It’s six games unbeaten now for the Clarets after yesterday’s 0-0 draw at Newcastle and a point that, for now, has taken us up one place in the table to ninth and just two points short of that magical forty.
Last week it was a case of wondering where to start with the Bournemouth report. There was so much incident with goals, controversy, misbehaviour in the visiting technical area and, ultimately and most importantly, a big 3-0 win.
Yesterday it wasn’t quite like that. It was, to a large extent, very much like last season’s encounter there although this time we didn’t have Fabian Schär on the pitch to score a stunning goal to set up a home victory.
What we did get was a game of few chances, an outstanding defensive performance from us against a Newcastle side who were probably the weakest of the six we have played in this run which kicked off with the 2-1 home win against Leicester.
It seems, just now, that the weather has to be considered with every report. Two weeks ago at Southampton we had to contend with Storm Dennis which brought gale force winds along with torrential rain. Yesterday it was Storm Jorge and, given we were travelling via the A59, there were always concerns. It wasn’t too bad on the journey north and we were parked up just before noon close to the River Tyne.
It left us with just a short walk up the hill to St. James’ Park ahead of kick off with a stop off behind the Gallowgate End to make our contribution to the NUFC Fans Foodbank. They are now in their third season and doing a magnificent job in supporting one of the busiest foodbanks in the country.
All that was left was the walk round to the Leazers End and that long climb up the stairs to reach the seventh level, usually referred to as being up in the Gods. It’s something I’ve not done; I have to admit to finding the lift a much more pleasurable experience.
There were no such stands there on the last occasion we won in Newcastle. That was in 1976 when a Peter Noble goal gave us a 1-0 victory. It was good to see a member of that team Derek Scott in the away end yesterday. He made over 350 appearances for the Clarets and hails from just across the water in Gateshead. His accent may well have mellowed over the years living in Lancashire but I’m sure he’d still have been able to act as a translator for those Clarets who struggle with the Geordie accent and dialect.
That 1976 win was our last in the top flight for over 33 years. Could we finally get another win at the most northerly ground in the league?
It was just a few days over a year since that last visit and this one, like that, was hardly a classic with little goalmouth action to report. Neither side looked able to get a stranglehold in the game in the first half with chances very much at a premium. Nick Pope made a couple of routine saves at one end while Martin Dúbravka was rather less employed down below us although we did, as we always do, cause them some problems from set pieces.
We’d had one little spell midway through the half when we passed the ball around and left Newcastle somewhat bamboozled but we couldn’t create anything from it in terms of chances.
Newcastle it was who came the closest with a deflected effort that clipped the outside of the post but generally I don’t think either side could have any complaints at going in for the half time break without a goal.
If anything, the second half got off to an even quieter start but that changed, albeit briefly, when Wood was introduced. It led to potentially our best period of the game and it was when we surely should have gone in front although it would have needed the intervention of the dreaded VAR.
Quite why, only he will know, but the assistant’s flag went up for offside. Jay. by then, was way beyond him and couldn’t possibly have seen him. He continued, got just inside the box and then blazed his effort way off target. Had it gone in, as it should have done, then any offside decision would have had to be have been overturned and that would have given us a 1-0 lead.
After that, it was more Newcastle going forward and more us having to defend but we did so really well and, other than a couple of potential opportunities, we all but kept Newcastle out with some ease.
The first of those saw Charlie Taylor get back superbly to deny Miguel Almirόn and then, in stoppage time, James Tarkowski blocked a shot from Matt Ritchie who had taken too long to get that shot in.
A couple of corners apart, our attacking threat had all but gone by then and it was just a matter of keeping them out. We did just that, kept an 11th clean sheet of the season, and extended the unbeaten run to six games.
It was an eleventh clean sheet of the season for us and that’s just one behind our seasonal best in the Premier League which came two seasons ago. League leaders Liverpool are the only team ahead of us in the clean sheet list this season; they are one ahead.
So, clean sheet and point collected, it was down the stairs and out into the cold of Newcastle to get back to the car and start the journey home, a journey that included a blizzard at Blubberhouses and then considerable snow on the road between Gisburn and Blacko with the driver in front of us making it worse by considering a speed of less than 20 mph to be appropriate.
But, home eventually, and pleased. We had a good journey overall, a superb pub stop in Newcastle, met the lads and lasses collecting for the foodbank and then saw us get a point. I just suspect we might have to play a bit better than that to get something from our next away match which brings with it the shortest trip of the season.
The teams were;
Newcastle: Martin Dúbravka, Javier Manquillo, Federico Fernández, Jamaal Lascelles, Danny Rose, Matt Ritchie, Isaac Hayden, Jonjo Shelvey, Joelinton (Allan Saint-Maximin 78), Miguel Almirόn, Dwight Gayle. Subs not used: Karl Darlow, DeAndre Yedlin, Fabian Schär, Florian Lejeune, Nabil Bentaleb, Sean Longstaff.
Yellow Cards: Danny Rose, Dwight Gayle, Jonjo Shelvey, Javier Manquillo.
Burnley: Nick Pope, Phil Bardsley, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil, Jay Rodriguez, Matěj Vydra (Chris Wood 58). Subs not used: Joe Hart, Kevin Long, Erik Pieters, Josh Brownhill, Aaron Lennon, Robbie Brady.
Yellow Cards: Phil Bardsley, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee.
Referee: Andy Madley (Ossett).
Click HERE to vote for your man of the match.
Click HERE to post your player ratings.Share this page :