a 0-0 draw last night in a largely uninspiring game against Cardiff City last night. It was a third successive draw and that has now allowed Middlesbrough and Brighton, both of whom won, to move ever closer to us.
The previous two games had both had stoppage time goals; Wolves equalising at the Turf in the previous home game and Michael Keane heading home that crucial goal at Brighton last Saturday. There was to be no such goal last night and the run without a win against Cardiff, home or away, will now move on beyond a ninth year later this week.
Cardiff did have two late scares with goalkeeper David Marshall making two outstanding saves, but it was not a ninety minutes of clear cut chances with George Boyd probably having the best two opportunities prior to that, both of them in the first half.
Sean Dyche opted for an unchanged team, the same eleven players who have been on duty since David Jones returned from injury having missed the win at Fulham. It was also the same bench meaning a potential first Turf Moor appearance for Ashley Barnes since last season. There was one change to the advertised programme; Geoff Eltringham replacing Keith Stroud as referee.
A minute’s applause for Ian Britton, who so sadly passed away last week, preceded the game with the Clarets attacking the cricket field stand in the first half.
Cardiff were looking to close the gap on Derby and Sheffield Wednesday to earn a place in the top six and they will be disappointed they didn’t get a goal in the first half. Too often their final ball let them down when in good positions and that meant Tom Heaton, a former Cardiff goalkeeper, had a lot less to do than he might have had.
They also found us tough opponents defensively with the central pairing of Michael Keane and Ben Mee in good form. Mee was yet again outstanding and fully deserving of his man of the match award.
Our first half saw us have three good opportunities. Andre Gray had the first one, latching on to a header from Sam Vokes following a throw. He did well but Marshall did even better although he would have been expected to make that save.
Boyd had the best two opportunities. Vokes played him in. A confident Boyd would have got his shot in but he wanted an extra touch and that allowed Sean Morrison to get across and get in a great block. Boyd’s second chance came via a cross from Stephen Ward. It forced Marshall into another save but this time Boyd should probably have taken it on his right foot rather than his left.
No score at half time, with news coming in that Middlesbrough were winning and Brighton drawing. Could we get a goal and a win in the second half?
The answer, unfortunately, was no, and it could have been worse with Cardiff again fluffing their lines in good positions and once hitting the bar when they looked a shot over Heaton.
For much of the half we struggled to create much although there was one fantastic opportunity when we got the ball out wide to Matt Lowton. He got in a superb low cross which Vokes was just unable to reach and that allowed Marshall to block the ball before it was cleared.
Matt Taylor again came on for the out of touch Scott Arfield and again we did pick up, but as time went on it became more and more frantic, thus forcing us to go longer with a series of balls knocked into the Cardiff box.
Taylor had twice produced great deliveries from corners at Brighton, both leading to Keane heading home, albeit with only one given. He repeated the dose here which led to Marshall making two outstanding saves to deny Vokes and then Barnes who had replaced Andre Gray.
Taylor played a superb free kick into the box, very similar to the one from which we won the corner to equalise at Brighton. Vokes got to it and his downward header towards the bottom corner looked like the winner. Marshall somehow got down to it and got the ball away for a corner.
Taylor played the corner to the near post but Marshall again did superbly to deny Barnes what would have been his first goal since February of last year.
That was it. This time five minutes of stoppage time brought nothing and we trooped home from a third successive draw.
Leeds next and we do need to start winning again.
Burnley: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, George Boyd, Joey Barton, David Jones, Scott Arfield (Matt Taylor 67), Sam Vokes, Andre Gray (Ashley Barnes 75). Subs not used: Paul Robinson, Tendayi Darikwa, James Tarkowski, Dean Marney, Michael Kightly.
Cardiff: David Marshall, Lee Peltier, Sean Morrison, Bruno Ecuele Manga, Scott Malone, Tom Lawrence (Craig Noone 83), Stuart O’Keefe (Kenneth Zohore 83), Kagisho Dikgacoi, Joe Ralls, Anthony Pilkington (Aron Gunnarsson 67), Lex Immers. Subs not used: Simon Moore, Fabio Da Silva, Pete Whittingham, Sammy Ameobi.
Referee: Geoff Eltringham (Sunderland).
Attendance: 15,740 (including 277 from Cardiff).
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