Another inglorious cup exit
Just as the hopes were building following wins against MK and Fulham, all our cup hopes came crashing down again last night with a 2-0 home defeat against Bournemouth from a performance that was simply not good enough.
I’m not sure where to start in truth but maybe back to May 1962 when we reached the final and were beaten 3-1 by Spurs. That was my second season watching the Clarets; we’d played in the semi-final in the first year, but my word it has been a desperate run of non achievement since with only four sixth round appearances and only one of those taking us into the semi-final of which most Burnley fans who witnessed it don’t like to be reminded.
There have been some horror shows undoubtedly. Telford, Darlington and Cheltenham come to mind and that’s before we even consider Wimbledon and Lincoln, two non-league teams who knocked out top flight Burnley.
So I suppose last night shouldn’t have come as a shock, it shouldn’t have even come as a surprise but the performance was so inept it was hard not to be stunned when sitting there watching it and, let’s face it, against a Bournemouth team who looked on that showing anything but promotion chasers from the Championship.
The first half was horrible, no other word for it although we might have gone in front when Dunne pulled a ball back from the right that Dale Stephens blazed way off target. That did no more than prompt Bournemouth to take charge. Philip Billing fired one effort just wide but soon after that they were in front when Sam Surridge converted a low Jack Stacey ball in from the right. I have to admit that, despite only just over twenty minutes having gone, I feared there would be no comeback from this Burnley team.
Stephens was on target with his next effort, but it was off his shoulder towards his own goal forcing Peacock-Farrell into a good save and we went in a goal down at half time with not even a threat to their goal since we’d gone behind.
Things looked better at the start of the second half. Asmir Begović saved from Matěj Vydra and then turned a Dwight McNeil effort wide but he was helpless when Jay Rodriguez was presented with what could only be described as a sitter. Dunne went rampaging down the left this time and got the ball to Vydra whose shot went straight to Rodriguez. From just outside the six yard box he blazed his shot over the top and that I’m afraid was it, there was never to be another chance like that in the remainder of the game.
At 0-1 you always hold out hope that you might equalise, just as we’d done in the third round, but as time went on it looked less and less likely and in truth the penalty gave us a scoreline that was a more accurate reflection of the game.
I think we’ve all become accustomed to going out of the FA Cup but the further you go in the competition each year the harder it is to take. Had Vydra not scored that equaliser in the third round and we’d have gone out I don’t think it would have concerned too many given the lack of commitment we show this competition, but when you reach the fifth round and have a home tie against a team from a lower division you do start to wonder if it might be your year.
We all fully understand that the Premier League is the priority but I also think many of us believe that last night just wasn’t acceptable.
The teams were;
Burnley: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Jimmy Dunne, Anthony Glennon, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson (Matt Lowton 74), Josh Benson (Ashley Westwood 65), Dale Stephens, Dwight McNeil, Jay Rodriguez (Ashley Barnes 74), Matěj Vydra (Joel Mumbongo 74). Subs not used: Will Norris, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Richard Nartey.
Yellow Cards: Dwight McNeil, Phil Bardsley.
Bournemouth: Asmir Begović, Jack Stacey (Chris Mepham ht), Cameron Carter-Vickers, Steve Cook, Diego Rico, Ben Pearson, Jefferson Lerma, Philip Billing, David Brooks (Lewis Cook 63), Sam Surridge, Junior Stanislas. Subs not used: Will Dennis, Lloyd Kelly, Jordan Zemura, Arnaut Danjuma Groeneveld, Gavin Kilkenny, Jaidon Anthony, Christian Saydee.
Yellow Card: Jefferson Lerma.
Referee: Darren England (Doncaster).