Donny double for dynamic Clarets

Last updated : 26 March 2014 By Tony Scholes

In front of what was a nervous Turf Moor crowd, it was another game, like Charlton on Saturday, when the result was never really in any doubt once we'd gone in front against a Doncaster side who didn't have much answer to us.

Some will say the penalty was soft; Donny boss Paul Dickov certainly thought so and I tend to agree with him, but Dickov failed to refer to the one we should have had in the first half which dreadful referee Tony Harrington refused.

Everyone will laud the second involving both Ashley Barnes and David Jones before Junior Stanislas stroked it into the net past goalkeeper Sam Johnstone who was by some considerable distance their best player, the young loanee goalkeeper who had a difficult time here on his only appearance for Yeovil back in August.

Junior Stanislas capped a fine performance with the second goal

Two days before the game I was speaking to a senior member of staff from Doncaster and he was telling me how they were going to come here and end our unbeaten home game. I can honestly say his words didn't overly concern me but there was some negativity from fans before the game.

It was a typical March Tuesday night in Burnley. The weather had been miserable all night and as I made my way down to the Turf it was raining, that fine stuff that wets you through.

My initial thoughts were, given the sparse number of people outside that it was going to be a small attendance, and there was some real negativity around. This is the Burnley who, in the last few weeks, have seen off the threats of Nottingham Forest and Derby, won handsomely at Blackburn, won five of the last six and sit ten points clear in second place.

"I think we'll lose this one," one supporter told me. "And then watch the rot set in," he added. Another warned of the banana skin that we were about to slip on. Had I got it wrong? Was my confidence misplaced? Were we not going to beat Doncaster?

That was nothing compared to the bloke sat a couple of rows behind me throughout the game. If I had a penny for every time I heard him shout the word 'rubbish' at one of our players or the team I'd be wealthy, and I wasn't too thankful for him informing me that whoever paid money for Barnes should be shot.

My confidence hadn't been misplaced. I saw us turn in another thoroughly professional performance to claim all three points. I saw a game where it was obvious that the points were going nowhere else but to us once the first goal went in and I saw another very good performance with some individual players outstanding.

Both teams had won at the weekend and both managers started with the same teams. For Burnley that meant a home debut for latest signing Chris Baird, in the continued absence of Kieran Trippier, and a first start at home in the league for Stanislas in 2014.

It wasn't a frantic start but we were on top from the start. Doncaster were often caught trying to play the ball out of defence and there were a number of times when I'm sure they must have been relieved not to fall behind.

Scott Arfield, Jones, Stanislas all saw good efforts narrowly miss the target and when we were on target it was often goalkeeper Johnstone to the rescue as he kept his side in the game.

During this period there was only really one concerning moment but it came to nothing as a Mark Duffy cross was headed wide by the former Sunderland film star Chris Brown but there is no doubt we should have been given an opportunity from the spot when Barnes was fouled after a good link up with Sam Vokes.

For some reason there was now a real nervousness in the crowd. As the level of support dropped so the moaner just behind was able to get his nonsensical points over even more.

It just needed a goal, I was convinced of that, and it almost came right on half time. Johnstone made his best save yet to deny Dean Marney at the expense of  a corner. We tried the usual routine and won another but when Jones placed it straight into the goalkeeper's hands the referee decided he'd seen enough and blew for half time.

I'd no real concerns. "It will only take a goal and we'll go on and win this," I said. I didn't expect it to come so quickly. In the very first minute of the second half we did get a penalty. I was baffled initially but it's been given for a push on Barnes; it looks soft, but who cares, and in any case we'd had that one turned down in the first half.

Vokes stepped up. On Saturday he rolled it down the middle; last night he hammered it into the top right hand corner. Burnley were in front and at no stage did we ever look like conceding that lead.

Two penalties in two games. Now that's a rarity for us. The last time we scored from the spot in successive games was back in October 2010 when Chris Eagles scored at Sheffield United and then at home against Barnsley.

Would we go on and win it as I'd suggested? Yes was very much the answer. We were close to making it 2-0 soon after. Vokes saw his first shot blocked by the keeper but he hit the rebound home only to see that the assistant's flag had gone up even before the first shot.

We were giving Doncaster a difficult time by now and Stanislas was enjoying himself. He didn't always take the best option and on a couple of occasions held onto the ball just that bit too long, one in particular when he might have played in Arfield.

But Doncaster were struggling to contain him. He was playing with such confidence on his return to the side and was almost demanding that he should be the one to hold that wide position that is up for grabs.

Donny had nothing much to offer by now and when Billy Sharp, who has so often been a thorn in our side, had an opportunity he blazed the ball way over the bar.

Stanislas hit the side netting with a free kick and Barnes got in an effort from a corner that rebounded back to him with his second effort threatening those in the Jimmy Mac Upper rather than the goal.

Just one more goal would clinch it surely and it duly arrived fifteen minutes from the end. Barnes, so impressive again, got down the right hand side before playing the ball in for Jones. The ball was just behind the midfielder but his touch was excellent as was the pass to play in Stanislas.

Sometimes when a player is going one-on-one with the goalkeeper you are not so certain, other times you just know he'll score. It was the latter for me and Junior didn't let me down. He took one touch with his right foot and then a second which slid the ball past Johnstone and into the net.

That really was game over. They did hit the bar and then Marney received his tenth yellow card of the season. Burnley were passing the ball across the pitch to the delight of the crowd but Stanislas gave it away and Marney committed the foul. It rules him out of the games against Leicester and Watford.

Nothing came of that but close to the end Heaton was forced into his only save of the night but by then Doncaster were a well beaten side and the Clarets had turned in yet another superbly professional performance to remain ten points clear of QPR.

Another outstanding performance from Ben Mee

Stanislas was the sponsors' man of the match on the night and I've no complaints about that, but there is one player in this Burnley team who has been turning in some outstanding performances on a regular basis.

It seems to go unnoticed by so many and he doesn't often get too much praise, so I'll take this opportunity to once again say how well Ben Mee played yet again at left-back. This season he's developed into one of the best players in the Championship in his position.

Are we preparing for the Premier League? Sean Dyche says no and it is one game at a time, but you can't resist looking at that table can you? We might not have one foot in just yet but the toes have certainly been dipped.

One game at a time though - Leicester next.

The teams were;

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Chris Baird, Michael Duff, Jason Shackell, Ben Mee, Scott Arfield, Dean Marney, David Jones, Junior Stanislas (Michael Kightly 89), Sam Vokes, Ashley Barnes (Keith Treacy 90+1). Subs not used: Alex Cisak, Kevin Long, Danny Lafferty, David Edgar, Ross Wallace.
Yellow Card: Dean Marney.

Doncaster: Sam Johnstone, James Coppinger, Paul Quinn, Abdoulaye Méité, James Husband, Mark Duffy (Theo Robinson 70), Richie Wellens, Paul Keegan (Dean Furman 82), David Cotterill, Chris Brown, Billy Sharp. Subs not used: Ross Turnbull, Luke McCullough, Marc De Val, Enda Stevens, Lewis Ferguson.
Yellow Cards: Abdoulaye Méité, Mark Duffy.

Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland).

Attendance: 12,325.