Good Friday was definitely that for the Clarets as we recorded our first home win since the 2-0 victory over Barnsley on Valentine's Day but it was a game that will be remembered sadly for the shocking attitude of the Brighton side and their manager and the appalling refereeing of Carl Boyeson.
|Charlie Austin scored the only goal of the game|
It's a long time since I saw a side as cynical as this Brighton side and the one thing you desperately hope for in a match like this is a strong referee. Sadly we got Boyeson who, I'm convinced, had no idea as to what was going on around him for the entire ninety minutes.
We've seen over physical sides come to Turf Moor in the past. In recent seasons we've had to put up with the antics on the touchline of the likes of Aidy Boothroyd and Gary Johnson, but I can't recall a Turf Moor crowd reacting in the way they did yesterday as howls of protest came from the stands aimed at Poyet and his shocking team.
Alan Navarro seemed to have done most of the refereeing at times and as the game drew to a close with Rodriguez Vicente continuing to fall down untouched, and Craig Noone doing his best to get what he should have got in December - a red card - chants of 'Gus Poyet - Your team's a disgrace' came from the Turf Moor stands.
The Uruguayan had had enough. Just as he'd done at the Amex, he left his team to it and stormed off up the touchline, not to be seen again until he made a fleeting appearance in the press conference and outrageously tried to point the finger elsewhere.
I love winning football matches; I love winning them against teams like this even more, and so I was certainly celebrating some at the final whistle (one thing Boyeson did eventually get right after almost eight minutes of stoppage time) with Austin's goal proving enough to get the points and hopefully put a dent in this distasteful lot's promotion hopes.
Ahead of the game now it must be a matter of counting the players rather than selecting them for Eddie Howe. When the three went out on loan just over two weeks ago it didn't seem to be that much of a problem but since then we've lost Jay Rodriguez and Martin Paterson with news, eventually confirmed by the club last night, that Ben Mee has now been ruled out with a fracture in his back.
The count came to 13 first team squad players again yesterday but with Cameron Howieson dropping out with illness it meant a place on the bench for Shay McCartan alongside Steven Hewitt and Wes Fletcher.
It all started rather peacefully given what was to come, although Marvin Bartley, who believes he is being targeted, was the first player yellow carded for a foul on Navarro. I'm not convinced, both players went in together and I thought it could have gone either way.
We had started the better of the two sides and got ourselves in front half way through the half and it was all down to scorer Austin once the ball had been played into him by Josh McQuoid. He tried a first time shot but that was blocked by Adam El-Abd.
Thankfully it went back to Austin who did so well to take the ball past the goalkeeper and then hit a left foot shot into the goal ahead of his surge to the corner flag to celebrate the goal.
Soon after we lost Bartley to a hamstring injury with Dean Marney, the only experienced outfield player on the bench, replacing him.
There was some good football being played by both sides and there could so easily have been further goals. We couldn't quite work an opening and the best chance at the other end came to former loan player Sam Vokes who headed wide when he should probably have done better.
Vicente had fallen down a few times, as is his way, but things were to get a whole lot worse in the second half.
That second half started with Brighton almost getting an equaliser. Vokes set up Craig Mackail-Smith who looked a certain scorer only for Lee Grant to pull off a good save to his left and then Vokes again missed with a good heading opportunity.
Brighton were looking a decent side but their attitude quite simply stunk. They were more intent on trying to get free kicks and conning the referee than maybe scoring an equaliser and that led to the temperatures rising both on the pitch and in the stands.
They made changes to try and change things and we were forced to replace Austin after he went down with Adam El-Abd in close proximity. I feel the Brighton player would be in some trouble if this had been in the Premier League getting repeated showings.
|First team debut for Steven Hewitt|
It did, at least, give Steven Hewitt, his first opportunity in the first team. There wasn't long to go but he did well, didn't give the ball away and kept things simple. Seeing him, and Howieson, get debuts this week has probably been the most positive thing.
By now the Burnley crowd had just about had enough and the laughable departure of Poyet said so much about him and his horrible team. He left them to get on with it and we fought our way through, right through all those minutes of stoppage time before that final whistle blew.
As I left the ground I knew we'd had most of the yellow cards, and looking at the stats we've conceded more free kicks. I'd say that was down mostly to the total incompetence of this referee.
On leaving the ground someone suggested they were just like the Leeds team under Revie. In fairness they are nowhere near as bad as that but in truth even the Boyesons of this world wouldn't let them get away with what that Leeds team got away with.
I can't believe there is a more distasteful team in league football right now though and I am so thankful, no matter how well or how poorly we might play at times, we don't even reduce ourselves to the sort of stuff we saw in these games.
Overall I thought this was a much better performance than at any time on Tuesday. We looked much more solid at the back, we worked tirelessly and I was so impressed with the partnership of Austin and Danny Ings up front.
I'm delighted we've kept two clean sheets against this Brighton team and I'm delighted to have done the double over them for just the second time. Now onto Doncaster with Eddie Howe back to his counting with Bartley almost certainly ruled out.
The teams were;
Burnley: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, David Edgar, Ross Wallace, Josh McQuoid, Marvin Bartley (Dean Marney 30), Chris McCann, Junior Stanislas, Charlie Austin (Steven Hewitt 87), Danny Ings. Subs not used: Brian Jensen, Shay McCartan, Wes Fletcher.
Yellow Cards: Marvin Bartley, Chris McCann, Danny Ings, David Edgar, Lee Grant.
Brighton: Peter Brezovan, Inigo Calderon, Gordon Greer, Adam El-Abd, Joe Mattock (Craig Noone 70), Alan Navarro, Gary Dicker, Gonzalo Jara Reyes, Rodriguez Vicente, Craig Mackail-Smith, Sam Vokes (Ashley Barnes 60), Subs not used: Casper Ankergren, Kazenga LuaLua.
Yellow Cards: Craig Noone, Rodriguez Vicente.
Referee: Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire).
Attendance: 13,516 (including 870 from Brighton).