We headed into the East Lancashire Derby at Ewood Park in sparkling form. A defeat for Derby on Saturday meant regardless of the result, we would sit pretty in 2nd place; a minimum 5 points clear of Derby in 3rd place. But why settle for that? Why not push on and make a real statement of intent? A statement that we are the real deal this season.
Managerial maestro Sean Dyche named yet again an unchanged line up. Vokes and Ings' amazing partnership up front no doubt a worry for Rovers fans; having conceded 4 goals against Bolton only a week ago.
|Danny Ings scored the winner|
Both sides came out all guns blazing. Jordan Rhodes had a great opportunity in the opening minutes; Heaton rushing with desperation to prevent the opener coming for Rovers. It could have gone either way. Sam Vokes poking in a goal from the 6 yard line, only to be a yard offside. Very close, but even so early it was a key moment in the game.
Rovers started pushing forward more. A lovely cross if I say so myself from Lowe, into the path of Jordan Rhodes. Fighting off two defenders, he slipped it past the keeper at the far side.
Rovers taking the lead against Burnley at Ewood Park. We've heard it too many times. Many a fan worried we wouldn't do it this time. But this is a different Burnley. This is a Burnley in top gear. A Burnley side vying and making a strong case for automatic promotion. Would we lie down and take a defeat in the Lancashire derby again? Like hell we would!
Before the half time mark, Ings latched on to a very poor pass back from Craig Conway. Ings took it one on one with Paul Robinson, albeit a very tight angle, and failed to take advantage of two opportunities.
Like I was saying, both teams went for it. Ben Mee literally clearing off the line from a Conway shot right before half time. Had it gone in, 2-0 would have probably buried us right before half time.
Half time came and went. Jordan Rhodes took advantage of a poor David Jones pass back, one on one with Heaton, he swept it past, only to be stopped by the post.
Then comes the defining minutes of the game. David Dunn; a talismanic figure in these derbies; substituted, with Liam Feeney taking his place. On the other bench, Ross Wallace replaced Michael Kightly.
Ashley Barnes brought down in the attacking half. Ross Wallace whips in a marvelous free kick for captain Shackell to slam home with a powerful header. All level!!!
I'll be honest, I'd have settled for a point at this stage. I am of that generation where a point is the best we've managed against Rovers. I had never seen us beat them, so dreams of beating them were quite literally dreams.
Only minutes later, another cross in this time reaching Ross Wallace. Frantic and desperation showed in his attempts to keep the ball, managing a pass which was poked for Danny Ings to slam in to the net. Sheer delirium in the Darwen end. 2-1 to Burnley. 12 minutes to go. No Dunn on the pitch and Burnley in top gear.
THIS was our time to put an end to the 35 years of hate, pain, jibes and frustration.
Desperate attempts by the Rovers squad came and went. Mike Dean eventually blowing his whistle. The game was over. Danny Ings has etched his name in Burnley folklore and history.
We can finally, and very proudly say, we BEAT the Rovers.
Rovers haven't beat us in 4 years now. You'd have thought they would have at least made an effort by now.
8 points clear of Derby and 5 behind 1st place Leicester with a dozen games to go. Why just settle for automatic promotion? We have shown what we are capable of. We have proven we are the real deal. Watch out Leicester - Burnley are coming to get you! The title race is on!