Burnley in a Bath Chair in Bournemouth

By The Editor's Chair
15 May 2017

There is an air of middle-class gentility about Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium, set as it is amidst parkland where children play and dogs are exercised.

The stands are what estate agents would describe as compact and bijou whilst golf sweaters and chinos mingle effortlessly among the replica shirts worn by the home supporters.

Sporadic renditions of “The Red Flag” from those supporters added an incongruous note in this Tory voters heartland.

This setting, combined with the warm spring sunshine and two teams safe from the spectre of relegation, lent a relaxed and convivial atmosphere to the visit of Burnley on Saturday.

And Burnley’s play was certainly relaxed, but not in a good way. 

Former Clarets' boss Eddie Howe, has his Bournemouth team playing crisp, enterprising football which Burnley struggled to contain throughout the first half.

Another ex-Claret, Junior Stanislas, capitalised on this tardiness with a neat finish from a laser style pass deep from the Cherries midfield and perhaps came about because Burnley left back Stephen Ward had switched off in the glorious Dorset sunshine?

Stanislas is a player I have often felt that Burnley could have got more out of, his silky skills are easy on the eye and as witnessed yesterday are more than capable of influencing the course of a match.

Yet during his time at Turf Moor, he was regularly second-fiddle to those with greater work-rates. He seems to have found a more accommodating home at Bournemouth and that causes me a claret and blue coloured tinge of regret.

Burnley fans have first-hand knowledge of Eddie Howe’s management philosophy, and this knowledge tells us that he is a purist whose teams are committed to a flowing style of play but the flip side is a defensive frailty that all too often requires three goals to be scored just to earn a point.

Those frailties are still evident at Bournemouth and it came as no great surprise that having established a foothold in the game, Burnley equalised  with a flashing trademark header from the Cherries old boy Sam Vokes, following a gloriously whipped in Gudmundsson cross.

What was surprising however, was that Burnley promptly surrendered this hard-earned parity so swiftly and so meekly. James Tarkowski was culpable in allowing ex-Blackburn Rovers player  Josh King to sneak round his blind side and finish the game off with a deftly composed finish.

The game petered out with no further incidents of note. Burnley fans trudged away from the Vitality Stadium disappointed, but relived that the team have now completed their away fixtures and Premier League survival is assured. 

Away games have been largely unproductive on all but a precious few occasions and it has been left to the team’s ability to generate positive results at Turf Moor which has kept them bobbing buoyantly above the relegation rip-tide.

This is an unsustainable state of affairs, which must be addressed next season. But for now, it is time for everyone connected to Burnley Football Club to acknowledge a season of distinct and measurable progress, which will draw to a conclusion when the Clarets host West Ham United next Sunday. 

There is certain to be a party atmosphere at Turf Moor but please lads, let’s have more intensity than was on display at Bournemouth. Leave the bath chairs at home and let's round the season off in style?

Written by the well travelled Burnley follower Dave Thornley who contributes regularly for Clarets Mad. (TEC).

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