It's been a long time coming

Last updated : 09 November 2014 By Tony Scholes

That's how long it has been and how nice the taste was when referee Mark Clattenburg blew that final whistle yesterday to signal our first win of the season against Hull and by that same 1-0 scoreline.

Ashley Barnes, getting just his second start in the Premier League, was the winning goalscorer, his first since the opener in the promotion clinching win against Wigan. It came early in the second half, probably too early for those of a nervous disposition, but in truth we never seriously looked as though we would relinquish that lead.

"It's been a long time coming," is a lyric from the fifty year old soul classic A Change is Gonna Come by the brilliant Sam Cooke which I just happened to hear on the radio around an hour before leaving for the Turf yesterday. It provided a start for what proved to be a very musical day.

I don't know what it was. Maybe it was because we have a good record against Hull; maybe it was because, looking through the window yesterday morning, it was a typical dank November Burnley day, but I had that almost confident feeling that maybe this would be the day. The problem is, I've had that feeling before this season so yesterday I did the sensible thing and kept it to myself.

Ashley Barnes scored our first winning goal of the season

After the traditional pre-match drink and food in the Bridge the weather remained fine as we walked up to the ground where a brass band played (tiddely-om-pom-pom) on Harry Potts Way. That took me back to my early days as a Burnley supporter when it was a common occurrence to have a brass band playing inside the ground at half time.

There was more music around the fanzone tent between the Jimmy Mac and Longside stands as news came through that Ashley Barnes had been recalled for Marvin Sordell in the only change from the team that had played at Arsenal. Ross Wallace was the player to miss out on a place in the eighteen this time, as Barnes had at the Emirates.

With both teams and the match officials wearing poppies, the traditional minute's silence to coincide with Tuesday's Remembrance Day was an even more poignant one than usual where we sit in the Longside Upper. One of our friends Andy Wood passed away last year on the eleventh day of the eleventh month after a short illness; he was just 62.

Supporters, players and officials of both clubs stood in impeccable silence as Burnley Football Club's catering manager Chris Gibson and Duke of Edinburgh's Award Manager Matt Hargreaves, on trumpets, played The Last Post.

We were ready for the game in front of what was our lowest top flight crowd at Turf Moor since Coventry beat the already relegated Clarets in April 1976 in front of 11,675. The club's money men will certainly be showing some real concern at this with less than fifteen and a half thousand home fans in attendance. Maybe they need to look at the £35 to £42 match day charges to top the crazy post promotion season ticket charges.

That lower crowd was certainly up for this one. Our away support is often praised on Eli's message board whilst the poor atmosphere at home is equally referred to. Yesterday it was much better than it's been in some games, even before the second half goal.

Steve Bruce had spoken about the difficulties of conceding an early goal. I think it was the third minute last week when the goal went in for Southampton against them. This time it was almost sooner with us coming so close in the first minute when Danny Ings got in front of James Chester but, with goalkeeper Steve Harper quick off his line, his shot went narrowly wide.

We were, no doubt about it, the better side, but might have gone behind after a poor ball by Michael Duff let in Sone Aluko. Duff's central defensive partner Jason Shackell came to the rescue, getting across and winning the ball back when Aluko looked set to, at the very least Tom Heaton.

But as the half went on we got more and more on top and thought we'd scored only to be denied by the goal decision system which, rightly, showed that the ball hadn't crossed the line. It came from a right wing corner that eventually fell to Ings. Harper made a good stop to deny the Clarets' striker only for Paul McShane to stick out a foot and turn it towards his own goal. Robbie Brady cleared just in time.

Danny's next effort, had it gone in, would have been sensational. He was in his own half when he spotted Harper off his line. Unfortunately his speculative effort from over 60 yards went wide.

When that half time whistle went it was still 0-0, bringing back memories of West Ham. In that game we'd dominated the first half and then conceded early in the second half before eventually losing 3-1. This time, thankfully, that wasn't going to happen again.

We'd played really well in that first half. Our midfield pair of Dean Marney and David Jones had been pulling the strings, and how much better we look when these two play together in the midfield, the much missed Marney and the articulate well spoken Jones. Up front the pairing of Ings and Barnes was working well. It was for me, but not for some sat close by who were all but demanding the replacement of Barnes, describing his performance as rubbish, and even worse.

Five minutes into the half and Barnes was the name on everyone's lips. Stephen Ward played the ball forward on the left to Ings who combined really well with Barnes before getting in a shot from outside the box that was blocked.

The ball found its way to Kieran Trippier on the right and his cross was perfect for Barnes to get between two defenders and head home. What a good header it was too, giving Harper absolutely no chance. For just the second time this season we'd taken the lead and now we hoped, this time, we'd be able to hold on to it.

Bruce reacted by making a double substitution and within nine minutes of the goal had made a third change. He paid for it too with Curtis Davies then suffering an injury that forced him off and left Hull to finish the game with just ten players on the pitch. At least it enabled BBC Radio 5Live to headline with 'Burnley beat 10 man Hull'.

It made no difference. We were better than them and, a frantic few minutes apart, they didn't threaten to score a goal. In those frantic few minutes they threw (not literally) balls into our box but we defended brilliantly, getting blocks in, winning headers and getting the ball away.

The only problem we had was not being caused by Hull but by ourselves. I think we'd forgotten how to win, and I don't necessarily mean the players. Everyone seemed to get a bit nervous. I certainly did; there was no way I wanted us to drop these points.

But there was to be a grand finalé, not from Burnley or Hull but the Ed Sheeran loving Clattenburg. He had a concerning day that will have alerted the assessor for sure. He didn't bother bringing out his vanishing spray initially (so now we know what the fourth official is there for) and he'd already left us with a concern having yellow carded three of our back four.

But this 'look at me' referee went card crazy as the game came to a conclusion, eventually taking his total of yellow cards to ten, yet missing the worst foul of the match that could have earned Stephen Quinn, who didn't even receive a yellow, a red card.

Clattenburg had been greeted pre-match with the playing of Runaway and Bloodstream from Sheeran's recent album, carefully selected by Trippier. By the final whistle he'd completely lost the plot and I wonder what the watching Premier League chief Richard Scudamore thought of his performance.

Still, he was the first referee this season to blow time on a Burnley win and it was greeted by one almighty roar from the home fans.

Of course it doesn't satisfy everyone. When we lose, for some, it is always because we were poor with no consideration for how well the opposition might have played. This time we won yet now, for some, it is because Hull were poor.

Hull were poor, Bruce said so, but how much of that was because we didn't let them play any better than they did? We were excellent yesterday with each and every one of our players playing his part. We were fully deserving of that first win.

It was a long time coming, a change has come - it was Sweet Soul Music to my ears.

The teams were;

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, Jason Shackell, Stephen Ward, Scott Arfield (Michael Kightly 55), Dean Marney, David Jones, George Boyd, Danny Ings, Ashley Barnes (Lukas Jutkiewicz 75). Subs not used: Matt Gilks, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, Nathaniel Chalobah, Marvin Sordell.
Yellow Cards: Jason Shackell, Stephen Ward, Michael Duff, Dean Marney, Danny Ings, Lukas Jutkiewicz.

Hull: Steve Harper, James Chester (Hatem Ben Arfa 59), Paul McShane, Ahmed Elmohamady, Tom Huddlestone (Gaston Ramirez 51), Mohamed Diame, Jake Livermore, Robbie Brady, Sone Aluko (Stephen Quinn 51), Abel Hernandez. Subs not used: Eldin Jakupovic, Liam Rosenior, Andrew Robertson, David Meyler.
Yellow Cards: James Chester, Abel Hernandez, Robbie Brady, Jake Livermore.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear).

Attendance: 16,998 (including 1,574 from Hull).