Disappointing end to remarkable season
It’s over, the 2019/20 season finally came to an end yesterday with a disappointing 2-1 home defeat against Brighton & Hove Albion to leave us in tenth place in the Premier League.
Disappointing is the word, no more than that, on a day when things might have been a little bit different had we had a better referee than Jon Moss or a VAR official with the bottle to tell him he’d got a big, early decision wrong.
Overall though, we probably didn’t deserve to win the game which left Nick Pope without the Golden Glove, Burnley without a new points record in a Premier League season and Chris Wood scoring goal number 14 for the season, now the most by a Burnley player in a top flight season since Leighton James netted 16 in 1974/75.
For the ninth successive game, and with more of the same to come next season, it was stay at home for us all again yesterday and a switch to Sky Sports Arena. I suppose we should have at least been thankful that we weren’t on Sky Sports Golf, I’m not quite sure how Everton and Bournemouth managed to avoid the 18 holes on Goodison Park.
I have to say, and I’m sure it is the same for so many more of our supporters, that I’ve still not got used to the idea of still being at home when the team news is confirmed an hour before kick off and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to still being at home when the game is played.
For the fourth successive season since our return to the Premier League we were finishing with a home game. In the previous three seasons we’ve lost those games against West Ham, Bournemouth and Arsenal, could we now break that run and get a win?
The first big talking point came on fourteen minutes. Jay Rodriguez got in front of Dale Stephens in the Brighton box and the player who once handed in a transfer request to try and engineer a move to Burnley gave away a penalty or he certainly should have. Referee Moss, who missed the most blatant of penalties on his last visit to Turf Moor when Davinson Sánchez barged Chris Wood, incredibly said no and – guess what? – Darren Bond quickly backed him up from Stockley Park. Our manager remains a fan of VAR, for the life of me I can’t see why, if it can’t even correct mistakes as clear and obvious as this one.
We never really got the time to recover. Within just a few minutes we fell behind to a special strike from Yves Bissouma although we really could have prevented it. The goal came from a left wing corner that they played back and across to Bissouma. His touch was bad and he was fortunate to get back ahead of Josh Brownhill. He was even more fortunate that Wood’s clearance landed straight back at his feet but then the strike was outstanding and gave Nick Pope not an earthly chance of keeping it out.
If we thought that would bring a response then we were to be disappointed and Brighton could so easily have doubled their lead. Neal Maupay saw one effort come back off the bar and Alexis Mac Allister should have done better than fire straight at Pope from another good chance.
Somewhat fortunate to be level at the break, we were just that and I was confident that we would go on and win the game in the second half. Unfortunately it was only a few minutes old before Brighton regained their lead. There are suggestions that it might have gone out of play for a throw in on their left but, whether it did or it didn’t, the defending from Kevin Long was jus not good enough as Aaron Connolly got the better of him before scoring from a tight angle.
This time we did get back at them and followed up that goal with our best spell of the game. We put them under some pressure from corners and thought we’d equalised again from one on the left when Rodriguez, ahead of the near post, headed Ashley Westwood’s flag kick into the far corner of the net.
VAR decided to look and ruled Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson offside, sadly VAR failed to see Ryan tugging on Guðmundsson’s shirt which should have resulted in an offence the other way. For a while it looked as though we would draw level. Long had a shot blocked, Jay Rod saw a header brilliantly headed off the line but eventually it all fizzled out and long before the end of the game it became more than likely that we wouldn’t get back into it. We didn’t and for a fourth successive season we brought it to an end with a home defeat.
It really was disappointing. A win would have seen us finish eighth but in the end we had to settle for tenth place. A draw, even, would have seen us finish ninth and would have been a record points haul in the Premier League. It would have also given us a best half a season in terms of points, beating the first half of the 2017/18 season by one point.
Just seven weeks now to the start of next season.
The teams were;
Burnley: Nick Pope, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, James Tarkowski, Erik Pieters, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson (Robbie Brady 75), Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Dwight McNeil, Jay Rodriguez (Matěj Vydra 78), Chris Wood. Subs not used: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Jimmy Dunne, Anthony Glennon, Mace Goodridge, Josh Benson, Max Thompson, Joel Mumbongo.
Yellow Cards: Josh Brownhill, Phil Bardsley, Erik Pieters.
Brighton: Mat Ryan, Adam Webster, Lewis Dunk, Dan Burn, Tariq Lamptey, Yves Bissouma (Davy Pröpper 73), Dale Stephens, Solly March (Bernardo 73), Alexis Mac Allister (Aaron Mooy 74), Aaron Connolly (Glenn Murray 90), Neal Maupay (Alireza Jahanbakhsh 90+3). Subs not used: David Button, Martín Montoya, Leandro Trossard, Pascal Groß.
Referee: Jon Moss (Leeds).
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