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Finally, after ten games without a win, Burnley secured a first victory since Christmas, and only a second at home all season, with yesterday’s 2-1 win against Brentford.

It was a game that saw Burnley win a rare penalty, from which Jacob Bruun Larsen scored our first goal, a red card, another goal from David Datro Fofana, a late battle to ensure we kept our lead and a team change that I think surprised everyone and certainly pleased most who were inside Turf Moor yesterday.

After two early Sunday games, it was back to Saturday at 3 p.m. for Brentford’s second Premier League visit to the Turf. They don’t have the best of records at Burnley in terms of beating us at Burnley. They did the double over us back in the 1934/35 season but have only once since won on the Turf and that was in the 1996/97 season when they won 2-1 with Peter Swan scoring our goal.

Jamie Hoyland was in the match day squad that day as a substitute alongside Damian Matthew and Paul Barnes and he was at Burnley yesterday, chatting with us outside before the game. We were also approached by a camera man from Ad Hoc who was filming for the next ‘Mission to Burnley’. We declined his kind offer, having been filmed earlier in the season. That was ahead of the Sheffield United game, our only home win of the season. Could that be an omen?

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“There’s one change from West Ham,” one of our group said. I was quickly trying to think where the change might be. Not for one second did I think that Arijanet Muric was back with James Trafford on the bench but finally, common sense had prevailed.

When he made the big mistake at Crystal Palace that led to Josh Brownhill’s red card,. I wrote about Trafford remaining in the team: “For the life of me I can’t understand how this has been allowed to continue. At some point you would have thought that common sense and good man management would have taken him out of the firing line.”

He wouldn’t have been in the team at the start of the season had I been picking the team but I was expecting him to be there when the team was announced for the Manchester City game back in August. I remain bemused that the lad’s been left there since. I don’t care what reasoning Vincent Kompany has given, he’s hung Trafford out to dry for weeks now and given the reception Muric received, I don’t think I’m the only one carrying those thoughts.

So, Muric in and the only other changes came on the bench with both Hjalmar Ekdal and Lyle Foster returning at the expense of Hannes Delcroix and Mike Trésor who hasn’t featured in a game for almost nine weeks since coming on as a late substitute for Zeki Amdouni in the home draw against Luton.

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Just to show how different things are with a change of goalkeeper, Muric’s first touch came very early in the game when he received a pass from Maxime Estève when he must have been some forty yards from his goal line.

But the game was to have a dramatic start. In just the fourth minute, a link up down the left saw Sander Berge play the ball inside for Josh Cullen who in turn played the ball into the box for the advancing Vitinho. He got clear of the defenders, shaped to shoot but went down under a challenge from Sergio Reguilón. There was no reaction from referee Darren Bond as home players and fans appealed for a penalty and Bond certainly received no encouragement from the well positioned assistant Sian Massey-Ellis.

We played on for over forty seconds before Bond stopped the game to signal that he was going to take a look at the monitor. We waited and we waited and we waited. Those of us on the Longside could see that there were no pictures showing on the monitor. PGMOL have apparently explained that everything was working but they were checking a potential offside. That shouldn’t have taken more than a few seconds given there were three outfield defenders to add to the goalkeeper playing Vitinho onside.

Eventually, Bond got the pictures and not much short of four minutes after the offence had taken place, he pointed to the penalty spot and then went to Reguilón and showed him the obligatory red card. It was a decision Brentford manager Thomas Frank fully agreed with although he did think that his own team should have had their own penalty early in the second half. It’s refreshing to see a manager being so honest when a decision goes against his team. Many could learn from Frank.

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We immediately questioned who might take the penalty. The only player on the pitch who’d ever taken one for us was Charlie Taylor and that was in a shoot-out at Newcastle in August 2021. Captain Cullen took hold of the ball but it eventually passed to Bruun Larsen who fired it into the left-hand corner leaving Mark Flekken with no chance of keeping it out despite going the right way.

What a start for us but we didn’t really threaten to add to our lead in the next twenty minutes or so and then came so close to conceding. Dara O’Shea had another good game but it was a back pass from him that left Muric chasing across his goal. He just, and only just, got there to clear it off the line before fumbling a return shot from Ivan Toney wide of goal.

Bruun Larsen saw a shot blocked by former Claret Nathan Collins in a relatively quiet first half that then exploded in the final few minutes. With two minutes to go, great work from Lorenz Assignon set up a sitter for Fofana but the striker couldn’t convert into an empty net from just a couple of yards out.

We nearly paid for that two minutes into stoppage time at the end of the first half. There were five minutes added which didn’t even cover the VAR wait. Brentford won a free kick on the half way line. They caught us out by taking it quickly. Yoane Wissa went clear but Muric was off his line and made an outstanding save.

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Collins then got another good block in, this time to deny Wilson Odobert, Bruun Larsen saw Flekken save his shot and then in time added to the time added, we should have got another. Fofana was stood behind Flekken who dropped the ball to clear. Fofana nipped in but slipped when a goal looked certain.

We came out for the second half with the one goal lead and for the first quarter of an hour or so we totally dominated and I kept thinking that a second goal might just ensure the win. Then, just past the hour, a bad touch from Vitinho cost us possession and saw Brentford break at pace. Mathias Jensen fed Keane Lewis-Potter but all credit to Vitinho who burst a gut to get back and recover the situation, winning the ball back in his own box.

From there, he found Assignon who moved it on to Cullen on the left touchline. Cullen played it inside to Berge who swept the ball out wide to Odobert. His ball into the box for Fofana was perfect and Fofana rolled the ball into the far corner. We’d got that second goal but if I thought that was victory secured, I was very much wrong.

As the game moved towards its end, Brentford, still 2-0 down, give it a go. One shot deflected out for a corner which eventually led to Muric again making a big save to deny Toney. As they then challenged for the ball, Toney thought he should have had a penalty, but before anyone could do much about it, a return ball in from the right was headed home by the unmarked Kristoffer Ajer. There were still eight minutes to go plus stoppage time. We got to the ninety with the lead intact although Muric was needed to make one more change.

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Then came the bombshell; nine more minutes. Six minutes in and Brentford got the ball in the net again. I know the two goals weren’t exactly identical, but when Luton scored at the end against us, a foul on Trafford was ignored. This time, and in fairness it was an arm across by Toney on Muric, the goal was instantly ruled out with VAR confirming the decision.

That was the last moment of concern and after just short of thirteen minutes stoppage time, the final whistle signalled the win.

Without trying to put a dampener on things, it’s a win, it’s three points but it’s no more. It’s not keeping us in the Premier League and we will need to repeat this a good few times in the remaining games if we are to have a chance.

I didn’t think when the season started that we would have to wait until mid-March for our second home win of the season, but at least we’ve got it.

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It was Burnley’s day; it was Muric’s day on what was his Premier League debut. It felt almost like the Tom Heaton moment when we beat West Ham back at the end of 2018. Then, it was done at the half way stage of the season and Tom’s return made a difference.

A win to follow a draw at West Ham and that’s the first time all season we’ve gone two league games without defeat. That’s a damning statistic. If we could make that three, four, five, maybe more games then who knows?

The teams were;

Burnley: Arijanet Muric, Lorenz Assignon, Dara O’Shea, Maxime Estève, Charlie Taylor, Vitinho, Sander Berge, Josh Cullen, Jacob Bruun Larsen (Zeki Amdouni 69, Josh Brownhill 90+5), Wilson Odobert, David Datro Fofana (Lyle Foster 88). Subs not used: James Trafford, Hjalmar Ekdal, Jack Cork, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Manuel Benson, Jay Rodriguez.
Yellow Cards: Zeki Amdouni, Charlie Taylor.

Brentford: Mark Flekken, Mathias Jorgensen, Kristoffer Ajer, Nathan Collins, Mads Roerslev (Keane Lewis-Potter 59), Frank Onyeka (Yehor Yarmoliuk 59), Mathias Jensen (Neal Maupay 79), Vitaly Janelt (Shandon Baptiste 80), Sergio Reguilón, Ivan Toney, Yoane Wissa (Bryan Mbeumo 80). Subs not used: Thomas Strakosha, Samman Ghoddos, Mikkel Damsgaard, Ji-Soo Kim.
Yellow Cards: Vitaly Janelt, Kristoffer Ajer, Ivan Toney, Shandon Baptiste.
Red Card: Sergio Reguilón.

Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire).

Attendance: 20,431.

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