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Burnley won a point yesterday against Blackpool in a 3-3 draw giving us a third successive home draw at the start of this Championship season.

Sometimes it can be difficult to write a match report, those games where very little seems to happen. Not so with this one; six goals, two red cards, a game we looked as though we were going to win more than comfortably and then one we were probably relieved to get a point from.

The day started for me travelling to the game with a Blackpool fan. I do know a number of Blackpool fans from my days working in the Preston area but this just happened to be a bloke sat next to me as I got the bus into town.

After some lunch in town with friends, we made our way up to the Turf via the ‘Clarets for Foodbanks’ bins to make a donation, having a brief chat with the members of North Manchester Clarets who had volunteered. It will be my turn for the next Saturday home game next month so please have your tins ready.

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New signing Darko Churlinov was the name on everyone’s lips as we chatted before the game and he was duly on the bench along with Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson who we haven’t seen in action on the Turf since the home draw against West Ham in December last year. There was just one change to the team with Nathan Tella getting his first start at the expense of Samuel Bastien who missed out for the first time.

If only I had a penny for every person who’s told me that going 1-0 behind in games is our major problem, that all will be different if we can start getting in front; the only time that’s happened was in the opening game of the season at Huddersfield.

There was no going behind here, just the opposite in fact. In only the third minute of the game we were in front. Jay Rodriguez got to a ball forward from Taylor-Harwood Bellis. Jay’s touch back was for Josh Brownhill who had to adjust his feet before firing a superb shot into the top corner of the net from a few yards outside the penalty box.

We all sat back to enjoy what was to come and we were soon on our feet again. Once more it was Harwood-Bellis with a delightful forward ball. This time Tella latched onto it, kept in front of his marker and placed a shot just inside the post to double our advantage.

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We were 2-0 up with not much more than ten minutes gone, we were so much on top. What could stop us winning this game comfortably? Ourselves is the answer and we let Blackpool back into it with the most ridiculous of goals. Blame who you like but should Connor Roberts have had other thoughts beyond passing the ball back to Arijanet Muric and should Muric have put his foot through it rather than trying to find Josh Cullen with a short pass? Cullen wasn’t best placed to receive the ball but he should have done better with it. He lost control and that allowed Theo Corbeanu in to score the simplest of goals.

The reaction from the home crowd wasn’t good and the disapproval strengthened when we almost made the same mistake again, but never fear, Tella’s here, and he restored the two goal lead with his second goal. Jay Rod and Brownhill linked up with Brownhill playing the ball out to the left. Blackpool made a bit of a mess of it, Tella got onto the ball and fired a shot into the far top corner. It might well have taken a deflection but it was still a damn good finish from the Southampton loanee.

Two goals on his first start. It wasn’t quite a home debut; he’d come on as a substitute against Hull. I’ve taken a look back and I think the last player to score two on his home debut was David Nugent when he came on as a substitute in a 3-1 win against Sunderland in 2009. It’s almost three years since any Burnley player scored twice in a home league game; that was Chris Wood in September 2019 in a 2-0 win against Norwich.

That was it for the first half. Despite the horror show goal we conceded, it had been our best football of the season so far. The game really looked all but won and the only discussions at half centred on how many we might win by.

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We could not have been more wrong. In truth we were downright awful for much of the second half but for the first half hour of it we survived with no damage whatsoever although, it has to be said, with some good fortune at times. Incredibly, we also came close to conceding another goal through messing about at the back.

Just past the hour, Ashley Barnes replaced Rodriguez and ten minutes later we introduced both Bastien and Churlinov with Tella and Vitinho making way. They’d hardly got loosened up by the time Blackpool not only pulled one back but got another to equalise.

The first of them came when they moved down the right. I’m not sure what on earth Ian Maatsen was doing to allow Jordan Gabriel, one of the many players linked with a move to Burnley this summer. It was dreadful defending from the left back. It allowed Gabriel to get the better of him, come into the box almost on the line and roll it back for Shayne Lavery to score.

Blackpool were so much the better side by now and they were close to equalising almost immediately only to be denied by a terrific save from Muric, and not the goalkeeper’s first big save of the day by any means. Shockingly, we didn’t deal with the resulting corner. The left wing corner found a totally unmarked Gary Madine on the corner of the six-yard box on the right hand side. He just simply played the ball in and there was Jerry Yates, totally unmarked too, to turn the ball home.

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I feared the worst now and a few minutes later, only Muric kept us level with another outstanding save at the expense of a corner. This time we dealt with it and Maatsen came storming out of the box with the ball only to be fouled by Sonny Carey. It looked a bad one to me but I was looking from the oppositive side of the pitch. What I did see clearly was Maatsen, stupidly react and push over Carey with both hands. It resulted in a melee with referee Keith Stroud, not shy when it comes to cards, waiting for things to calm down.

He sent off Carey and then Maatsen followed. Was it a case of Carey possibly getting red rather than yellow because of Maatsen’s reaction? I’ve seen the foul again and I would like to think any referee would have deemed it a red card whether there was any reaction or not, it was an absolute shocker. Much of the resulting chaos, which I’m sure will find both clubs fined for failing to control their players, was mainly handbags, but I’m astonished that none of the officials saw Marvin Ekpiteta’s involvement; he should surely have been given his marching orders too.

Maatsen will now serve a three-game ban, which does include the League Cup tie at Shrewsbury. He was the first Burnley player to be sent off in a home league game since Dean Marney against Birmingham in January 2013 and that one was a shocking decision from Darren Drysdale that was overturned on appeal.

If anything, it affected Blackpool more than us and we largely dominated the remainder of the game that included around nine minutes of stoppage time, but, had we scored, we could have counted ourselves very fortunate because after the second half showing we really didn’t deserve to win the game, a game that really should have been won by half time.

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There’s certainly no need to panic but I don’t think as we all stood marvelling at the first half showing at Huddersfield just over three weeks ago that we’d find ourselves as low as sixteenth in the table at the time of writing, and without another win.

We have to be patient, and that’s something the Turf Moor crowd didn’t show yesterday, which Michael Appleton picked up and said benefited his side but somehow, we are going to have to learn to start winning at home again. Back in 2020, we beat Watford 1-0 in what was our first home game during Project Restart. Since, we’ve played 44 league games at home and we’ve won just nine of them.

A week away now, to Shrewsbury in the cup and then off to Wigan. Then, hopefully, we’ll start to get some home victories.

The teams were;

Burnley: Arijanet Muric, Connor Roberts, Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Charlie Taylor, Ian Maatsen, Josh Brownhill, Jack Cork, Josh Cullen (Manuel Benson 90), Vitinho (Darko Churlinov 71), Jay Rodriguez (Ashley Barnes 61), Nathan Tella (Samuel Bastien 72). Subs not used: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, CJ Egan-Riley, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson.
Yellow Card: Josh Cullen.
Red Card: Ian Maatsen.

Blackpool: Daniel Grimshaw, Jordan Gabriel (Sonny Carey 75), Marvin Ekpiteta, Rhys Williams, Dominic Thompson (James Husband 75), Callum Connolly, Kenny Dougall, Shayne Lavery (Christopher Hamilton 75), Josh Bowler, Theo Corbeanu (Gary Madine 64), Jerry Yates (Matthew Virtue 89). Subs not used: Chris Maxwell, Jordan Thorniley.
Yellow Cards: Dominic Thompson, Callum Connolly, Kenny Dougall.
Red Card: Sonny Carey.

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).

Attendance: 20,620.

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