pedalWhen any task has been satisfactorily concluded with time to spare, then it is contrary to human nature not to mentally ease off, take the foot off the gas pedal and take things ever so slightly easier.
Having achieved the forty point mark and had their Premier League safety confirmed, Burnley arrived at Everton’s Goodison Park Stadium for a fixture incongruously switched to a Friday night, still basking in that “job done” feeling.
Everton too could also have been forgiven for going through the motions, but the Goodison faithful would not countenance that, and the home team surged out of the starting gate and tore into the labouring Clarets.
The match was all but done and dusted during the first twenty minutes as Burnley struggled to locate the whereabouts of both the Everton attackers and the ball. Richarlison open the scoring when he was allowed sufficient freedom to tee off a shot which was diverted into the Burnley net by the Mee knee.
Reminiscent of the nightmare on Boxing Day 2018, when these two teams last met, Everton’s Luca Digne was a constant source of anxiety for Burnley. Fast forward to Friday night and he was at it again.
Shortly after Richarlison’s opening goal, Digne stuck a shot from a similar range and managed in the process to produce late swing of James Anderson proportions, enough to confound Tom Heaton in the Clarets’ goal who could only parry the shot onto the forehead of a grateful Seamus Coleman.
To their credit, Burnley summoned up their reserves of professional pride and clawed their way back into the contest. As the game progressed, they took on a greater share of possession and managed a few moderate, if ultimately unsuccessful, attempts on the Everton goal.
They could, and should, have been awarded a penalty when Matij Vydra received a push in the back from former Claret Michael Keane.
Pundits in the commentary box and the TV studio ventured the opinion that Vydra “went down too easily” to warrant the spot kick; but I would defy anyone to remain upright when shoved in the back whilst running at full pelt, and in any event, why should how he fell alter the fact the he was still pushed?
It remains a fervent hope that the introduction of VAR next season will eradicate such inaccuracies. Whilst acknowledging that Burnley got away with a Ben Mee handball against Manchester City last week, that doesn’t assuage the indignation felt at the Vydra decision.
In truth this was a match played for the most part at three-quarter pace and three-quarter intensity. Given the circumstances that both teams found themselves in at the culmination of a hard season, this was perhaps understandable, if a little disappointing.
Written on behalf of Clarets Mad by uber Claret fan Dave Thornley who will hopefully be reporting on the Claret's next season surge into Europe. (TEC).