Off the mark with first win
It’s taken seven games, but we are finally up and running in the Premier League with our first victory of the season against Luton Town at Kenilworth Road last night with the Clarets running our 2-1 winners.
A Lyle Foster goal on his return to the side gave us the lead right on half time and then came Jacob Bruun Larsen’s late winner, just seconds after Luton had equalised. It was probably no surprise to see it come at Kenilworth Road either. This is not the worst of grounds for Burnley at all. We’ve won on each of our last four visits and our last nine games there have brought seven victories.
It was a coach trip for me again yesterday, leaving early afternoon and it is always pleasing to be able to report a trouble free journey with hardly a traffic issue worth bothering about and we were in Luton in very good time and ready to make our way into the ground to take a look at all the changes since we were last there earlier in the year.
The new Bobbers Stand was open with a couple of handfuls of Burnley fans in the corner while in the away end the only change had been the removal of a small part of the roof to allow a new floodlight pylon to go through. There are no improvements for supporters but the Premier League have no interest in those who pay their money to go to games, they are just bothered about the broadcasting and that, in the Bobbers Stand, is where the money has had to be spent.
We got the team news that showed one change from Saturday’s game at Newcastle. It was no surprise to see the return of Lyle Foster and probably, given his performance at St. James’ Park, it was no surprise to see it was Aaron Ramsey who stepped down with Zeki Amdouni set to play on the left.
It could have all got off to a disastrous start. We kicked off and played the ball straight back to James Trafford whose first touch saw the ball run away from him. His next rebounded off a Luton player and the ball really could have gone anywhere. In the end it wasn’t close but in the net and we’d have been behind in around six seconds.
It took us a few minutes to find our feet and there was one other concerning moment when they got a cross in from the right. Then, we did find our feet and for much of the first half we were very much the better of the two teams.
We got to forty-five minutes with the score at 0-0. That was frustrating; we’d been the better side and I felt we were deserving of a lead. Then, Luton goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski, who I can confirm wasn’t pushed into the back of the net all game, kicked long and straight to Trafford. He rolled the ball out to Ameen Al-Dakhil who pushed it forward for Josh Cullen who turn found Berge. The ball was played right down the middle of the pitch and Berge didn’t change that when he tried to play in Foster. The ball looked to take a little deflection off Luton captain Tom Lockyer but it didn’t make it more difficult for Foster who moved forward, got just inside the penalty box before stroking the ball home into the bottom corner.
That looked better – a lead to take into the interval, but we probably knew what was to come in the second half. We saw it last season and nothing had changed as Luton pushed forward and took every opportunity to launch balls into our box.
We had our moments, none more so than a couple of occasions when Luca Koleosho got free down the right and once when Brownhill won a corner after firing in a shot from an almost impossible angle. But, overall, we had a lot of defending to do and it felt as if they were getting a corner every couple of minutes.
We brought on Jacob Bruun Larsen and Aaron Ramsey. Then Jay Rodriguez came on and I thought we stemmed the tide. My optimism was short lived and in the 84th minute they drew level with their three substitutes combining. Tahith Chong crossed the ball from the right to the far post where Reece Burke headed it down to Elijah Adebayo. He had his back to goal but swivelled to poke the ball through Al-Dakhil’s legs and into the net.
Now I know my football so when I make a bold statement I think people should listen. “There’s only one winner now,” I dared to suggest and that most definitely wasn’t us. The Luton goal had flattened me and I suspect everyone else there of a Burnley persuasion. It hadn’t flattened their manager who was up and down the touchline dancing in celebration.
But wait, we restarted, got the ball to Roberts, now free from being strangled. He got it forward for Bruun Larsen on the right win and the Dane went all Bensonesque coming inside the defender before unleashing a left foot shot into the far corner that Kaminski could do no more than admire.
Anyway, the nerves were soon back. We’d gone back to holding a lead, and this time we did it successfully through to then end plus the eight extra minutes that were eventually played.
It really had been an exhausting battle during that second half at times but we’d come through the onslaught and overall, given the way we’d played in the first half, I thought it was a win we deserved.
It all made for a good journey home and again it was trouble free and I was home earlier than I expected to be. You can’t beat an away win and to clinch it in such a dramatic way always seems to make it feel even better.
The teams were;
Luton: Thomas Kaminski, Teden Mengi, Tom Lockyer, Amari’I Bell (Reece Burke 21), Issa Kaboré (Elijah Adebayo 62), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Marvelous Nakamba, Alfie Doughty, Jacob Brown (Tahith Chong 69), Chiedozie Ogbene, Carlton Morris. Subs not used: Tim Krul, Mads Anderson, Luke Berry, Cauley Woodrow, Ryan Giles, Joseph Johnson.
Yellow Cards: Jacob Brown, Reece Burke, Tahith Chong, Marvelous Nakamba.
Burnley: James Trafford, Connor Roberts, Ameen Al-Dakhil, Jordan Beyer, Charlie Taylor, Sander Berge, Josh Cullen, Josh Brownhill, Luca Koleosho (Jacob Bruun Larsen 74), Lyle Foster (Jay Rodriguez 80), Zeki Amdouni (Aaron Ramsey 74, Hannes Delcroix 90+3). Subs not used: Arijanet Muric, Vitinho, Jack Cork, Mike Trésor, Wilson Odobert.
Yellow Cards: Connor Roberts, Charlie Taylor.
Referee: Peter Bankes (Liverpool).
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