Not a toffee for the Clarets at Goodison

Last updated : 21 April 2015 By Tony Scholes

With four of our remaining six games away from home, I'd said in the build up to this game that we were in need of finding ourselves another away win but it never looked likely at all at Goodison Park where, despite the appalling refereeing of homer Mike Jones, we were second best and there could really be no complaints at the result.

Yes, Tom Heaton saved a penalty that was wrongly given and I don't think any fair minded person, Roberto Martinez being the exception, can believe that goalscorer Kevin Mirallas stayed on the pitch after an awful challenge, but, two chances apart, we never seriously threatened Everton.

With the Lancashire Cricket League opening its doors this weekend for the new season, that usually means poor weather, but it was cloudless skies all the way yesterday on a journey that would have been hit with the traffic problems had I not received a phone call to alert me around 11 a.m.

Tom Heaton saved Ross Barkley's penalty

The change of plan to go down the East Lancs proved to be a good one and it was a reasonably trouble free journey all the way to Goodison where, this time, we were more fortunate than last time with the seating.

Burnley named an unchanged team although Ross Wallace was back on the bench at the expense of Fredrick Ulvestad, and I had a sort of confident feeling as the Z Cars theme welcomed the two teams with the Clarets being Clarets too, wearing the home kit which I always prefer to see.

That pre-match confidence soon drained I'm afraid. Everton got off to a good start and we were struggling even to get a touch of the ball in the opening exchanges. It wasn't the start we wanted and it might have soon got worse when referee Jones pointed to the spot.

I don't hold with BBC commentator Alistair Mann's suggestion that Jones only had one chance to see it when it was clear the foul was outside the box. If he can't be certain then he can't give a penalty. But this was to the home team and so he did.

I waited for Leighton Baines to step up and blast it home but instead it was Ross Barkley, not the first time the obvious penalty taker has had to give way this season. It was good news for us; Tom Heaton got down to his right to save the spot kick and Jason Shackell got there first to get it out for a corner.

It made little difference to the game to be honest. Everton were very much in the ascendancy and midway through the half, significantly as it proved, Ashley Barnes tried to stop James McCarthy, missed, was yellow carded, with Jones not having a clue what to do next.

I've no complaints with the card, but he'd played an advantage which Everton wasted when a cross field ball went out of play for a throw. Jones didn't appear to have any idea how to restart the game; the players at one point lining up for a free kick. Eventually someone put him right and a throw in it was.

Aaron Lennon had just missed a chance a couple of minutes before that, just as the electronic advertising boards were advertising a concert at the Liverpool Echo Echo Echo. What chance did we have, up against both Lennon and McCartney in Liverpool?

Everton really were worth a lead and they got it just before the half hour when Kevin Mirallas got onto a ball in from the right, appeared to make a mess of it but the ball dropped nicely for him to drill it home.

We really could have no complaints but soon after we should have been level. David Jones and Danny Ings linked up with Ings setting up the midfielder only for his right foot shot to go over the bar. Jones is not prolific in front of goal. It's now over a year since he scored but at the very least he should have tested Tim Howard.

We had a couple of penalty shouts. The handball was one that sometimes you get, sometimes you don't. This morning on Goals on Sunday they showed Jones giving them to home teams and refusing them to away teams. The foul on Scott Arfield looked a clear one to me.

But it remained at 1-0 as the board went up for two extra minutes at the end of the first half, and I don't think we could have any complaints.

I was hoping we might change things after the break with one of our wide players coming on to allow Barnes to move into the middle at the expense of Sam Vokes who really looks to be struggling as he tries to regain full fitness.

That idea was blown out of the water before the two minutes had been played. I don't know why Barnes, with four seconds of the time added on to play, opted to go diving in on the half way line on Seamus Coleman. There was no malice, but once he'd missed the ball it gave Jones just the opportunity to wave another card.

Cards I should say, first yellow and then red, and Barnes became the first Burnley player sent off since Michael Duff at Huddersfield in November 2013. If Mourinho was watching I reckon he would have noted Minute 45+2.

That was always going to make things difficult for us but it should have been that little bit easier with just over five minutes of the second half gone. Mirallas caught George Boyd over on the far side with Jones immediately waving his yellow card.

News quickly filtered through to us that both Paul Merson and Jeff Stelling on Sky were saying it was a clear red, and that was backed up by Chris Sutton on BBC. I've since seen it and you have to wonder just on earth how any referee can allow a player to stay on the pitch after that. He's got away with it; there can be no retrospective action because Jones has seen it and deemed it a yellow.

Who knows how things might have gone at 10 v 10. We did OK, I thought, with a man short, and, despite a couple of Burnley fans coming out at the end of the game blaming Lukas Jutkiewicz for the defeat, I thought we improved when he came on for Vokes.

But in truth, Everton always looked the more likely and the only real chance we had came five minutes from the end when Danny Ings could do no more than head a Kieran Trippier cross over the bar.

Both Ross Wallace and Matt Taylor had just come on by then and both, despite the little time on the pitch, offered more than those who had gone off. It would not surprise me at all to see Taylor start next week for the suspended Barnes but I do wonder what Michael Kightly has done to be continually overlooked.

The Leicester win against Swansea ensured we were bottom of the league and it is not exactly where you want to be with only five games remaining.

The problem is clear, we just can't score goals. It's the fifteenth time this season we've failed to score in a Premier League game. Five of those came in the first six games, but worryingly  six of them have come in the last seven games. Since Ben Mee scored the Minute 81 equaliser at Chelsea, only George Boyd with the Man City winner has found the net.

Aston Villa and Sunderland are the only teams to have scored less. Villa, though, have scored 11 in their last six games as they've pulled away from the bottom, and that leaves Sunderland who, like us, are in deep trouble at the bottom, they've scored just four in nine games since beating us at the end of January.

It's not over yet, not by any means. Sunderland too had 26 points from 33 games last season and were bottom before picking up 12 points from the last five games. It won't take anything quite as remarkable as that, but we do need to start winning soon and we do need to start scoring goals again, and importantly we need to do that starting next week against a Leicester side who climbed off the bottom yesterday for the first time since November.

One thing is certain; we'll have to play considerably better than we did at Goodison yesterday and we can't afford to miss chances like those squandered yesterday by Jones and Ings.

Again our best performers were at the other end of the pitch. The back four did well enough, Michael Duff and Ben Mee in particular, and Heaton's performance was excellent. Now those further up the pitch need to do just as well.

The teams were;

Everton: Tim Howard, Seamus Coleman, John Stones, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Gareth Barry, Aaron Lennon, James McCarthy (Muhamed Besic 88), Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas (Romelu Lukaku 61), Arouna Koné (Steven Naismith 80). Subs not used: Joel Robles, Luke Garbutt, Antolin Alcaraz, Aiden McGeady.
Yellow Card: Kevin Mirallas.

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, Jason Shackell, Ben Mee, George Boyd (Ross Wallace 84), Scott Arfield, David Jones (Matt Taylor 84), Ashley Barnes, Danny Ings, Sam Vokes (Lukas Jutkiewicz 59). Subs not used: Matt Gilks, Michael Keane, Stephen Ward, Michael Kightly.
Yellow Cards: Ashley Barnes, Scott Arfield, Jason Shackell.
Red Card: Ashley Barnes.

Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire).

Attendance: 39,496.