Burnley draw a blank at Blackpool
Burnley had to settle for a point yesterday at Blackpool, the game ending in a 0-0 draw as we ended a run of 31 successive league games having scored at least once in each one.
It had to happen sooner or later, we were always going to have a game when we didn’t score. Maybe we didn’t expect it to come against one of the division’s strugglers but, despite dominating possession, we weren’t at our best going forward and didn’t create too many chances.
It was good to have an away game that didn’t force an early alarm call or a late return home. It’s been one long trip after another in 2023, with Luton the closest of six league and cup games away from home.
This wasn’t to be a day out with a stop at a carefully chosen pub as is usually the case. It was straight there, park up, take in the sights of the seaside town (not really). We parked up close to the Waterloo, famous for its crown green bowling, before making our way to the ground where we had a short wait outside so I could pass tickets to a couple of friends.
Ash is a regular now at away games as is former chairman Barry Kilby. He and Sonya were making their way into the away end. Somehow, it doesn’t seem quite right, him sitting with the rest of us given all the years he’s occupied a seat in directors’ boxes up and down the country. Whether chairman, director or not, he’s a Claret and it’s good to see him at games.
Finally inside the ground, I had to pay a visit to the loo before taking my seat. A friend of mine, Jo Cunningham, who sadly passed away in 2017 at the age of 50, used to write match reports a couple of decades ago and would always include a toilet report. Only a couple of weeks ago, another friend Kat Law was at it. She’s a Spurs fan and wasn’t too happy with the primitive facilities on offer at the San Siro.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt the need to comment but on this occasion I have. What a disgrace. This is a club that was in the Premier League just over a decade ago and that’s when they built the temporary structure now used for away fans, replacing the previous Gene Kelly that was very definitely not fit for purpose.
It was then off to my standing area just ahead of the teams coming out with Vincent Kompany having restored the side to almost that which beat Huddersfield 4-0 a week earlier; the only change and enforced one that saw Vitinho replace the injured Ian Maatsen.
Everything started so well. It’s understatement to suggest we dominated possession and as the game moved on I thought it was merely a matter of time before we went in front. But the final ball wasn’t there and we hardly created anything resembling a goal chance.
We were dealt a blow too midway through the half when Josh Brownhill went down on the touchline not too far from us. We couldn’t see what happened but he didn’t look good, and Kompany has reported that it has been caused by the synthetic surface just over the touchline.
The half ended in bizarre fashion. I’d just commented that referee Thomas Bramall was having a decent game but he then allowed only one minute of stoppage time at the end of the half, this despite the delay for Brownhill’s injury. In that one minute, Blackpool, who have a record breaking nine red cards in the Championship this season, were very fortunate it didn’t become ten.
Callum Connolly was the only player carded during the half and he went straight through the back of JBG for the most obvious of yellow cards. He must have known he’d be walking but Bramall, incredibly, avoided it by awarding the free kick to Blackpool.
Nothing much changed after the break. We continued to take the game to Blackpool but, again, didn’t really threaten. Maxwell saved a Twine free kick while at the other end, Arijanet Muric was virtually redundant.
One link up between substitute Michael Obafemi and Guðmundsson almost led to a goal that was cleared just in front of goal but then, as we approached the final few minutes, Blackpool pushed forward and, for the first time in the game, they looked to win it.
With around ten minutes to go, they broke forward in numbers. Suddenly we looked under real threat but Tella took a card for the team. The referee had no option.
Mick McCarthy made positive substitutions for the final ten minutes or so and they won corners and free kicks, allowing them to get the ball into our box, but despite all that, it was Maxwell who had to rescue Blackpool with one more big save to deny Tella.
If this report has come across as negative, the simple fact is that we didn’t play well and, overall, the performance was disappointing. It wasn’t the result that made it disappointing, although we probably all thought we’d win, it was the general performance. But how many times have we thought that this season? Hardly ever is the answer. All teams, no matter how good they are, will have their disappointing days and this was one for us, nothing more than that. There is still so much to look forward to this season.
We’d still something to look forward to on the way home. No pub stop this time but some good quality fish and chips, although not in Blackpool I must confirm but in Lytham and then home much earlier than has been the case from recent away games.
Now, a week off before Wigan arrive at the Turf next Saturday.
The teams were;
Blackpool: Chris Maxwell, Jordan Gabriel, Curtis Nelson, Jordan Thorniley, Dominic Thompson, Kenny Dougall, Callum Connolly, Josh Bowler (Morgan Rogers 74), Sonny Carey (Andy Lyons 87), Luke Garbutt (Chris Hamilton 80), Jerry Yates (Gary Madine 80). Subs not used: Daniel Grimshaw, James Husband, Charlie Patino.
Yellow Card: Callum Connolly.
Burnley: Arijanet Muric, Connor Roberts, Hjalmar Ekdal, Jordan Beyer, Vitinho, Josh Cullen, Josh Brownhill (Scott Twine 26, Halil Dervişoğlu 90), Nathan Tella, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson (Jack Cork 90), Anass Zaroury (Michael Obafemi 62), Ashley Barnes. Subs not used: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Charlie Taylor, Lyle Foster.
Yellow Card: Nathan Tella.
Referee: Thomas Bramall (South Yorkshire).
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