|Burnley were my first football love. They won the old first division and charity shield in 1960 and 2 years later were 2nd behind Alf Ramsey’s Ipswich and lost to bloody Spurs in the FA Cup final.
My first visit to The Dell was to watch Burnley. Saints won 4-1 with a hat-trick from Big Ron. I went again to see Charlie Cooke, Ossie, etc. for Chelsea who won 5-2 away. I didn’t go again till I was 21 and Drew was studying in Southampton. It was 1973 and Lawrie Mac had just been installed as manager. By the end of the season both Drew and I were confirmed Scummers.
Always had a soft spot for the Clarets. They come from a Lancashire mill town with a population about half that of the IOW. It is fascinating that they have often been able to compete with the giants of the English game and Sean Dyche has carried on this noble tradition.
Today they will be missing several first teamers and Jay Rod is now also a doubt. Tarkowski may return for our visit. Burnley have only played one league game this term, a 4-2 defeat at Leicester. McNeil and Wood remain considerable threats.
Ralph only has Redmond missing tonight. We could see the same starting XI as were embarrassed by Spurs last weekend. Burnley lack the individual brilliance of the Spurs squad but we will still need to improve markedly on that performance if we are to bring anything away from Turf Moor.
Andre Marriner is today‘s referee with Mike Dean doing the VAR thing. Personally I’d prefer Michael Oliver but he is only the 4th Official.
Danny Ings scored the games only goal in the 5th minute
IBO Reporter : Spot51
|Burnley were still without Tarkowski and Mee at the back. Dale Stephens (ex-Brighton) made his debut in midfield and Vydra was brought in for the injured Jay Rod. Saints were unchanged apart from Vestergaard replacing Jack Stephens at the back.
This was Sean Dyche’s 400th game as a manager – an impressive 351 of which were at Burnley. The studio pundits were Rednapp Jnr and Gareth Barry who holds the record for the most EPL yellow cards: a record which Romeu will soon take from him. Shivering on the gantry were Bill Leslie and Lee Hendrie.
Saints kicked off in their white 3rd kit, starting rock bottom of the table following the earlier results. Early play was scruffy with both sides squandering possession but suddenly, on 5m, KWP slid a lovely ball into Burnley’s box for Adams to chase. He cut the ball back into the path of Ings and the former Burnley striker lofted the ball past Pope. 0-1!
Saints next attack won a corner on the right. Bertie was swinging these in with his left foot and his first reached Bednarek but the Pole put his header past the back post. Burnley’s first attack saw Bednarek again involved, heading behind. Westwood took the corner but Armstrong cut it out to concede another. The second was cleared but Burnley lumped the ball back giving Saints a goal kick.
Saints began to dominate without creating any clear chances. Djnepo played the ball to Bertie whose ball reached Adams whose rushed shot soared over the top. Burnley’s next attack saw Brownhill’s shot deflected for a corner. McNeil swung this in from the right but Vestergaard headed it behind. Westwood took this and the big Dane headed this away.
On 22m JWP was penalised for a high boot on Taylor. Brownhill’s shot cannoned off the Saints wall but Burnley continued to attack until Wood fouled Romeu and we got the free kick. On 27m Pope cleared a ball from Djnepo and Wood chased it into our box. Bednarek was running with him and Wood went over. The referee stopped play – had he given them a penalty? In fact, he’d penalised Wood for handling the ball and gave us the free kick.
Just before 30m Bardsley was caught by Djnepo’s arm and needed treatment. He was able to carry on but the game was becoming untidy with neither side able to hold onto the ball. Armstrong was booked for fouling Taylor allowing Westwood to put another free kick into our box. It curled behind McC’s back post. I was writing the word “scruffy” in my notes just as McNeil attempted to control a dropping ball but only succeeded in slicing it into touch.
On 37m Armstrong won a corner but, as Bertie’s cross sailed over, someone fouled Westwood and Mr Marriner blew up. Burnley’s next attack saw Taylor’s cross met and cleared by Bednarek. Then, on 40m, Ings forward pass was too far ahead of Adams and Pope collected it. A minute later Bertie tried to find Ings but the ball broke for Armstrong who stuck it wide.
With half-time approaching Djnepo took a shot which deflected off a defender, but Pope dived to his right, preventing a corner. Play stopped while Brownhill was treated after a clash with Romeu. The added minute came and went. Half Time and Saints were still ahead.
The second half began with Woods going close. A long ball dropped into Saints box and Wood got on the end of it. His header back across the goal was grabbed, and held onto, by McC. Burnley continued to press forward but the pressure was released by Bardsley fouling Djnepo. The Malian was able to continue. On 50m Saints played a pass forward for Ings but Long intercepted it.
My heart was in my mouth on 53m when McC executed a Cruyff turn while being closed down but the keeper was successful and cleared the ball. Then another forward pass for Ings was collected by Pope who’d sprinted off his line.
Moments later Wood had the ball in the net but the Lino had his flag up for offside: somewhat too early given current interpretations of the law but replays showed it was a fair decision. Vydra was down at the time too, which only increased the bitching by Dyche in his technical area.
On 59m, Burnley gave McC his hardest test. Bardsley switched play to the left and McNeil’s low drive into the area bounced away. The ball fell to Taylor on the edge of our box who let fly with a rasping effort that our keeper did well to turn round the post. Saints were able to clear the resulting corner.
On 68m Djnepo fouled Bardsley and Burnley again sent a free kick into our box. Our defence were looking unusually resolute as it was a Saints head to the bell first – again. On 70m Vydra saw McC off his line and tried to chip him – unsuccessfully – the ball sailing into touch.
On 72m a Saints move broke down when Djnepo’s over-ambitious back heel found Bardsley, not Adams. At the other end, Vydra gave Taylor the chance to cross but McC was able to claim it. I was enjoying Romeu’s performance – his tackles were much improved and his passing neat and accurate. When you see him like this, you can believe he was schooled at the Nou Camp. Bertie was also having a good game, paying a bit more attention to defending duties than he had against Spurs.
Djnepo however was having his worst game. Never seen him so unwilling to pass forward or take his man on. It was a relief to see him replaced on 77m by Nathan Tella when O’Bafemi also came on for Adams.
Tella made a forward run (Praise Be) on 80m but he was pursued and run out of play by the pacey McNeil. After an extended period of head tennis Burnley won another corner. The advantage was lost when Bednarek was fouled as the cross came in.
With time running out, McC rose to claim a McNeil cross and Armstrong saw his cross blocked. In the 3 added minutes, Ings had the ball in the net but was well offside. Lee Hendrie nominated Ings as his MoM. There was still time for Dale Stephens to have a shot deflected for one final corner. Up came Pope and there seemed to be 21 players in our box. But Saints held out and when the final whistle sounded Ralph went nuts on the side-lines.
Our last top-flight win at Turf Moor was in 1971 when Mick Channon got the winner. Saints moved up to 15th, just behind and level on points with the 2 Manchester clubs. If that is where we finish (company not position) I’ll have that!
Man of the Match
Our full backs looked decent today but Vestergaard was probably the pick of our defenders. Ings and Adams did enough up front but both wide players were strangely subdued. Armstrong was just poor but Djnepo was bloody awful. I didn’t see him go past a single defender or make a forward pass all evening. In the middle JWP was OK but alongside him Oriol Romeu put in the best performance I’ve seen from him in years. More of that please Alfa – my Man of the Match.