Cruel finish at Wembley costs the Clarets
It was another away defeat for the Clarets yesterday, losing 1-0 against Spurs at Wembley, but this was the cruellest of defeats for us with the only goal of the game coming in the first minute of stoppage time after we had surely done more than enough to earn a point.
In what had been an excellent defensive display, we were caught out by a long ball up field from former Claret Kieran Trippier. Kevin Long looked as though he was dealing with it but James Tarkowski came in and that saw Fernando Llorente get the better of the pair in the air and eventually the ball dropped, via Harry Kane, for substitute Christian Eriksen to hammer home his first Premier League goal of the season to condemn us to our sixth away defeat of the season, one more than in the entire 2017/18 season.
That left the Burnley fans to start the journey home in horrific weather conditions which added to such a horrible day that has worsened even more today with Southampton beating Arsenal to drop us back into the relegation positions.
Often, it’s a youth team report from Gawthorpe that commands a reference to the weather, but no report of this game could possibly be complete without some reference to the shocking conditions that befell us on the way to and from and at Wembley yesterday.
It was car for us yesterday with the plan of driving to Hillingdon and getting the tube in from there. That plan was ended with a crash on the M40 so it was a quick change of that plan to get us to Stanmore and the four stop journey on the Jubilee line into Wembley. At Stanmore it was bitterly cold; at Wembley the rain had been added to that and I don’t think I’ve ever been at any football ground previously where it was actually colder on the concourse than it was in the seats. No wonder there was a long queue for the overpriced hot chocolate drink with Bailey’s.
The talking point was the team news; we’d picked it up on the tube. It was always likely that Aaron Lennon would return for the injured Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson while Sean Dyche had said in his press conference that he was likely to change things. I don’t think any of us suspected it would be to bring in a central defender for a striker and go with a back five, but that’s exactly what we did with Kevin Long restored at the expense of Chris Wood.
It was always going to be with the intention of trying to keep things as tight as possible against currently the third best team in the Premier League and for much of the afternoon it worked perfectly. Don’t get me wrong, they had their opportunities but we kept them to a minimum and for most of the afternoon we frustrated them.
Probably their best two chances of the first half fell to Lucas Moura and Eric Lamela. Moura was just wide after getting to a pass through from Lamela but it took some very quick action and a good save from Joe Hart to deny Lamela when he looked a certain scorer.
Should Spurs have had a penalty during that first half for a Tarkowski foul on Kane? Possibly, but if Graham Scott got it wrong it was no surprise given his overall performance. I’ve seen it again and I think the referee did get it wrong. This morning it led to Neil Warnock, on Goals on Sunday, calling for VAR to be introduced.
We didn’t have much in the way of chances. Remember last week when Phil Bardsley had his head kicked with no action from the referee? This week Robbie Brady was penalised for something similar with no Spurs player anywhere near him, and the same thing happened again in the second half with Scott again awarding a free kick against us.
Nearing half time at 0-0, it might just have got better for us. Spurs’ goalkeeper Hugo Loris cleared but only to Phil Bardsley. His cross was met by Ashley Barnes who has scored twice previously in this fixture. This time his header disappointingly sailed over the bar.
The second half was more of the same to be honest but I will take issue with those stats that show us having no shots on target. Had they gone for a warm when Barnes had a goal bound volley blocked from Aaron Lennon’s cross? And it wasn’t the only effort we had on target either.
Chris Wood replaced Barnes and for a second we thought he might repeat last season’s goal scoring heroics when he was played in but generally, the longer the game went on, the more it became Spurs moving towards our goal.
They brought on the outstanding pair of Erikson and Son Heung-min and they were followed by Llorente. They had two good chances, both spurned and when Lee Mason stood on the touchline showing four extra minutes, we were still level at 0-0.
Then came that disastrous moment and all our good work had been for nothing. Jeff Hendrick was waiting to come on but by the time he got on it was 1-0. Sam Vokes followed him as Harry Kane wasted about a minute arguing the toss over something and nothing, much longer than either Brady or Bardsley when they were carded. I don’t think we’d have come back but one goal, two substitutions and Kane’s time wasting in extra time, not one jot of it was added on by Scott.
There have been far too many games this season on the road when the defeats have come in performances that have ranged from disappointing to shocking, at places such as Fulham, Wolves and Crystal Palace particularly. This one very definitely didn’t fit into that category and I can’t imagine anyone but a Spurs fan wouldn’t have felt for us yesterday. This is one fixture where we never seem to get what we deserve very often, that’s three one goal defeats in our last four visits and we could so easily have got something in each and every one of them.
The last week and a half has brought us three points from three games but, even in the two defeats, there have been a lot of positives that we might start getting the results we need to get ourselves out of trouble.
This really was much, much better and undoubtedly our best away performance of the season. If only we could have got that point.
The teams were;
Tottenham: Hugo Lloris, Kieran Trippier, Toby Alderweireld, Ben Davies, Danny Rose, Moussa Sissoko, Oliver Skipp (Son Heung-min 75), Lucas Moura (Christian Eriksen 65), Dele Alli, Eric Lamela (Fernando Llorente 82), Harry Kane. Subs not used: Paulo Gazzaniga, Kyle Walker-Peters, Timothy Eyomi, Harry Winks.
Burnley: Joe Hart, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Aaron Lennon (Sam Vokes 90+3), Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Robbie Brady (Jeff Hendrick 90+2), Ashley Barnes (Chris Wood 80). Subs not used: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Ben Gibson, Matěj Vydra.
Yellow Cards: Robbie Brady, Phil Bardsley.
Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire).
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