Never say die Clarets with another late fight back
Just as a first home defeat of the season was looming, Burnley yet again conjured up a late and dramatic response, netting an equaliser in the fifth of six minutes added at the end of a feisty contest.
It hadn’t looked like coming but this Burnley team always seem to find a way and although it brought an end to the run of successive wins, a run that had to end sooner rather than later. A win it might not have been but it very definitely felt as if we’d won when the final whistle blew seconds after the restart.
For the second time in a few days, I was unable to take my seat on the Turf due to illness. I am led to believe I missed an exciting performance last Saturday but at least this time I was able to take my seat in front of the television. It’s nothing like the same is it? But it’s definitely better than nothing.
I was perhaps surprised when Vincent Kompany named an unchanged team, not because it didn’t deserve to be unchanged but due to how well we’d apparently played against Preston. The only change came on the bench where Ameen Al-Dakhil replaced Charlie Taylor.
Hjalmar Ekdal, wrestled to the ground as the corner came in, appealed in vain for a penalty. We were so close to going 1-0 up that early in the game but it wasn’t a sign of things to come unfortunately.
We always looked the more likely and all of Anass Zaroury, Barnes and Nathan Tella went on to have chances, but the crisp passing shown at the Preston game was missing. Goalkeeper Aro Muric, hailed for his performance against Preston, was one of the biggest culprits. His passing was way off and he gave the ball away countless times. He wasn’t the only one though, it has to be said.
Having a difficult night, Muric then made a real mess of what was just a Watford punt up field and it cost us a goal. He could have headed the ball, I’m sure he could have caught it, but he tried to kick it clear from just inside the box and succeeded only getting a thigh onto it and the ball going straight up. We never recovered from that, Muric didn’t and was lost as the ball eventually found João Pedro to find the net.
Half time came with us trailing 1-0 with Watford scoring with their first shot on target. It also proved to be their last.
I thought we might make a change at the start of the second half although I didn’t think for one minute that it would be in goal. I was astonished when I saw Bailey Peacock-Farrell ready to come on but clearly the manager had been less than impressed with Muric.
For much of the second half it was whether we could get ourselves back into it. We started well enough without creating too much although, eventually, JBG forced a fairly routine save out of Bachmann while the goalkeeper did well to deny Tella at close range.
We made more changes but as the clock moved ever closer to ninety minutes, an equaliser never really looked likely. The board went up showing six extra minutes. I felt it should have been more but last time referee Doughty was here, he allowed ten in which we scored twice against Rotherham.
This time, Watford looked in total control of things. We were going nowhere but did win a corner when Zaroury, who had such a frustrating night, saw his cross come off a defender.
The moment had come. Peacock-Farrell went up and Josh Brownhill went to take the left wing corner. He swung it in and it looks as though Ekdal gets the slightest of touches before two second half substitutes took over. Lyle Foster looks as though he’s going to get his first Burnley goal but heads against the post from close range. It doesn’t matter, there’s Michael Obafemi to hit home and get us a point.
So much has been said recently of records and, to some extent, I’m glad that’s now over. It becomes an obsession for some yet the one obsession should be getting enough points to get back out of this league which I am sure we will.
I thought the record of successive wins in this league since it was rebranded was a bit of a nonsense but we have equalled the club record of ten wins set way back in 1913; the most I’d seen was nine in 1991. We’ve also scored in each of the last 28 league games and that is a new record.
All done and dusted, but let’s concentrate on the one thing that matters.
I really hope I’m able to go to Luton. I’ve missed it so much this week but delighted we’ve come through with another four points.
Maybe not records but a few stats. Only three times have we reached sixty points in a season at this stage (since we went three points for a win in 1981). In 2013/14, we had sixty points and in 1991/92 we had 62. Today’s total is 69.
We’ve scored 62 goals and during the same seasons we’ve beaten that just twice at this stage, scoring 63 in 1983/84 and 1991/92. Defensively, the 27 goals conceded has only been bettered four times. We’d conceded 25 in 1999/2000, 2004/05 and 2013/14, and 26 in 2015/16 while we’d conceded the same number of 27 in 2017/18.
The teams were;
Burnley: Arijanet Muric (Bailey Peacock-Farrell ht), Connor Roberts (Michael Obafemi 86), Hjalmar Ekdal, Jordan Beyer (Ameen Al-Dakhil 40), Ian Maatsen, Josh Cullen, Josh Brownhill, Nathan Tella, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson (Scott Twine 71), Anass Zaroury, Ashley Barnes (Lyle Foster 71). Subs not used: Jack Cork, Vitinho.
Yellow Cards: Connor Roberts, Ashley Barnes, Michael Obafemi.
Watford: Daniel Bachmann, Mario Gaspar, Ryan Porteous, Wesley Hoedt, Hassane Kamara, Ismaël Koné (Imrân Louza 76), Hamza Choudhury, Ken Sema (Henrique Araújo 68), Ismaila Sarr, Keinan Davis (Mattheus Martins 69), João Pedro (Christian Kabasele 87). Subs not used: Ben Hamer, James Morris, Britt Assombalonga.
Yellow Cards: Hassane Kamara, Ryan Porteous, João Pedro.
Referee: Leigh Doughty (Blackpool).
Attendance: 18,393 (including 505 from Watford).
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