Only one point after Stoke score late
It’s happened again. For the third time in five games, we’ve led 1-0 and then conceded a goal close to the end and drawn the game 1-1.
It happened at West Brom and at Cardiff and now it’s happened at home with Stoke, who were as poor a side as we’ve played since Huddersfield, equalising in the 87th minute of a game that, by then, should have seen them beaten.
I could have almost repeated the Cardiff report for this game – a nondescript first half, a better start after the break with us going in front and then the ending that really shouldn’t have happened.
Back at home for most of us, you would have thought that at least there would have been no travel problems. Not so, temporary traffic lights and roadworks were causing long delays for many trying to get to the Turf, but thankfully we all got through well in time for the game which had seen Vincent Kompany make three changes from the team that drew at Cardiff. Out went Charlie Taylor, Ian Maatsen and Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson with Jordan Beyer, Vitinho and Manuel Benson coming in. The three players left out took the three vacant places on the bench which meant no place again for Halil Dervişoğlu to add to the absent Scott Twine and Darko Churlinov.
It wasn’t the best of starts. Stoke did have an early half chance but for much of the first twenty minutes or so there was little to enthuse about with neither side looking likely other than one opportunity when Nathan Tella got clear while having his shirt tugged. Did referee David Webb see it or did he play an advantage? Jay Rodriguez nearly changed that with a sensational shot from fully 35-yards that hit the bar. In a non-event of a first half, generally, we did come close again right on half time. Josh Cullen’s shot from distance was heading for the top corner only for goalkeeper Joseph Bursik to tip it over the bar.
We’d been the better of the two sides in the first half, had much of the possession, but Stoke, like a number of other teams, had restricted us to very few goalscoring opportunities and we went in with the score still 0-0.
The second half started much brighter with both of us having half chances. The closest we came was a double effort from Taylor Harwood-Bellis but eventually we did break the deadlock. It started on the left but we got the ball across to the right with Connor Roberts. He played the ball to Josh Brownhill, got onto the return pass to fire his shot bast Bursik on his near post.
Although we had our moments, we couldn’t ever really create that clear cut opening that would give us a second. Stoke hardly looked a threat but they did threaten on a couple of occasions when we slipped up defensively.
Then, and we have become so used to it, we conceded, this time in the 87th minute. What a soft goal it was too. They got past Brownhill down the left and then two passes saw the ball moved to the right and to Tarique Fosu-Henry. From inside the box, he knocked the ball up for Harry Clarke to head home with so much ease it was frightening. Once again we had thrown away a lead.
We got to ninety minutes still at 1-1 and then saw the board go up for a further six. Referees have been told to clamp down on time wasting; I think most of the time wasting in this second half came from the appalling referee David Webb. Apart from having a shocker, I’ve never seen a referee take so much time with everything.
The draw leaves us fifth in the table but we’ve now dropped ten points from winning positions and from only twelve games. That’s a worry, that we’ve drawn five games having been in front. Right now, we don’t look like a side that is going to score many goals. We are going to have to get much tighter at the back. We simply can’t keep conceding goals and dropping points in games that we should be winning.
The tough fixtures are still to come. We haven’t played a team currently in the top eight of the table. Luton are the highest placed team we have played. It’s a very congested league just now. We are still just five points from the top two but we are also just six points ahead of this really poor Stoke side who are currently 20th.
The teams were;
Burnley: Arijanet Muric, Connor Roberts, Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Jordan Beyer, Vitinho, Jack Cork (Anass Zaroury 89), Manuel Benson (Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson 72), Josh Brownhill, Nathan Tella, Jay Rodriguez. Subs not used: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Charlie Taylor, Ian Maatsen, Samuel Bastien, Ashley Barnes.
Yellow Cards: Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Vitinho.
Stoke: Joseph Bursik, Ben Wilmot, Phil Jagielka, Morgan Fox, Tarique Fosu-Henry, Will Smallbone, Lewis Baker, Dujon Sterling, Dwight Gayle (Harry Clarke 72), Liam Delap, Tyrese Campbell (D’Margio Wright-Phillips 90+5). Subs not used: Jack Bonham, Aden Flint, Connor Taylor, Tom Sparrow, Ben Kershaw.
Yellow Cards: Ben Wilmot, Liam Delap.
Referee: David Webb (Lancashire).
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