Following last Wednesday evening’s coverage of Burnley’s Premier League encounter with Wolves ; it seems unlikely that the BBC will consider that future Clarets fixtures will represent a sure-fire ratings winner in their mid-week early evening schedules.
Indeed there were times during a particularly mundane first half when even I felt a yearning for an episode of Pointless or the One Show.
When covering matches at Turf Moor, commentators and pundits have a script to follow, a tick list of go to phrases. In this regard Guy Mowbray and co-commentator Dion Dublin did not disappoint: cold weather, tick; resilience, tick; punching above their weight, tick; well organised, tick; like to play it long, tick.
It is a particularly lazy and borderline disrespectful, to discuss the tenth best team in the country in so myopic and unimaginative fashion. Wouldn’t it be lovely if just once a pundit would announce; “Burnley are a joy to watch, Gary, they play football with heart, passion and endeavour and never know when they’re beaten”?
It is unlikely to happen anytime soon, so such plaudits will for the time being need to be confined to us fans.
Of course, we have plenty to crow about at the moment; only one defeat in fourteen Premier League games stretching all the way back to January, to a time when no one had heard of Coronavirus.
It has become commonplace in these pieces for me to mention the stretched playing resources which have become a backdrop to this run of results and made it all the more remarkable. Burnley cannot seem to catch a break with injuries and the early premature departures of Jay Rodriguez and Charlie Taylor during the Wolves match represented further bad news.
Bad news in particular for Erik Pieters, who was required to switch to left back when Taylor went off and promptly found himself face-to-face with Adama Traore; he of the prop forward physique and sprinters’ turn of speed.
As the second half wore on and Wolves continued to dominate possession, it was probably no surprise that Traore was at the heart of the move which gave Wolves the lead; his powerful run through the heart of the Burnley defence created the opening, but it took an unfortunate ricochet off James Tarkowski’s back for the ball to fall invitingly for Raul Jimenez to strike a sweet volley past Nick Pope.
That could well have been it; Burnley didn’t really look like mounting any serious pressure to challenge Wolves’ lead as the visitors wound down the clock with a degree of comfort.
And an away win seemed even more assured when Chris Wood headed wide from close range in stoppage time, when it seemed a far easier task to score.
But just as the BBC producers were getting ready to cue up the latest episode of the Repair Shop, there was still time for one last hopeful hoist into the Wolves penalty area. Wood missed with a wildly optimistic overhead kick, but the ball then found its way onto the arm of a Wolves defender.
Mike Dean – a referee not known for his benevolence towards Burnley – gave a penalty. VAR mulled over it for a while and then confirmed Dean’s verdict.
Wood lashed the spot kick into the roof of the net and Burnley had rescued a point in circumstances even more unlikely than those at Liverpool the previous Saturday.
Frankly, it was a point stolen rather than earned, but symbolic too of a team that just won’t quit; a team that unless you are Manchester City and can bury them under an avalanche of goals, will invariably find a way to clamber to the surface.
Finally, an apology; some of you rightly took me to task with my flawed description of Jay Rodriguez’s equalising goal at Anfield. In my defence, the door-bell rang with a parcel delivery just as the players were taking their drinks break, and when I returned to the TV, Jay Rod had scored. So I found myself having to describe the goal from replays to sharpen my increasingly dysfunctional memory. It’s no excuse and I thank you for setting me straight.
It's been a long and strange season Dave. Apology accepted, you are as obviously as jaded as our players. Thanks for your wonderful efforts. (TEC).