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Burnley came from behind yesterday to beat Reading 2-1 yesterday with the winner coming in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

Three wins in a week, three successive home wins, and despite the rantings of visiting manager Paul Ince, who quite rightly picked out one refereeing error while ignoring the rest of them, this was another fully deserved win for a Burnley team who again came up against a team not actually wanting to make a game of it.

We knew we were going to be without Jack Cork for this game as he served a one match suspension. That was always going to be a huge blow for us given how we started games at Watford and Sunderland when he hasn’t previously been in the starting line up. Josh Cullen, who also missed the win against Norwich in midweek, was ruled out again and that meant a first league start for Samuel Bastien since the home draw against Hull in mid-August. The only other change saw Connor Roberts preferred to Vitinho at right-back.

The Reading team included former Claret Jeff Hendrick and Tom Ince, the manager’s son, while there was a lot of experience on their bench including Junior Hoilett, Shane Long and Andy Carroll.

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While occasionally threatening, Reading made their intentions clear very early in the game. They intended stopping us from playing with a set up that was obviously looking and hoping for a 0-0 draw. They were, at times, over physical, while also keen on wasting as much time as possible.

The one thing they weren’t very good at was dealing with our wide players and we so often looked a threat down right and left. Overall, it didn’t allow us to play in the way we’d done against Norwich but we still had our moments and really should have been in front by the time the half time whistle blew.

Our moments were just that and no more. There were no real clear cut chances until close to half time. The first of them came via an Anass Zaroury cross from the left that Roberts got a head to and Bastien should have done better than to sky an effort from just outside the box.

The best chance came close to half time but before that, only referee Jeremy Simpson will know how on earth we didn’t get a penalty. The Reading defender blatantly had both arms round Taylor Harwood-Bellis at a corner making it impossible for the Burnley defender to do anything. Simpson, looking straight at the pair, bizarrely gave nothing.

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But soon afterwards we at the very least should have been testing the Reading goalkeeper, the absolutely fabulous Joe Lumley. Nathan Tella’s pace got him clear down the left. He looked up and saw Jay Rodriguez and played the ball back to him. If I could have chosen any player on the pitch to receive that ball in that position to the left of goal, it would have been Jay Rod, but he never got his shot right and it flew over the bar much to his disappointment as anyone else’s.

That meant a goalless first half and the fourth time in succession we’ve failed to score a first half goal, but I was happy with the first half performance. I felt it was just one goal away from us going on to win the game comfortably. If we could get in front then Reading would have to come out and make a game of it.

The second half started in much the same way, certainly for the opening ten minutes or so, then out of the blue, we incredibly fell behind. It was no more than a punt up field from Lumley that was flicked on by Yakou Meite. Ince was quickly onto it and as Arijanet Muric advanced, he slotted the ball into the bottom far corner.

Turf Moor was stunned. A Reading goal had never really looked likely and here we were behind on home soil for the first time since the second home game of the season against Hull. On that occasion it took us just nine minutes to equalise; this time it wasn’t much longer.

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A few minutes after their goal, we made a double change. On came Vitinho and Manuel Benson and with no disrespect at all to Vitinho or the departing players, it was the introduction of Benson that proved to make the difference.

He was on the right side, as you would expect, but when we did equalise, some ten minutes after Reading’s goal, it came down the left wing through Zaroury. We won the ball back from Reading through Bastien and that got the ball out left. Zaroury played it inside for Josh Brownhill who flicked it into the middle. The Reading defender beat Tella in the air and headed the ball out but just outside the penalty box where Benson had dropped off to hit a superb volley into the bottom corner.

At this point, I believed we’d go on and win it but then the history always comes into my head. In my Norwich report, I pointed out that they’d only once beaten us in a league game at the Turf. Reading is very much a different case. They arrived here having won far more often than they’ve lost. I always recall Sean Dyche saying it was irrelevant, which, of course it is, but then Sean himself, after a second successive 4-0 defeat at West Brom, declared the Hawthorns as an unlucky ground.

Common sense did get the better of me; we’d drawn level, we were the better team and surely we would now go on and win it, but it just didn’t happen. I was worrying again and when we reached ninety minutes I did think Reading, for the first time in the game, were looking the more likely.

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Up went the board for seven extra minutes, I’d have settled for one minute and a point to be honest, but there was some entertainment and incident to come in what proved to be more than nine minutes.

Ian Maatsen came out of the box with the ball. I was demanding he got it up the pitch but he preferred to play with the ball which led to him giving it away. I was too busy berating him when we recovered the ball but we hadn’t done so fairly. There is absolutely no doubt that it was a penalty. Manager Ince, who had already been yellow carded, for what that’s worth, after an earlier rant when he thought they should have had a spot kick, literally went berserk. He should have remained calm, then he might have enjoyed what followed.

We worked the ball across the pitch and eventually got it to Benson on the right touchline. His initial move was to come inside before making a run for the box. Once there, he crossed the ball to the far post with the outside of his left foot. The ground seemed to rise in hopeful expectation. Zaroury got to the far post to head home and the ground just lifted. Surely, we’d won it now.

Referee Jeremy Simpson added on a bit more and this appalling referee awarded Reading a free kick, this one a correct decision on the left. Before it could be taken there was something of a melee between the two teams. With a ball about to come into our box, I feared they might bring on Andy Carroll but the only addition up to was goalkeeper Lumley. He got to Ince’s free kick too but I’m sure he handled it.

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Whether he did or not, the ball went out to the left where Ince took out Benson with a shocking challenge. Having seen it again, I believe he’s very fortunate not to have been given a red card for it but it was one yellow each with Muric deemed to be time wasting.

By now, the home fans were screaming for the final whistle and it duly came and the win has kept us two points clear at the top of the league.

Ince continued to whinge and in interviews after the game he has claimed his team felt cheated while calling referee Simpson a disgrace. I suspect he’ll be getting a call from the FA for his comments. He’s been very selective by singling out a couple of incidents that went against his team but there were as many shocking decisions went his way and this is a referee I hope we don’t see back at Burnley for some considerable time.

But, no matter how the game went, that’s five home wins and the Turf Moor crowd are loving it. Winning home games had become difficult over the previous two seasons and I have always believed it’s victories that home fans want as much as anything.

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A week ago, at Sunderland, I thought Zaroury was extremely unfortunate not to win the man of the match award. He caused Reading major problems again yesterday but this time I have no worries over him playing second fiddle to Benson whose introduction lifted the performance and the whole place. Apparently, according to sources this morning, he’s interesting Wayne Rooney but I can see no reason at all why he would want to consider playing in the MLS while he can turn games like this in the Championship.

Long may this last. We know we can’t win every game, as much as we’d like to, but we are giving ourselves a real chance wit this current run although the three teams closest to us in the league are three of the five we still have to play. On current form, we needn’t fear them.

Back to the Turf this midweek before an early kick off in Sheffield and then, I wonder who it might be a week later. Maybe those our fans keep chanting for us to bring on.

For now, at least I reckon I’m having a better Sunday than Paul Ince and that’s fine by me.

The teams were;

Burnley: Arijanet Muric, Connor Roberts (Vitinho 61), Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Jordan Beyer, Ian Maatsen, Samuel Bastien (CJ Egan-Riley 77), Josh Brownhill, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson (Manuel Benson 61), Nathan Tella (Halil Dervişoğlu 85), Anass Zaroury, Jay Rodriguez. Subs not used: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Charlie Taylor, Ashley Barnes.
Yellow Cards: Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Manuel Benson, Arijanet Muric.

Reading: Joe Lumley, Andy Yiadom, Tom Holmes, Tom McIntyre (Junior Hoilett 34), Amadou Mbengue, Jeff Hendrick, Mamadou Loum, Baba Rahman, Tom Ince, Ovie Ejaria (Tyrese Fornah 71), Yakou Meite (Shane Long 82). Subs not used: Dean Bouzanis, Nesta Guinness-Walker, Lucas João, Andy Carroll.
Yellow Cards: Baba Rahman, Tom Holmes, Mamadou Loum, Tom Ince.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson (North Lancashire).

Attendance: 18,684 (including 691 from Reading).

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