A Game Burnley Should Have Won.

Last updated : 30 August 2021 By Dave Thornley

In a recent piece I likened Burnley to a band getting back together for yet another tour. Well since then they have added Lennon to the line up and now a Cornet has been brought in to beef up the brass section. Forgive the tortured metaphor, I couldn’t resist. No more, I promise.

The “will he, won’t he” saga of Maxwel Cornet’s transfer to the Clarets felt at times like a Jane Austen novel as he coyly assessed and evaluated the prospects of potential suitors.

It seemed at one point to be that Burnley’s lack of a vibrant night life compared unfavourably to Hertha Berlin, who also showed strong interest in acquiring his services. Clearly, the realisation that Burnley has Wetherspoons and no fewer than three McDonalds swung the deal.

Welcome to Burnley Mr Cornet; you arrive bearing the pressure and the privilege of high expectations. If you fulfil those expectations, work hard and demonstrate your willingness to apply yourself to the cause, you will find the fans four square behind you and be assured that your time at the club will be both memorable and rewarding.

Welcome back too to Aaron Lennon, resuming his career at the club after spending last season in Turkey. He is unlikely to feature prominently for the Clarets, but he can, and will, be of value as the season unwinds.

At 34 he no longer has the spark of pace that made him such a prodigious teenage talent in his Tottenham days, but this is offset by the nous he has acquired through experience and this reliability enabled Sean Dyche to parachute him straight into the starting line-up for Wednesday evening’s handy penalty shoot-out League Cup win at Newcastle.

There was, therefore, a spirit of optimism around Turf Moor ahead of yesterday afternoon’s visit of Leeds United.

When these two clubs meet there is always an additional layer of animosity lurking just beneath the surface, a relic from historical clashes and controversies and yesterday’s match certainly honoured that tradition.

Burnley are an unapologetically physical team; opposing teams need to be ready to receive a buffeting. Physical, yes; but dirty? Definitely not, as the Clarets’ disciplinary record would affirm.

The match was never less than an absorbing, full-blooded encounter between two committed and well-matched teams. One or two of the challenges (Barnes and Mee rightly received yellow cards) were close to the bone, but the new directive to allow the game to flow more freely served to enhance the spectacle rather than reduce it to an irritating stop/start affair.

There were relatively few clear cut chances, which was a testament to the quality of the defending, but no shortage of purposeful attacking play and quite a few goalmouth skirmishes.

One such skirmish an hour into the game resulted in Matt Lowton’s shot being toe-poked past Meslier in the Leeds goal by Chris Wood. It was never going to win Goal of the Month, but it gave the Clarets a lead which on the balance of the play up to that point they just about deserved.

Irritatingly, Burnley fell into their habit of trying to hang on to the lead and retreated behind the ball to invite Leeds onto the attack.

This has been a flawed tactic for quite some time now and as the defence creaked and groaned under increasing pressure, there was a sense of inevitability about Leeds’ equaliser.

It arrived five minutes from the end of the match; an unfortunate slip by Charlie Taylor allowed a cross which was half cleared by Ben Mee. The ball was driven back into the Burnley box and was deflected into the goal by Patrick Bamford.

I make it a policy to view every drawn game as a point earned. They are a precious commodity and should never be taken for granted.

It means that Burnley’s season tally is up and running and whilst it is annoying to see yet another lead slip (a recurring tendency which must be corrected) the level of performance coupled with the enhancements to the playing squad means that Burnley can go into the International break feeling positive.

Dave Thornley reflects on the Clarets' first point of the season, in my opinion it should have been all three. (TEC.)