A day on from the game I still find it hard to believe we didn''t pick up all three points. We were far and away the better team but due to missed chances, some bad luck and some outstanding goalkeeping from Chris Kirkland, we had to settle for just one point and a drop to third place in the table.
The goals came right on half time. Sam Vokes gave us the lead with a neat finish on 43 minutes after he''d been played in by Dean Marney. Last season, in the 3-3 draw, Sheffield Wednesday twice equalised within a minute. This time it took them two minutes before Chris Maguire finished from close range after we''d failed to deal with a free kick into the box.
That equaliser was a blow just before the half time whistle, but even so, I was still expecting us to go on and win the game in the second half. It wasn''t to be and as all the other clubs around us in the league won we had to make do with the one point.
|A 12th league goal of the season for Sam Vokes|
There''s something about playing Sheffield Wednesday at home that gives you this uneasy lack of confidence, but after over thirteen years without a home win against them I thought this was probably the day it was going to happen.
We''ve played well in recent games and Sean Dyche was able to name un unchanged team, although that meant Ben Mee was still unfit with Danny Lafferty deputising again at left back. It also meant that new signing Ashley Barnes, for the second game, would have to settle for a place on the bench.
Ahead of the game the club held the second, supporters clubs initiated, annual minute''s silence to remember those connected with the club who had passed away during 2013. Around 90 names had been submitted and were published in the match programme and then on the big screen during the minute which was impeccably observed by all the Burnley fans and many of the visiting Wednesday supporters.
I''m sure many of us knew some of the people on the list. I certainly did and two of them had been close friends for a good number of years.
Once over, the Clarets were soon into the game and very much on top. Wednesday seemed to have no answer to us in the opening exchanges with debutant central defender Oguchi Onyewu given a torrid time.
Keith Treacy, starting a fourth consecutive league game for the first time in over two years, was featuring heavily. After an awful mistake by the aforementioned defender, Danny Ings was in on goal but Kirkland was out quickly. He could only divert the ball to Treacy who was so unlucky to see Glenn Loovens deflect his shot wide.
Treacy then provided a superb cross that Danny Ings was just unable to direct on goal and then Ings forced Kirkland into a good save, tipping over a powerful shot from our top scorer over the bar.
Dean Marney looked a certain scorer when played in but as his foot was clipped he directed his shot just wide of goal after a pass from Vokes.
It wasn''t one way traffic, but apart from a couple of isolated threats from Wednesday it was very much Burnley on top and in one attack Kieran Trippier provided us with the pass of the season. In truth, the right back was shooting from a position on the right. He got it so badly wrong it fired right across the pitch and straight to a waiting team mate on the left flank.
As the clock ticked towards half time I suggested that the only thing this performance was lacking was a goal and it duly came on 43 minutes. Marney nicked the ball from Jose Semedo and chipped it into the box for Vokes who made no mistake, sliding the ball low into the net for his 12th league goal of the season.
We''d got the precious lead but just over two minutes later it was gone and it really was an avoidable goal. A free kick from the left was hoisted over beyond the far post where it was headed back into the middle.
We allowed the ball to bounce and to Maguire who had got away from Trippier and he scored from close in.
In one moment all the good work of the half had been lost and it meant we had to come out and do it all again in the second half.
For a while we weren''t quite as much on top and Wednesday had more of the ball with Caolan Lavery forcing Tom Heaton into his one important save of the game. I think it gave us a jolt and from then really it was mainly one way traffic with David Jones coming so close to restoring the lead.
Goalscorer Vokes made a brilliant run down the right and pulled the ball back for Jones. HIs shot beat Kirkland but as fans prepared to celebrate Liam Palmer popped up to head off the line.
Scott Arfield, who seemed to lose his way after an impressive first half, shot wide from a tight angle on the left and then came two controversial moments in the game, provided by referee Stuart Attwell who had given the impression of missing most things.
How on earth he failed to see and yellow card Connor Wickham for a handball in the first half, or to take action against Joe Mattock for an awful foul on Treacy remains a mystery but he was about to take centre stage.
He now began to wave yellow cards around like confetti, five in a 23 minute period including one for Marney having had his hand trod on. The third, for Maguire, was for diving in the box as he appealed for a penalty. Attwell got it wrong. Jason Shackell had fouled him.
Soon after he should have been pointing to the spot at the other end as Marney was felled. It almost didn''t matter with Ings hitting a shot against the foot of the post as he rejected our appeals.
We were putting Wednesday under enormous pressure by now and it was Kirkland who, ultimately, ensured they kept that point. He saved well again from Ings just after we made our one change with the introduction of new boy Barnes, and how close he came to being involved in a winner.
With time running out Trippier launched a ball from right back down the left wing. Barnes chased it and did ever so well to prevent it going out for a throw in and then did even better to get it past a defender and prevent it going out for a goal kick.
In doing so he hit over the perfect cross for Ings who I''m sure thought he''d won it for us with a terrific shot, but the save was even better and Wednesday had again got a result at Turf Moor.
There was a real feeling of frustration and disappointment at the end, but the only disappointment was in the result and certainly not the performance. We had played so well and on another day would undoubtedly have picked up all three points and comfortably.
As Rileybobs said on the message board last night: "Overall a game that we should have on but for last ditch blocks, a post and an impressive goalkeeping performance. Many positives to take from today though, most notably the sheer number of chances created."
Even the often negative MDWat added: "If you''d played the match out another 99 times we''d win them all. Just unlucky today."
I''m not so sure I can fully agree with Sean Dyche in it being one of the best. I still remember those wins against Reading and QPR at home and the fantastic win at Derby back in August. Still, there''s not a lot wrong at Turf Moor if we can turn in performances like this.
The teams were;
Burnley: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, Jason Shackell, Danny Lafferty, Keith Treacy (Ashley Barnes 82), Dean Marney, David Jones, Scott Arfield, Danny Ings, Sam Vokes. Subs not used: Alex Cisak, Kevin Long, David Edgar, Brian Stock, Junior Stanislas, Michael Kightly.
Yellow Card: Dean Marney.
Sheffield Wednesday: Chris Kirkland, Liam Palmer, Oguchi Onyewu, Glenn Loovens, Joe Mattock, Jaques Maghoma (Atdhe Nuhiu 68), Jose Semedo, Kieran Lee, Chris Maguire (Rhys McCabe 90+3), Connor Wickham, Caolan Lavery (Jeremy Helan 83). Subs not used: Damian Martinez, Stephen McPhail, Jermaine Johnson, Miguel Llera.
Yellow Cards: Jose Semedo, Connor Wickham, Chris Maguire, Joe Mattock.
Referee: Stuart Attwell (Nuneaton).