It was another frustrating afternoon to be a Claret. It's the third time recently we've gone 2-0 up in a game and failed to win but at least it was third time lucky in that we at least got a draw that lifted us back out of the bottom three.
Our strikers Ashley Barnes and Danny Ings got the goals, both from headers, and so much better were we than West Brom that even with around an hour to go there was a real air of confidence around the ground that we would win it. But, two goals from corners, our Achilles heel, turned the game on its head when I'm damn sure, otherwise, they would never have got themselves a goal.
I've sort of got used to matches being moved for television, but I do think a noon kick off is too early. I don't know what the fascination is with games between Burnley and West Brom either; I know they televised that game at the Hawthorns because they didn't want a big match clashing with the Ryder Cup, but not sure why they wanted three on yesterday.
|Danny Ings was back playing with a smile on his face and got an assist and a goal|
So it was an early departure for the Turf for me and countless others, although there I only arrived about 40 minutes before kick off yesterday with the pre-match lunch and pint cancelled; I'm not supposed to drink too much for medical reasons (and don't) and in any case, having a pint around 10:30 in the morning is far too early for me.
Even the club's fanzone was closed. They'd said it was because of the early kick off but then, in the same breath, announced the Foundation Bar was opening early. The Park View was doing brisk business too but for me it was a quick chat with a few waifs and strays outside before making my way into the ground nine minutes before kick off (I didn't look at my watch, I've just checked it on the TeamCard web site).
Waiting for my bus around 11 o'clock, I couldn't see across the road, but I suspected it would be clear once I got into town. It wasn't, although there was never a problem even though the houses on Belvedere Road did disappear at one point just before kick off.
You can't predict the weather, but you can predict the Burnley team. Sean Dyche named an unchanged starting eleven for the tenth consecutive Premier League game. Apparently we are now only two short of the record which was set by Birmingham in the 2009/10 season.
There was more negativity around ahead of kick off than has been the case all season. I'm sure some of it was down to losing that two goal lead against Palace, more because of the performance at the Stadium of Light but probably more because of the Tony Pulis effect.
I read last week that Pulis had become the Red Adair of football managers because of him never having been relegated. There was a time when we didn't think Graham Alexander would miss a penalty.
Pulis had placed Saido Berahino on the naughty chair this week and left him on the bench; Sean Dyche had told us how Danny Ings would have that smile back on his face this week and would be back to his best for this game. I suppose different clubs have different ways of doing things.
So, Berahino had a watching brief initially as Burnley took the game to West Brom, went in front and might have had even more. The Baggies looked to have no answer at all to us in those opening exchanges.
Danny Ings did well to get onto the ball in the box before firing just over and that was followed by a sensational save from Ben Foster, tipping a goal bound Scott Arfield effort onto the bar.
It didn't look as though it would be long before we got in front and it wasn't. The minute's applause for the 'Justice for Jeff' campaign, organised by Jeff Astle's family had just ended when Dean Marney played the ball across from the right.
Ings ducked under it to allow it to go through to Arfield before making his move into the box. Arfield found him and he cleverly hooked the ball across where Ashley Barnes was waiting to head home his first goal of 2015.
A second minute's applause was staged for young Burnley supporter Jack Pickles who died last week at the age of 14. I've not commented previously but it is so very sad to hear of anyone at such a young age losing their life and my thoughts are with his family and friends who must be going through the most difficult time possible.
As the game continued, Berahino leapt up from his naughty chair to replace Victor Anichebe. Pulis confirmed after the game that he'd had a groin injury. What was fact is that he'd looked pretty damn poor right from the start of the match.
West Brom tried to get back into it but we were soon very much in command again and just past the half hour we doubled our advantage. Marney again was the prompter. this time playing the ball forward to Kieran Trippier.
The right back dummied brilliantly for George Boyd who was steaming forward. He kept the ball in play, moved forward before providing the perfect cross. Ings got between the defenders to head home via the post.
We were 2-0 up again and make no mistake we fully deserved to be 2-0 up, if not more. We were head and shoulders better than this West Brom team.
The only concern was an injury to Marney soon after. Following treatment he was able to continue to half time but had to be replaced for the start of the second half. By then we had suffered another body blow.
In time added on at the end of the first half we conceded a corner as the ball deflected off Michael Keane. I've since seen the Match of the Day 2 coverage when the commentator confirms we've never gone in at half time in a Premier League game with a two goal advantage. He should not have said that because we didn't.
Chris Brunt headed in unmarked and West Brom were back in it at 2-1. Arfield was the one that let him in but I firmly believe, having seen the footage since, that Ben Mee would have headed that ball clear had he not been pushed by Joleon Lescott.
It flattened the home crowd and you sensed this would change the half time team talk in the away dressing room.
Michael Kightly came on for Marney with Arfield going into the centre of midfield and although we didn't dominate anything like we'd done in the first half, I never thought West Brom ever looked as though they were going to get back in it.
That was until they won two corners in quick succession with under twenty minutes remaining. This time Brown Ideye, a player they tried to get rid of last week, headed home the flag kick unmarked and our lead had gone to two corners.
Craig Dawson was this time the culprit. He cleverly pushed both David Jones (marking the goalscorer) and Keane out of the way.
We'd conceded two goals from corners when both could have been disallowed, but watching football week after week on television will tell you that rarely they are disallowed. With so much pushing and shoving in boxes now it is most likely that the referee will give nothing and that was the case here.
Referee Mike Dean has come in for some criticism on the message board but who knows in which direction he was looking when those two corners came over. I have to admit though, having seen it again, I'm amazed he didn't see the handball from Gareth McAuley close to the end that would have given us a penalty.
Often, after a defeat, and certainly that was the case a week ago, people point to tiredness. No one can on this occasion. We were much the stronger side for the remainder of the game but just couldn't get that one opportunity that would see us win it, so in the end we had to settle for a point and it might just have been worse but for the work of Tom Heaton and Mee who combined to keep West Brom out right at the end.
I'm not sure how I feel after this game. I was absolutely deflated last week after the 2-0 defeat on Wearside, more so given that my mate up there was texting and calling thanking us for the points.
There is no reason to feel deflated this week, certainly not as far as the performance is concerned because it is probably as well as we've played all season. But there has to be some real disappointment that we were weren't able to get this one over the line for three points.
If we can keep playing like this then surely there are points around the corner, but for now we are thankful for the one we did get that has taken us back out of the bottom three after being in their for 21 hours.
The teams were;
Burnley: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Michael Keane, Jason Shackell, Ben Mee, George Boyd, Dean Marney (Michael Kightly ht), David Jones, Scott Arfield, Danny Ings, Ashley Barnes. Subs not used: Matt Gilks, Steven Reid, Michael Duff, Ross Wallace, Sam Vokes, Lukas Jutkiewicz.
West Brom: Ben Foster, Craig Dawson, Gareth McAuley, Joleon Lescott, Chris Baird (Brown Ideye ht), Callum McManaman (James Morrison 82), Darren Fletcher, Claudio Yacob, Chris Brunt, Stephane Sessegnon, Victor Anichebe (Saido Berahino 18). Subs not used: Jack Rose, Andre Wisdom, Pocognoli, Craig Gardner.
Yellow Cards: Chris Baird, Claudio Yacob, Brown Ideye, Craig Dawson.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral).
Attendance: 16,904 (including 1,187 from West Brom).