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Burnley recorded a fourth successive win last night, beating Rotherham United 3-2 having trailed 1-0 and 2-1 during the game before scoring twice in stoppage time.

The winner couldn’t have come much later either, recorded in the tenth, and what should have been the final, minute of stoppage time that had been added by referee Leigh Doughty. The goal was scored by loanee Halil Dervişoğlu who became the twelfth player to score for us this season, although the architect of the late recovery was again the mercurial Manuel Benson who is fast becoming our super sub.

Rotherham were the third and last of the teams promoted last season from League One to come up against us and we’d recorded our two biggest away wins against the other two, winning 5-1 at Wigan and 4-2 at Sunderland. This one was to be more Sunderland than Wigan.

It was a night of swirling rain but, thankfully, the skies were kind to us and allowed us all to get into the ground and out at the end in dry conditions, but this was a typical Burnley night and I wondered how some of our new signings might find the conditions at a wet, windy and cold Turf Moor.

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We are used to not hearing the ‘same again’ team news now ahead of games and for once I guessed the team correctly. I think we all knew that Jack Cork would be back having served his one match ban and I suspected there would be a change at right-back where Vitinho was preferred to Connor Roberts.

Having gone 1-0 up in eleven successive games, we’ve more recently had to come from behind to win games. We came from 2-0 down at Sunderland and last Saturday fell a goal behind against Reading before winning 2-1. It happened again last night and this time as early as the third minute. It wasn’t very good from our point of view but once Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson had missed out in a challenge, Rotherham switched the ball to the right and when the deep cross came in, it found midfielder Ben Wiles in acres of space to head home with Vitinho caught out of position. For so long during the summer, we thought Wiles would become a Burnley player but Rotherham resisted our offers and he repaid us by opening the scoring.

We were close to a quick equaliser and it was eyes on the referee to see whether a Jay Rodriguez header had crossed the line. Receiving no response from his watch, he quite rightly, and every referee will get something correct, said no goal.

It was no big response from Burnley though. We rarely threatened and twice we could have fallen further behind, once when we somehow managed to scramble the ball away following a corner when the looked odds on to score, and then Arijanet Muric made a really good save to deny them.

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Our main threat looked to be down the left through Ian Maatsen and Anass Zaroury but when we finally got ourselves level, it was from a ball in from the right. That came from Guðmundsson. It was an excellent ball in that reached Nathan Tella beyond the goal and almost on the line. He looped it back over goalkeeper Viktor Johansson and there was Jay Rodriguez to head home although television pictures do suggest that Tella’s ball would have gone in although Jay did absolutely the right thing.

Level at last, and we should have been in front at half time. In the second of five minutes added, Maatsen and Zaroury linked up again to set up Tella who looked a certain scorer but his shot went some eight yards wide of goal. It sort of summed up our first half performance but hopefully with better to come after the break.

That didn’t quite happen. Our only real effort came from Zaroury whose cross shot looked to be heading into the far corner before Johansson caught it and the lack of threat prompted Vincent Kompany to introduce Manuel Benson just before the hour. Rotherham responded with two changes of their own and one of them had an immediate impact. A poor back pass from Vitinho found one of those subs, Chiedozie Ogbene. It was his first touch of the ball and he made the most of it. He run at Jordan Beyer, who couldn’t get a challenge in, and that left Ogbene to place a shot into the corner.

We were behind again and made further changes with Dervişoğlu coming on, quickly followed by Ashley Barnes and Connor Roberts but centre stage soon turned back to Rotherham and Cohen Bramall. He’d become the first player carded by Doughty just a few minutes earlier for what was the first free kick for a foul that Rotherham had conceded all night. It was not their first foul, just the first one Doughty had seen. The second one, a bad one on Roberts, saw him rightly sent off.

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Experienced Richard Wood quickly came on for Ollie Rathbone, son of former Blackburn full back Mick ‘Basil’ Rathbone. The intentions were clear. They were playing 5-4-1 and continuing to waste time to an obscene level, something they’d done all night.

Even so, we were close when a Roberts diving header was kept out and then, with just over two minutes of normal time remaining, I thought we’d got a point when Barnes superbly volleyed home left footed. The flag had gone up for offside. It’s close and, having seen it again, I’m not sure the VAR lines would have ruled it out.

That looked it, a first home defeat loomed, but then up went the board showing there would be ten extra minutes. That’s when Benson took over. In the first of those ten minutes, he received the ball on the right touchline around twenty yards from goal. He moved inside a defender before moving into the penalty box. He beat another Rotherham defender to set himself up for a left foot shot that sailed into the far corner of the net. In some ways, it was a mirror image of Zaroury’s goal at Sunderland.

Turf Moor erupted. Had we got our point? With over nine minutes remaining, the home crowd lifted the volume as we went in search of a winner. The time wasting continued, the referee went from bad to worse to even worse. He’d had a poor game on the Turf when we beat Millwall earlier this season. This time he took shocking, incompetent refereeing to a new level. He was waving a few cards around by now, one of them for Josh Brownhill who will now miss the Sheffield United game.

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But this was to be our game. We won a thrown on the right. Apparently, Rotherham manager Matt Taylor thought it should have been their throw and we got it because we’re a big club. I’d suggest Mr Taylor looks closer to home, mainly his own game killing tactics, before pointing fingers at anyone else. He might also be better served trying to work out how Roberts could throw the ball to a totally unmarked Benson on the byline.

Benson took two touches before laying the ball back to Brownhill who shot from a central position right on the 18-yard line. His shot was straight at Johansson but the goalkeeper couldn’t hold it and Dervişoğlu sent the ground into raptures, turning the ball home for his first goal in English football.

A game that we had only rescued from defeat in the first minute of stoppage time, had now been won. I’m not sure we deserved a victory based on our performance but if anyone got what they deserved it was Rotherham, they fully deserved their defeat. Their time wasting antics, if nothing else, over the 105 minutes were appalling. With a good referee, they might not have got away with as much. With Doughty, who I hope I don’t see again in a very long time, they all but got away with it all apart from paying for those extra minutes added on.

That’s four successive wins now, the best since we secured five on the bounce in March and April 2018.

The whole place was bouncing in those closing stages and the mood had undoubtedly changed at the final whistle. You can’t beat a win like that although I would much prefer to be well in front before going into extra time.

Now we’ve got three teams directly below us in the table in the next three games, two before and one after the World Cup. But for now, it’s a good look being five points clear at the top.

The teams were;

Burnley: Arijanet Muric, Vitinho (Connor Roberts 74), Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Jordan Beyer, Ian Maatsen, Jack Cork, Josh Brownhill, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson (Manuel Benson 59), Nathan Tella (Halil Dervişoğlu 70), Anass Zaroury, Jay Rodriguez (Ashley Barnes 74). Subs not used: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Charlie Taylor, Samuel Bastien.
Yellow Cards: Ian Maatsen, Josh Brownhill, Jordan Beyer.

Rotherham: Viktor Johansson, Brooke Norton-Cuffy (Georgie Kelly 86), Lee Peltier, Grant Hall, Wes Harding, Cohen Bramall, Hakeem Odoffin (Chiedozie Ogbene 63), Ben Wiles, Dan Barlaser, Ollie Rathbone (Richard Wood 77), Conor Washington (Jamie Lindsay 63). Subs not used: Josh Vickers, Jamie McCart, Tom Eaves.
Yellow Cards: Cohen Bramall, Dan Barlaser Ben Wiles.
Red Card: Cohen Bramall.

Referee: Leigh Doughty (Blackpool).

Attendance: 17,572.

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