Fantastic Point for Burnley in the Etihad!
The Etihad Stadium
Sunday 28th December 2014 @3pm Kick-Off
The Clarets pulled off something of a miracle to come from 2-0 down away to high-flying Manchester City to earn a point in a 2-2 draw but we can all be proud the way Burnley played. Let`s not underestimate this achievement; the hosts were rocking after 33 minutes thanks to goals from Silva and Fernandinho. It already looked like game over with Burnley`s task now to keep the final score line respectable! Who could have predicted what would happen next? In the second-half the visitors silenced the host fans (actually they were not making much noise anyway in this totally sterile, atmosphere less stadium!) when George Boyd got a goal back in somewhat controversial circumstances. Clarets fans will probably have to admit it was offside but what the hell it`s about time we had some luck after Spurs and Liverpool! The goal in the 47th minute sent Clarets fans wild and they were reassuring everybody at the top of their voice in song that we were now going 'To Win 3-2!`! Who would have thought that tongue-in-cheek prediction almost came true? Ashley Barnes scored a sensational goal with nine minutes to play to equalise and City had no answer! Burnley could easily have got the winner they were playing that well and even five minutes of added time was not enough for last year`s top flight Champions to regain the lead.
You could argue Manchester City got complacent and you could argue they were missing their star players including the injured hot-shot multi-million pound striker, Sergio Aguero, influential captain, Vincent Kompany as well as vice-captain, Yaya Toure who sustained a groin problem in the Boxing Day win over West Bromwich Albion but let`s be clear about this! City have what a squad worth over £100 million quid? Burnley have spent just £45 million in the WHOLE of their history since 1882 for gawds sake! Any point against such a team as Manchester City is a massive, massive achievement especially on their own ground and you can make as many excuses as you want for City this was Burnley`s day and they thoroughly deserved their point! The Clarets become only the third club this season to come away from the Etihad with at least a point joining league leaders Chelsea (1-1) and Stoke City (0-1) and are actually the ONLY club in the top flight to have scored more than one goal against them at the Etihad
Sean Dyche has taken 'punching above your weight` to a new level and we are so damn lucky to have him! Manchester City thought they were going to breeze their way to their tenth consecutive win and who could have argued that with second-from-top playing second-from-bottom and the hosts leading 2-0? They also knew that if they did win they would move to within one point of league leaders Chelsea. The Blues had earlier only managed a 1-1 draw at Southampton in the early kick off game. The web is now full of Chelsea fans adopting Burnley as their second team of choice which is likely to continue until we get a point at Stamford Bridge in February! (ha ha ha!). What a splendid day out. This is what football is all about. Just a pity we have to put in such a performance in virtually every game in this unforgiving league! Oh well at least the festive season has finally produced some fruit for Clarets fans. The draw was not enough to take us up the league and we remain second from bottom with 16 points from 19 games. Of all the bottom eight clubs fighting to stay up though only bottom club Leicester produced a win and even that 1-0 away victory was against relegation-threatened Hull City who remain on sixteen points, fourth from bottom ahead of Burnley on goal difference. Leicester, despite their win remain bottom but are now only three points behind the Clarets. Crystal Palace also could only manage a 0-0 draw at home to QPR so that leaves them third from bottom again ahead of Burnley only on goal difference. QPR are in 15th spot, two points ahead of the Clarets whilst West Brom are a point and one place behind the Rs on 17 points
Well that brings 2014 to an end for Burnley FC and the Clarets could not have ended the year in better style. So, so proud! Our next game is at St James Park when we face Newcastle United on New Year`s Day. Not an easy game at all but in comparison to Manchester City it should be an easier task! We could continue the momentum if we play with the same heart and desire.
Sean Dyche opted for the same starting eleven for the fifth consecutive game and perhaps the only surprise was that Sam Vokes this time didn`t even make the bench after his return to the eighteen against Liverpool on Boxing Day and playing the least ten minutes of the game. The official line is that he was rested following the adrenaline rush of his return two days before! Chalobah also replaced Reid on the bench. We lined-up then as follows:
Heaton, Trippier, Shackell, Keane, Mee, Arfield, Jones, Marney, Boyd, Barnes, Ings
Subs: Gilks, Long, Kightly, Chalobah, Wallace, Jutkiewicz, Sordell
Full Match Report
The Clarets knew what they had to achieve in this game and that was to somehow prevent rampant City getting their tenth consecutive win for the first time in their history. Nobody gave the visitors much of a chance of doing that but Burnley fans were at least hoping we would give it a good go and keep the score respectable. Little did we know what was about to happen! Leicestershire referee, Kevin Friend got the game underway and the hosts were soon giving Burnley fans even squeakier bums! A corner from Silva found Martin Demichelis but thankfully Shackell got in the way of his shot which had been heading towards the net. Manchester City`s pace looked to have paid off in the 14th minute when Navas got in behind Ben Mee to latch onto the ball and put over a low cross to the near post. James Milner, charging in though could only fire over with a half-volley. Burnley`s first real chance came just past the quarter of an hour mark after some nice approach work by the Clarets. Barnes was just inches away from making contact with his boot following a superb, trademark cross from former City defender, Kieran Tripper. In a good spell for the visitors, Ings and Boyd then combined well on the edge of the box to get the ball to Marney who unleashed a shot that stung the gloves of England keeper, Joe Hart. It wasn`t to be though and we paid the price in the 23rd minute when the hosts got their noses in front against the run of play. Navas on the by-line cut the ball back to Silva who spun round before hitting the ball into the back of the net from 12 yards out although it did take a deflection off Shackells legs on the way in. Burnley knew they had it all to do just ten minutes later when City doubled their lead. Fernandinho on the edge of the 'D` pulled off an impressive shot that sailed into the top corner of the net off the underside of the crossbar to make it 2-0 to the hosts. Clarets fans had only one thought at this stage, how could we now stop an avalanche of goals against us with City in such apparent rampant form. The final minutes of the first half saw City in determined mood to increase their lead further and the Clarets had no answer being pinned back in their own half. Heaton denied Navas as the break approached and it looked like a normal day at the office for the hosts as they marched into the dressing room 2-0 up at half-time and seemingly in control.
Neither manager made any changes for the start of the second-half but within two minutes the whole ground was in shock when Burnley managed to pull a goal back. The in-form impressive Ashley Barnes after chesting the ball down found Ings and he unleashed an angled shot that flew underneath Joe Hart helped on the way in by George Boyd. Replays confirm Boyd was actually offside but the goal stood giving Burnley some luck for once! The goal though galvanized the Clarets and gave them some belief whilst conversely City seemed to take their foot off the accelerator and allow the visitors some possession. If Ings had managed to control the ball better in the 53rd minute we could have been level. He was clear on goal after latching onto a Barnes pass but his control let him down. City though were always going to be a threat and Heaton kept the Clarets in the game when at full stretch he dived to deny Nasri what would have been surely a killer goal. This was some game now with 'ickle owd Burnley holding their own and creating their own chances against the might of City and their millions. The visitors were showing great strength, belief and character now and it seemed to silence an already subdued home following who were clearly getting more and more frustrated. On the hour mark, Trippier swung over a deep free kick towards the far post but Shackell`s header flew just over the bar. A few seconds later the Clarets created another chance when Barnes holding the ball up well managed to set up Ings. His curling shot gave Hart some concerns but it was just wide of target. Burnley fans were now pinching themselves. Could this really be happening, Burnley taking the game to City and only one goal behind? City though at long last responded and looked more composed midway through the second half. Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini was clearly a worried man though and in the 75th minute brought on talisman Frank Lampard to make his 600th league appearance. Lampard had not even managed to touch the ball though before Burnley pulled off a stunning equaliser to send the visiting fans delirious with joy. The Clarets had been awarded a free kick in the 81st minute after Zabaleta was booked for a foul on the half way line on Shackell. The free-kick was deep and in a crowded penalty area the ball bounced off Keane into the path of Barnes and the former Brighton striker made no mistake unleashing a stunning shot that flew into the top corner of the net. The incredible thing now was that Burnley thought they could now go on and even win the game. They certainly had a go but in the end and with the clock ticking down, the Clarets cleverly held onto the ball and aimed for the corner flag time and time again trying to run down the five minutes of added time and continue to frustrate the home team. Burnley were content to now hold on for one amazing point and that they did. Yes indeed football is a 'funny old game` and in the one match over the festive period that most fans had written off we actually picked up our first point of what looked initially like a miserable Christmas following the narrow defeats against Spurs and Liverpool. What a way for the Clarets to bring 2014 to a close! Sean Dyche is weaving his magic and this team barring injuries and suspensions could have enough in their locker to survive the drop if they continue to play like this and adopt this 'never say die` attitude.
Manchester City: Hart, Demichelis, Kolarov, Mangala, Zabaleta, Milner (Jovetic 62), Silva, Fernandinho (Sinclair 88), Fernando, Navas, Nasri (Lampard 75)
Subs Not Used: Caballero, Sagna, Clichy, Boyata
Goals: Silva 23, Fernandinho 33
Booked: Yellow Cards for Fernando (42), Navas (79), Zabaleta (81) and Silva (89)
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Shackell, Keane, Mee, Arfield, Jones, Marney, Boyd, Barnes, Ings
Subs Not Used: Gilks, Long, Kightly, Chalobah, Wallace, Jutkiewicz, Sordell,
Goals: Boyd 47, Barnes 81
Booked: Yellow Card for Mee (71)
Possession: 62% Manchester City, 38 Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)
'I believe in the physicality of my players. Last season we would have played seven more games than this so I am not worried about fatigue.
'But it is only a point. It might be Manchester City and we might have been 2-0 down, but it is still only a point.'