It’s been a long wait, too long a wait to be honest, but we’ve finally got our first Premier League win of the season with a 4-0 home win against Bournemouth and a result that has lifted us out of the bottom three.
I always thought it might be a scrappy 1-0 with a dodgy looking goal when it finally came but instead when the win did come it was our biggest ever Premier League win, beating the 4-1 at Hull in 2010 and the same score against Sunderland on New Year’s Eve 2016. Indeed, this was our biggest top flight victory since we beat Nottingham Forest 5-0 in February 1970.
My trip to the Turf yesterday started around 10 a.m. when I left home to go to Gawthorpe for the youth team game. Thankfully there was no downpour this time so at least I was dry but the temperatures are certainly dropping now as we move into the autumn.
The day got off to a good start with the young Clarets winning 3-2 against Barnsley and then it was off to the Turf for the visit of Bournemouth who were the last team we’d actually held a lead against in the league, that on the final day of last season when they came back to beat us 2-1.
Team news is eagerly awaited these days. Once it was virtually always a case of same again, but not just now and there were three more changes from the team beaten at Wolves. Matt Lowton returned for Phil Bardsley, Ashley Westwood was preferred to Jeff Hendrick in midfield while up front there was a first start for new signing for Matěj Vydra.
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe made one change to his team with Andrew Surman coming in for Dan Gosling and he also had the opportunity to recall ex-Claret Junior Stanislas who was named on the bench on his return from injury.
Within the first couple of minutes it looked a different performance from Burnley. Right from the start we were on the front foot and Aaron Lennon got in an early shot that was blocked. It was a sign of things to come from Lennon and his wing partner Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson. Neither have set the world alight this season, that was until yesterday.
Who knows what might have happened had we added a goal to that good start, but when it didn’t come there was certainly a threat at the other end to deal with. They even hit the bar but had it dropped in they could have considered themselves very fortunate as the ball looped up after a great block from Ben Mee.
We needed a goal, we needed to know what it would be like to go in front, and we finally got it six minutes before the break and it was no surprise to see the two wide men involved. Guðmundsson’s cross from the right was headed out to Lennon on the left. He played the ball to Cork who got it into the box for Vokes. He headed down for Westwood who twice saw his shots blocked by Nathan Aké. The second of them fell kindly for Vydra who made no mistake from close range.
In front at last. How would we cope with it? By scoring a second within two minutes was the answer. Great credit to Matt Lowton who made a great run to allow Guðmundsson the opportunity to cross. Vokes took the defenders out of the way and Lennon came in at the far post to place a shot back across Asmir Begovic and into the bottom corner.
First Burnley Premier League goals for both players and what an ovation the players received as they went off at half time with a 2-0 lead.
Bournemouth hooked the left back for the start of the second half. I’m not surprised to be honest, Guðmundsson had given him a roasting. They went three at the back and had no option but to commit players forward and try to get back into the game.
Joe Hart made one very good save to deny the impressive David Brooks. I first came across him watching the Sheffield derby last season. He does look a good prospect and was probably their best player.
We always looked a threat on the counter and we wrapped things up in the last ten minutes with a brace for Ashley Barnes who had come on as a substitute. It was brilliant from Lennon on the left. Guðmundsson met his pull back and shot across the post but Barnes was Johnny on the spot to turn in the rebound.
It was over, we were 3-0 up, we could relax, the points were ours. Bournemouth did force a save from Hart following a free kick. They thought they might have had a penalty but the only offence was the foul on Brooks outside the box. That was one referee Anthony Taylor got right, there weren’t many instances in the game when he did.
They gave it one last attempt to score with a cross into the box but James Tarkowski headed out to Westwood who was well in his own half but clear. “He hasn’t the pace to go through,” I said, but then I noticed Lennon making a superb run. “But he has,” I added. Westwood found Lennon who burst down the right, pulled the ball back for Barnes who planted his shot into the bottom corner for 4-0.
What a fantastic way to end the game. Finally there was a real buzz about the place as we made our way out at the end. Wolves six days earlier is not forgotten, but it was sure as anything kicked out of the mind after this terrific performance.
There were good performances all over but I have to go with those two wide players. That’s the best I’ve seen Guðmundsson this season and as for Lennon, it was a performance that reminded you of the days when he was in the England squad. They were both outstanding, and Lennon was my choice as man of the match, but right across the midfield we again looked a very good side.
“One swallow doesn’t make a summer,” is what Stan used to tell us. No it doesn’t, but one swallow is better than no swallows at all and it has made it a very good weekend and 16th in the Premier League looks brilliant after staring at the table with us bottom since last Sunday.
The only disappointment was the attendance. Just 18,636 there, our second lowest attendance since winning our last promotion, beating only the 18,519 who turned up for a televised Monday night game against Watford in September 2016.
As for the last time we won by this margin in the top flight, that 5-0 win against Forest in 1970. We sacked the manager two or three days later, replacing Harry Potts with Jimmy Adamson, a decision far from popular at the time with the Burnley fans. I can’t see that being repeated.
It’s been a much better weekend.
The teams were;
Burnley: Joe Hart, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, Ashley Westwood, Aaron Lennon, Matěj Vydra (Chris Wood 60), Sam Vokes (Ashley Barnes 69). Subs not used: Tom Heaton, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Jeff Hendrick, Dwight McNeil.
Yellow Cards: Matt Lowton, Ashley Westwood.
Bournemouth: Asmir Begovic, Adam Smith (Jermain Defoe 78), Steve Cook, Nathan Aké, Diego Rico (Simon Francis ht), David Brooks, Andrew Surman, Jefferson Lerma, Ryan Fraser, Josh King, Callum Wilson (Junior Stanislas 68). Subs not used: Artur Boruc, Tyrone Mings, Lewis Cook, Jordon Ibe.
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Wythenshawe).
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