On a bitterly cold night at Turf Moor we might have been better playing one of the southern softies, but Newcastle it was, making their first league visit since 1983. And less than 3,000 of them gan doon for this one before gannin' yem with a point.
The team news came through, and guess what? This critical injury list of Newcastle's was nowhere near what Alan Pardew had been telling everyone. Yes, they were without some players but so were we as we went into the game again without experienced Michael Duff, twenty goal striker Sam Vokes and experienced Premier League midfielder Matt Taylor.
Michael Keane got his second start at the back in Duff's continued absence and Sean Dyche opted to make one change, recalling fit again Scott Arfield for Michael Kightly who I thought was unfortunate to lose his place.
|George Boyd gave us the lead|
There was one almighty cock up ahead of the game as the teams came out whilst the crowd were still being blasted with inane music. The tunnel hadn't been pulled out so they rushed that and referee Phil Dowd had picked the ball up and was making his way to the half way line before there was any announcement that the teams were coming out.
The music stopped and the ground was all but silent just ahead of a Premier League game.
If we had any fears that Newcastle might start in the same way Villa had done on Saturday they were soon dismissed. In truth it was a quietish opening to the game but when it did come to life it was the Clarets in the ascendancy.
The first real effort on goal came from Danny Ings who turned well to get in a shot which was punched away by Rob Elliot in what was certainly a game of few chances.
Dean Marney blazed one over while at the other end Tom Heaton had a couple of things to deal with but really wasn't being tested. We were, undoubtedly, the better side but the game needed a goal and it came on 34 minutes.
Keane played the ball To Kieran Trippier in the right back position. Tripps spotted Danny Ings and found him with a long pass. Ings' cushioned header just outside the box dropped nicely for George Boyd who hit home his second Burnley goal.
My first thoughts were that it had flown into the corner but it was more central although nevertheless a good finish past the unsighted Elliot.
It looked as though we were going to go in for half time with a 1-0 lead, and we did, but right on half time it really should have been two. It was a good move down the left involving Arfield and Boyd before Danny Ings flicked the ball through for David Jones.
Jones is not known for his goals; he even makes Dean Marney look prolific, but he really should have buried this one. Sadly he blazed his shot wide and instead of going in with what might have been a match winning 2-0 lead, it was just the one goal lead we took into the interval.
Most of the half time break was spent looking at the three options for away kits. Most were suggesting we had three options - Man City, Preston or yellow. The rest of the time was spent debating whether the Jones miss would cost us and we didn't have too long to find out.
Newcastle made two changes at the start of the second half and in under three minutes they were level. Trippier sliced an attempted clearance into the middle but Stephen Ward came to the rescue, blocking the shot.
Newcastle immediately picked it up on the right and this time the cross found Papiss Cisse who was left in space and able to hit home from outside the six yard box.
That changed the game. We'd, undoubtedly, been the better side in the first half but Newcastle were very much the better team for the next period of the game. They got themselves into a lot of good situations but, thankfully, didn't really threaten another goal.
We defended well when we had to with Jason Shackell in outstanding form, and the biggest problem we had defensively was having to replace Stephen Ward when he went down with an ankle injury and was stretchered off. Ben Mee came on for his first action since the West Ham defeat and slotted in well.
To our credit we fought our way back in and looked to try and get men forward in the search for a winner, but in truth neither side really offered much in terms of chances in the last 20 minutes or so and long before the end I thought it had settled for a 1-1 draw and, after four minutes of stoppage time that's exactly how it ended.
On the subject of stoppage time, that was probably my only gripe last night with referee Dowd. There were stoppages of over five minutes in the second half; there were three substitutions and a goal, yet only four minutes were added. I was cold by then so no real complaints.
Another draw then. Four games without defeat, our longest run this season and the best in the top flight since 1975/76 season when we won at Coventry and drew at Manchester City, beat QPR at home and then drew at Villa.
|Outstanding performance from Jason Shackell|
I always try and judge the mood leaving the ground and again it was positive. It was another point and a really significant one as news came in of defeats for Leicester, Hull, Crystal Palace and West Brom. We've a long, long way to go to try and survive in this league but it is good today, even if it is only for a day, to see us outside of those relegation places.
And I know it was cold and I know it was a Tuesday night, but the biggest disappointment must have been there being so many empty seats inside Turf Moor. I spoke to some of those fans who'd gan doon to see the Toon and they did say that a £40 admission price had kept some of their mates away.
I'm happy with that, and if anyone had told me ahead of the Hull game that we'd now be sat here in 17th place with 12 points I'm not sure I'd have believed them. I've said it before and I'll repeat it, I'm enjoying this season and I'm going to make sure I continue to do just that.
QPR next and then a run of Southampton, Spurs, Liverpool and Man City - that's exactly what we won promotion for.
The teams were;
Burnley: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Michael Keane, Jason Shackell, Stephen Ward (Ben Mee 65), George Boyd, Dean Marney, David Jones, Scott Arfield, Danny Ings, Ashley Barnes (Lukas Jutkiewicz 85). Subs not used: Matt Gilks, Kevin Long, Ross Wallace, Michael Kightly, Marvin Sordell.
Yellow Cards: Michael Keane, Scott Arfield.
Newcastle: Rob Elliot, Darryl Janmaat, Mike Williamson (Steven Taylor ht), Paul Dummett, Massadio Haidara, Yoan Gouffran, Mehdi Abeid, Ayoze Perez (Remy Cabella ht), Cheik Tiote, Sammy Ameobi (Riviere 75), Papiss Cisse. Subs not used: Jak Alnwick, Vurnon Anita, Adam Armstrong, Remie Streete.
Yellow Cards: Mike Williamson, Cheik Tiote.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Stoke).
Attendance: 18,791 (including 2,906 from Newcastle).