Vale vanquished by Claret comeback
There were very few chances for either team in the early stages and it took around ten minutes for an attempt to hit the target. Port Vale were the recipients of the chance and it took some smart work from Rob Henry to clear from literally on his own line.
We were limited to a succession of long range shots with Platt, Smith and Pugh all taking pot shots. Our best attempt of the half came following a Vale corner that Crossley collected first time. He threw the ball to Pugh on the right wing who went on a direct 60 yard+ run, before unleashing a shot which the keeper could only parry behind.
The game then entered a sour period with some stiff tackling, mainly from the imposing Vale boys. Both Casey and Blackler were on the end of strong challenges, the second one resulting in a yellow card. The crowd were getting a little rowdy with this and a Vale attack up the right saw them win a dubious foul, which was given only when players and spectators appealed.
As the Burnley boys disputed the decision the visitors took it quickly, feeding the striker in the box and he turned Overson, who again tweaked his knee, before firing into the bottom corner. However, the bad decision had caused some ill feeling to surface and some decidedly dodgy challenges from both sides started to fly in. The Vale player booked previously was threatened with an early bath, as was Nicky Platt for aggressive dissent, and thankfully the half time whistle followed shortly to ensure the full compliment of players remained on each side.
The Clarets obviously had a rocket at half time and flew out of the blocks. Nicky Platt hit the underside of the bar and was unlucky to see the ball bounce down on the wrong side of the line. Adam Kay then had a goal disallowed after straying slightly offside to collect a through ball before shooting in of a defender.
It looked as though we were going to be on the end of a defeat for the first time this season as the clock ticked down and the coaches made changes to attempt to rectify this. Rob Turner came on for Jay Rodriguez and Lewis Craig replaced the stricken Overson.
The increased level of presence up front told for us and we seemed to step up a gear immediately with Pugh unlucky to see a drifting, dipping cross flicked over by the keeper. We didn’t have to wait long for the breakthrough though as Pugh chased a ball over the top. The covering defender ran across the front of the Burnley boy and went down as his boots struck each other. Perhaps it was a foul but nothing was given as Pugh ran on and fired under the keeper to equalise.
An immediate attack from the kick-off though saw us back behind as a defensive blunder let Vale in. The striker ran onto a ball and rode a challenge from Martin Reilly, shooting across Crossly and breaking the net in the far corner.
We almost hit straight back as Rob Turner burst through the defence and thundered a shot in which squirmed under the keeper, but the stopper jumped back to smother it in time. Vale then seemed to string a quick move together along the length of the pitch which ended in the visiting striker again collecting the ball and waltzing through the defence to make it 3-1. Mark Crossley was left horribly exposed again and the game looked dead and buried.
But cometh the hour (well cometh the 80th minute anyway), cometh the man. Did Vale drop off? Maybe. Or did we just go into overdrive? Well Marc Pugh certainly did.
Dale Underwood replaced Kay and straight away piled in a couple of long throws, pressuring the away defence. Pugh received the ball near the corner of the box and from nothing turned and fired in to the corner of the net.
Five minutes later Pugh ran onto a through ball into the box and blazed it across the keeper into the far corner to level it up and secure the matchball for his mantelpiece.
But it didn’t end there as the Clarets now had their tails up. With around two minutes left on the clock the clarets attacked up the left and Pugh again chased onto the pass into the box to hammer into the far corner once more, making it an awesome foursome for him and completing the comeback for Burnley.
The excitement was almost too much for Eli’s ClaretsMad ThinkTank™ and had it not been for the new crowd controlling measures we may have seen a pitch invasion.
Team:- Mark Crossley, Rob Henry, Paul Casey, Jack Overson (Lewis Craig), Tom Blackler, Adam Kay (Dale Underwood), Martin Reilly, Nicky Platt, Connor Smith, Marc Pugh, Jay Rodriguez (Rob Turner).