First point on the board
We’re off the mark, a 1-1 home draw against Leeds United yesterday gave us our first point of the 2021/22 season ahead of the first international break but we were so, so close to winning the game on a day of some excitement at Turf Moor.
I was still sat at home when the day started with the excitement of new signing Maxwel Cornet from Lyon. I don’t think he’d have been on many Burnley fans’ lists of desired signings when this window opened but the 24-year-old Ivorian is now a Burnley player for the next five years.
He was very much the talking point outside the Turf yesterday and the ice cream van close to the Park View was doing good trade although that could have had something to do with the summer weather that was far more suitable for the Burnley v Ramsbottom game being played next door.
It’s still, for many of us, catching up with old friends. I saw one such friend, one I travel to away games with, for the first time since we went to Newcastle 18 months ago and it was brilliant to see the seat to my left occupied again.
We saw a lively first half that, despite having little in the way of shots on goal, was an entertaining affair with referee Michael Oliver as busy as anyone on the pitch. It was feisty at times and I’m not so sure what Jürgen Klopp would have made of the second minute incident when James Tarkowski and Patrick Bamford brought the game to a halt following an off the ball wrestling bout.
Nick Pope had a relatively quiet time although we did have a couple of worrying moments. Illan Meslier wasn’t much busier either and the one save of note he made from Ashley Barnes was going wide. He did see a Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson shot go just wide and he was thankful for the woodwork when Bamford hit his own post.
I must make mention of the four first half yellow cards (and three more followed after the break). I did feel Michael Oliver was a bit over keen to wave his card around, but Barnes might have been a bit fortunate with his; another referee on another day would possibly have shown him a red for the challenge on Stuart Dallas. But it shouldn’t have happened and wouldn’t have done had the assistant flagged for the clearest of offsides against Chris Wood.
Tarkowski headed McNeil’s corner against the bar. Ben Mee got it back in for Brownhill to shoot. Most of the ground went up for hand ball but the ball was then played back in from the right. It was headed down for Matt Lowton whose left foot shot was turned in by Wood.
It was apparently the 30,000th goal scored in the Premier League. It was Burnley’s 268th and a 47th for Wood who is now six goals ahead of Barnes.
As we celebrated the goal, Aaron Lennon came on for his second Burnley league debut, the first had come at Newcastle in January 2008 where he made his return last Wednesday in the League Cup.
Then, in the 86th minute, Raphina got in on the right. Mee blocked his shot, but it fell for substitute Jamie Shackleton. His shot hit Mee and deflected for Bamford and the ball was in our net.
Wood forced Meslier into a save almost immediately but the closing few minutes saw Leeds searching for a goal and a very unlikely victory. Thankfully they didn’t get it and we had finally got our first point of the season.
I thought we played well for a long period of the Brighton game, and I was far from disappointed with our performance at Liverpool. Again, there were so many positives to take from this game and on another day we’d have been celebrating a win.
It’s break time now. Just when the season gets going we have to stop for the internationals. We know our squad will be a little different when we do return at Everton with Cornet having joined us. I wonder if there could even be a couple more.
The teams were;
Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson (Aaron Lennon 63), Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Dwight McNeil, Ashley Barnes (Matěj Vydra 79), Chris Wood. Subs not used: Wayne Hennessey, Phil Bardsley, Nathan Collins, Bobby Thomas, Erik Pieters, Jack Cork, Jay Rodriguez.
Yellow Cards: Josh Brownhill, Ashley Barnes, Ben Mee, Aaron Lennon.
Leeds: Illan Meslier, Diego Llorente (Jamie Shackleton 65), Pascal Struijk, Liam Cooper, Luke Ayling, Kalvin Phillips, Stuart Dallas, Raphina, Rodrigo (Tyler Roberts 73), Jack Harrison, Patrick Bamford. Subs not used: Kristoffer Klaesson, Adam Forshaw, Hélder Costa, Joe Gelhardt, Charlie Cresswell, Crysencio Summerville, Liam McCarron.
Yellow Cards: Kalvin Phillips, Rodrigo, Pascal Struijk.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).