Vardy and VAR deny the Clarets
Despite leading twice, and despite thinking we’d scored in the final minute of stoppage time, we had to settle for a point in a 2-2 draw yesterday against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.
Jamie Vardy twice equalised for Leicester, this completing a hat trick of sorts having also scored our first goal with Maxwel Cornet, winning his first Premier League start, the other player on the scoresheet, before our celebrations were cut short right at the end when a goal previously awarded was ruled out for offside.
I’m mixing up the away trips this season. It was bus and train to Liverpool, car to Everton and yesterday a combination with a rail journey to the delights of Halifax, where for seven long years we played league games, before being met by our driver for the journey to Leicester.
Our destination, as in previous seasons, was to the same hostelry some two miles from the ground. The last visit was in October 2019 when, I have to say, the walk from pub to ground and back seemed a lot easier than it was yesterday. Maybe it’s me getting older, or out of practice in terms of away games, or simply the high temperatures yesterday.
Much has been said in recent weeks about delays in getting into grounds, notably at Liverpool but also elsewhere with clear problems too at Burnley. Yesterday, with paper tickets, it was once again plain sailing.
The Burnley fans were in good voice. “Four more years, four more years anti-football” replacing the previous “23-23 undefeated” and what has become an annual reminder to the happy clapping, drum banging Leicester fans that we have twice been crowned champions of England.
There’s no doubt that Vardy played a starring role in the first half, missing a chance and then scoring at both ends. He should probably have scored with a header in the early stages of the first half but on twelve minutes did beat the goalkeeper with a good header to give us the lead.
With a reminder from the travelling Clarets that is wife is a bit of a grass, he did look a threat. We did have some defending to do and there were a couple of blocks from the hugely impressive Matt Lowton that almost defied logic.
This was no one sided game, believe me. Overall, I thought we were the better side in the first half and if we are talking of hugely impressive performances then there must be mention of Vydra who gave Leicester a torrid time. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him play better for us.
Everything seemed to be going well until Vardy did what Vardy does and equalised when he got through on the right hand side. I’m not so sure his celebration in front of the Burnley fans was at all necessary though.
Vydra has scored at Southampton in each of the last two seasons with Jannik Vestergaard in the Southampton team. Playing against us for the first time for Leicester, the Danish defender wasn’t able to deal with Vydra and what a part he played in the goal.
He received the ball on the right hand side, inside the Leicester box. He held off Vestergaard before turning and playing the ball across to the waiting Cornet who magnificently fired home a right footed volley.
Cornet might have had a second a minute later but this time fluffed his lines with his left foot but his day was almost over. Going into stoppage time a burst of speed got him to the ball but he pulled up clearly with a hamstring problem as he let the ball go out of play.
That was until Schmeichel decided he was going to referee the situation. He came at least fifty yards from his goal and seemed to have an issue with everyone. He had words with the referee, with Cornet and wasn’t ready to be calmed down by Ben Mee. He got his way though, he got Cornet yellow carded, something that would not have happened but for the Leicester goalkeeper getting involved.
Guðmundsson was straight on to finish the half as Cornet, already a Burnley hero, made his way around the touchline to some considerable abuse from the home fans.
The second half was quieter and yes, we did have some defending to do although we continued to look a threat and I always felt we were as likely to increase our lead as Leicester were to level.
There was no question of offside; Charlie Taylor on the other side had played him on, but Sean Dyche was unhappy, believing Guðmundsson had been fouled. Fouled? He’d been wrestled to the ground right in front of the most inept of assistant referees you are ever likely to see.
At this point I was concerned. With five minutes to go plus the inevitable added four, could we hang on for a point? We did that comfortably enough and almost went one better when Chris Wood headed home against his former club in the final minute of stoppage time.
The Burnley fans went ballistic, yet I stood almost motionless, concerned that VAR might find a reason to deny us, and they did. It’s close, but there’s no argument with Wood ever so fractionally offside.
But we are playing so much better than the results would suggest. We need to keep that going and start getting some wins. And let’s hope, on yesterday’s form, that the injuries to Cornet and Vydra won’t keep them out for too long.
The teams were;
Leicester: Kasper Schmeichel, Ricardo Pereira (Timothy Castagne ht), Çaglar Söyüncü, Jannik Vestergaard, Ryan Bertrand, Youri Tielemans, Wilfred Ndidi, Boubakary Soumaré (Kelechi Iheanacho 62), Ademola Lookman (James Maddison 78), Jamie Vardy, Harvey Barnes. Subs not used: Danny Ward, Jonny Evans, Marc Albrighton, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Ayoze Pérez, Patson Daka.
Yellow Cards: Jannik Vestergaard, Harvey Barnes.
Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Dwight McNeil (Aaron Lennon 87), Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Maxwel Cornet (Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson 45+2), Matěj Vydra (Ashley Barnes 75), Chris Wood.
Yellow Cards: Maxwel Cornet, Ashley Westwood, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, James Tarkowski.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Manchester).