Stalemate in first home friendly
Burnley and Montpellier couldn’t muster a goal between them in what proved to be a low key game as Burnley played at Turf Moor for the first time since the end of last season.
It’s always good to be back at the Turf, maybe see what changes have been made during the close season. There was nothing to see. The holes in the corners either side of the Jimmy Mac are still holes with no sign of any new disabled facilities as yet. The frontage of the Bob Lord looks like a building site which meant the only change really was the weather as the more traditional Lancashire rain came in to replace the hot and sunny conditions we’ve had for weeks that might just have suited Montpellier.
I once visited Montpellier for a week on business. That was back in May 2000 and I was promised a week of hot, balmy weather. In truth, it rained most of the time, wasn’t very warm and the weather back in Burnley was actually a lot better. It was good to get them back today.
There were some who questioned this game given that it was placed between the two Europa League games against Aberdeen, but the answer was there for all to see when the team news was released. With only Jeff Hendrick starting from Thursday’s team, this was an opportunity for Sean Dyche to give other players some game time and that included the trio of Ashley Barnes, Robbie Brady and Aiden O’Neill who were all returning from injury.
If anyone came close to helping break the deadlock in the first half it was Brady. He helped set up a chance for Sam Vokes and came closest to scoring himself with a free kick. He played it into the box and, without getting a touch from anyone else, it forced goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte into a last ditch save.
I suspect Brady’s afternoon was scheduled to last no more than 45 minutes but he didn’t quite make it to half time. With around three minutes remaining, he was withdrawn with a hamstring problem and replaced by Dwight McNeil.
At the other end there was very little action with Legzdins forced into a couple of routine saves. In truth, neither side really looked likely to score and I don’t think anyone was surprised with the 0-0 half time scoreline.
Long before the end, by which time at least it was dry, sunny and a bit warmer, it was clear there weren’t going to be any goals. It hadn’t been the best of games to be honest but what was good was seeing young players such as Dunne and O’Neill playing so well along with McNeil who had some good moments in the second half which included a shot that fired just wide.
We’ve one more friendly to go, against Espanyol, before we get our Premier League season underway but before that we’ve the second game against Aberdeen and then, hopefully, a trip to Istanbul.
The teams were;
Burnley: Adam Legzdins, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Jimmy Dunne, Charlie Taylor, Jon Walters, Aiden O’Neill, Jeff Hendrick (Mace Goodridge 60), Robbie Brady (Dwight McNeil 42), Sam Vokes (Dan Agyei 73), Ashley Barnes (Nahki Wells 60). Subs not used: George McMahon, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Stephen Ward, Aaron Lennon, Ashley Westwood, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, Jack Cork, Ali Koiki, Chris Wood.
Montpellier: Benjamin Lecomte, Ruben Aguilar (Jérémie Porsan-Clemente 82), Pedro Mendes, Vitorino Hilton, Daniel Congré, Ellyes Skhiri (Damien Le Tallec ht), Paul Lasne (Facundo Piriz 82), Isaac Mbenza (Junior Sambia 82), Florent Mollet (Petar Škuletić 73), Ambroise Oyongo (Morgan Poaty 73), Andy Delort (Giovanni Sio 65).
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Wythenshawe).
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