A third 0-0 draw for Clarets

Last updated : 21 September 2014 By Tony Scholes

Again, we weren't able to get that all important goal, but again we looked more than good enough defensively and it wasn't often there were any real concerns that Sunderland might grab themselves a goal, other than the late effort which hit the post from Patrick van Aanholt.

The Mackems were in town, or should that have been the Black Cats? From what I can gather, and from the information I got from their fans yesterday it is just a matter of choice. I was told the older fans prefer Black Cats, and Roker Park used to include a Black Cat Club, whereas the younger supporters much prefer to be known as Mackems.

They don't mind the abbreviation of their name to Sunlan, it's how most of them say it, but they are not keen on the S'Land it showed on the next game board at the Wellington traffic lights.

Home debut for George Boyd

They are a club with whom we have had a lot of connection over the years. That includes Kevin Ball, who was at the Turf yesterday, and, of course, Stan Ternent who was brought up a Sunderland fan.

Bally has managed them on a temporary basis on two occasions and, over the years, they've also been managed by former Clarets Alan Brown, Jimmy Adamson, Billy Elliott and Mick Buxton whilst Dave Merrington also had a spell as caretaker boss.

The fixtures had given us two of the perceived big clubs to kick off the home programme. It was Chelsea first, a team we haven't played outside the top flight since 1982/83 season, and then Manchester United, and we have to go back to 1938 for our last league game against them below the top division.

Now it was Sunderland, a club a lot closer to us, a club who were just one or two places above us for long spells last season albeit in two different leagues, and it was interesting to hear the views of some of our fans ahead of the game.

Some thought this was going to be easy, simply because they are not one of the top teams. Others thought it might be the toughest of the lot and I have just realised how difficult any game is in this league.

We know we can defend well enough; now we just need some goals but we went into the game without Danny Ings, injured at Palace. I recall the blind panic last season when both he and Sam Vokes were suddenly missing even though we were all but home and dry.

Ashley Barnes was here by then and we've also now got both Lukas Jutkiewicz and Marvin Sordell to call on and it was the latter two who started when Sean Dyche gave Sordell his first start, coming in for Ings in what was the only change from the Palace game.

Sordell's place on the bench went to Michael Kightly whilst Michael Keane took Kevin Long's place. Keane might well have been looking at a start too with Duff considered a doubt during last week before being passed fit.

Although there was no place in the match day squad for Nathaniel Chalobah, the game did provide George Boyd with a home debut on the left hand side with Matt Taylor still out with an Achilles injury.

If Dyche was looking to get off on the front foot then he'd have been pleased on the touchline as we took the game to Sunderland and it might have been a different story if we could have just got ourselves in front.

Twice Sordell might have scored. The first of them, from an outstanding left wing Boyd low cross, was cut out by some outstanding defending by John O'Shea although soon after he got his feet caught up as he looked to get on the end of a Jutkiewicz cross and the chance was gone.

What was probably our best move of the first half led to David Jones firing straight at goalkeeper Vito Mannone. Jones had been involved at the start of the move, linking up with Kieran Trippier down the right. He played the ball inside for Boyd and followed in to take the return pass. A yard either side and we might have gone in front but it was an easy saved for the impressive Sunderland goalkeeper.

There is no doubt for me we should have had a penalty for a Wes Brown push on Jutkiewicz but overall chances were at a premium and the best Sunderland could muster was a header from right-back Santiago Vergini that went just wide.

We'd had the better of the opening period but Sunderland had come back into the game and had plenty of possession but with no goals at half time it was probably a fair reflection on the first 45 minutes.

The early part of the second half saw our visitors looking the more likely. Tom Heaton saved from Jack Rodwell and it took some last ditch defending to prevent Emanuele Giaccherini from scoring after he'd been played in on the left of our box.

It's been a real feature of our play for some time. I can't remember a Burnley team who defend so well in these situations. This time Trippier moved quickly to close down the Sunderland player, Jason Shackell got in the important block and Mee hooked it partially clear. The danger had gone and for much of the rest of the game so had the Sunderland threat.

Ashley Barnes replaced Sordell and we gave it a real go. O'Shea was carded for a pull back on Jutkiewicz. Referee Anthony Taylor, who did not have the best of days, played an advantage, one that didn't really appear to be there, but at least came back and pulled out the card.

Then, close to the end, we came close to a goal when a Barnes shot took a deflection, looped up and hit the top of the bar. We'd have been fortunate had it gone in but I'd take a bit of good fortune right now.

With the home crowd urging us on there was one final scare. Scott Arfield gave the ball away but Dean Marney rescued things. He did in the eyes of most people with a good challenge but referee Taylor awarded a free kick and showed Marney a yellow.

From the free kick the ball was eventually played across to van Aanholt. I remember his thunderous goal against us for Leicester back in 2011 when they beat us 4-0. He partnered Mee on the left of the Leicester defence that day. This time his shot hit the post, maybe with Heaton having got a touch. But certainly the ball hit Heaton on the way back and thankfully, for us, spun out for a corner.

That was it, another 0-0 draw. I could say the reaction from the crowd was mixed. I heard some complaints from behind me, a couple of fans moaning loudly with cries of: "One goal all season, not good enough."

They were lone voices though. We'd played well again, the vast majority of the home crowd were happy with how we'd played and gave the team a rousing reception at the end.

It's an interesting point this lack of goals v clean sheets. I wrote last week how strongly I believe it will be the goals conceded column that will be of real importance and nothing will change my view on that.

Of course I'd like to see us scoring more goals, and who wouldn't, but these three clean sheets have ensured us three points. I wonder if the voice suggesting no goals means not good enough would have been happy with a 4-2 defeat? I think not.

I don't always agree with Sean Dyche; I didn't think that was a foul on Jutkiewicz in the second half in the box and he did. But I do agree with his belief that the goals will come.

Anyway, for what  it's worth, it is the first time we've ever played out three consecutive 0-0 draws. We've equalled the 2009/10 total of three Premier League clean sheets, and we have to go back to October 1968 to the last occasions we kept three successive clean sheets in the top flight.

That was during that remarkable run when, with the likes of Dave Thomas and Steven Kindon in the team, we went on an amazing run of eight league and cup wins. The three league clean sheets were against Leicester, Ipswich and QPR.

By the time we are back at the Turf we could have Ings fit again. It's another four weeks before that game against West Ham.

And well done Match of the Day. I thought commentator Jonathan Pearce was patronising but both Gary Lineker and Neil Lennon had positive things to say with the latter, as Danny Murphy had done three weeks ago, providing us with some good analysis.

Yes, one goal scored and four conceded - last time we were in the Premier League the goals column was 2 scored and 9 conceded in the first five games. This season is how I prefer it.

The teams yesterday were;

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, Jason Shackell, Ben Mee, Scott Arfield, Dean Marney, David Jones (Ross Wallace 86), George Boyd (Steven Reid 90+2), Marvin Sordell (Ashley Barnes 63), Lukas Jutkiewicz. Subs not used: Matt Gilks, Michael Keane, Stephen Ward, Michael Kightly.
Yellow Card: Dean Marney

Sunderland: Vito Mannone, Santiago Vergini, John O'Shea, Wes Brown, Patrick van Aanholt, Lee Cattermole, Adam Johnson (Jozy Altidore 67), Sebastian Larsson (Jordi Gomez 67), Jack Rodwell, Emanuele Giaccherini (Will Buckley 73), Connor Wickham. Subs not used: Costel Pantilimon, Billy Jones, Liam Bridcutt, Danny Graham.
Yellow Cards: Jack Rodwell, John O'Shea.

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Wythenshawe).

Attendance: 20,026.


Both Kieran Trippier and Ross Wallace played their 150th league and cup games for the club yesterday and, for Scott Arfield, it was a 50th league appearance since making his debut last season in the 1-1 home draw against Bolton on the opening day of last season, coming on as a substitute for Junior Stanislas. He's missed just one league game since; the home game against QPR last October.