Burnley v Southampton
2nd February 2019
Nathan Redmond scored a sublime goal
IBO Reporter : channonite
I am still not sure what I think about this game. Leading up to it, I would have been happy with a point, but immediately afterwards, it felt like a loss we were so close to all three points. As it turns out, Cardiff won later to reduce the points gap between Saints to two. Making the match at St.Mary's on Saturday even more important that we win.
There were some changes in the team from Wednesday. The obvious one being Højbjerg who had concussion and played no part in proceedings, his place going to Armstrong. Also out was Valery, who was rested on the bench. Ward-Prowse dropped to the right wing-back role and filling his place in midfield was 19 year old Callum Slattery, making his first starting appearance in the first team, having been on the bench for recent games.
In the early exchanges there was not much in the way of cohesive football, but Saints fashioned the first real chance, when Targett sent a wonderful pass through the middle, which found Danny Ings, but he could only shoot straight at the goalkeeper, Heaton, who could only push it out to a defender on the edge of the box. Steaming in came Slattery and clattered the defender. Amazingly the referee, Anthony Taylor, let the tackle go.
Before the half hour was up, Ings went down with nobody anywhere near him and after after a brief look from the Saints staff, was replaced by Shane Long. From the way Ings limped off, it looked suspiciously like his hamstring had gone again. Not good news, if so.
Then came one of the most contentious incidents in the entire match. Bardsley sent a long pass over the whole of the midfield, finding Barnes almost on the edge of the penalty area and McCarthy came racing out to meet the danger, missed the ball and brought Barnes crashing down inside the area. It looked a clear penalty. The referee gave a free kick to Saints, whereupon Barnes went mad, running over to the linesman and screaming in his face. The referee, unimpressed, simply showed Barnes a yellow card. Saints dodged one there.
So, half-time and still 0-0. All to play for then.
Shortly after the start of the second half, Saints won a corner on the right, which Targett sent arrowing into the penalty area. In the mêlée, a Burnley head made contact with the ball and Heaton was beaten, but luckily for him Bardsley was standing on the line and kicked it away. Close, nearly a great own goal.
The very next attack also nearly produced a breakthrough, with Slattery finding Targett on the wing and he sent a lovely cross right onto the head of Ward-Prowse, whose header towards the bottom corner of the Burnley net was palmed away by Heaton.
But Saints were not to be denied and on 55' a wonderful through ball from Bednarek found Redmond, who ran straight at the goal, evading a solitary tackle from ex-Saint, Jack Cork, before unleashing a shot which nestled into the bottom left corner of Heaton's goal. 0-1 and richly deserved.
Burnley then had two chances in a short space of time, with McCarthy pulling off two good saves. Instrumental in their second chance was someone we know of old - Peter Crouch -, who Burnley had only signed from Stoke earlier in the week. Coming on just before the 80th minute, he is a wiley old campaigner and was making his not inconsiderable presence felt in Saints penalty area.
From virtually their next attack, Barnes beat McCarthy all ends up, but could only look on anguished as his shot hit the cross bar and bounced harmlessly away.
Increasingly this was beginning to feel like The Alamo, with Saints throwing bodies on the line. Armstrong had been replaced by Valery and just before the end of normal time, Austin replaced Redmond. Neither of these changes had any effect on stemming the flow of attacks on the Saints goal.
We reached the end of normal time with the score still 0-1 in Saints favour, but the impetus was very much with the home side. Almost, almost.
In the fourth minute of time added on, Westwood floated a teasing cross in the general direction of Crouch, who was standing behind Stephens in the penalty area. As they both went to jump, Stephens right arm was raised and almost inevitably the ball hit it. If you look at the photo at the bottom, you can see that Crouch has cunningly got a fistful of Stephens shirt and shorts, not an excuse for the Saints defender, but a very painful lesson. Mr Taylor immediately signalled hand ball and awarded the penalty. Barnes stepped up to take it and sent the ball past the static McCarthy. 1-1 with the the last kick of the game.
So close to all three points. If you had asked me before the match, then I would have happily taken a point from this game, but this felt like a loss. Stephens looked distraught as he slowly walked from the pitch. He had been outmanoeuvred by the old campaigner, Peter Crouch.
Man of the Match
For me, it goes to the resurgent scorer of Saints goal, Nathan Redmond. Too often in recent seasons, he has looked good in his approach work, but then seemed to run out of ideas the nearer he got to the opposition goal. He has put that right this season, which is very good to see.
Stephens handball in the penalty area gave Burnley a penalty in the 94th minute, which Barnes converted to equalise at the death
26 Bardsley - Booked 35'
6 Mee - Booked 84'
13 Hendrick (Berg Gudmundsson 58')
31 McNeil (Brady 81')
10 Barnes - Booked 33'
11 Wood (Crouch 76')
17 Armstrong (Valery 77')
33 Targett - Booked 89'
22 Redmond (Austin 87')
9 Ings (Long 27')
7 Berg Gudmundsson
Saturday 2nd February
- Barnes 90'+4 (pen)
- Redmond 55'
Referee: Anthony Taylor
- Burnley 54%
- Southampton 46%
- Burnley 15
- Southampton 10
Shots on Target
- Burnley 6
- Southampton 4
- Burnley 4
- Southampton 2
- Burnley 10
- Southampton 9