Toffees inflict another 3-1 home defeat

Last updated : 27 October 2014 By Tony Scholes

All the talk is of when Burnley will win a first Premier League game. "It's a must win game," someone said to me on Friday, adding: "We are down if we don't win this one."

The criticism is starting to increase but others can appreciate that this league is more difficult than we might have thought and winning games is going to be a tough ask for us throughout the season.

Even so, outside the ground yesterday there was the usual level of confidence that this might be our day as the team news came through with Stephen Ward getting the nod at left back over Ben Mee.

Ward has played 28 times at full international level for the Republic of Ireland. He was one of three full internationals named in the starting eleven; Michael Duff (24 caps for Northern Ireland) and George Boyd (2 caps for Scotland) were the others. We also had Scottish internationals Matt Gilks and Ross Wallace on the bench.

Stephen Ward was preferred at left back

Contrast that with Everton. Roberto Martinez named a starting eleven of full internationals and the two players he brought on during the second half were also full internationals. Between them they have won a staggering 546 full caps for their respective countries.

I know they count for nothing when a game at Turf Moor kicks off but I do think it shows the level of opposition we were up against as we kicked off in front of the live television cameras for the last time in 2014.

The start couldn't have been much worse. I don't think we'd hardly touched the ball when we fell behind in only the fourth minute. It was a good move from Everton but we really should have done better than allow them to get the ball from right to left to leave Leighton Baines totally unmarked down the left flank.

Baines did what Baines does; he got in the perfect cross for Samuel Eto'o to get past David Jones and in front of Jason Shackell to head home. The ball flew in and out of the net so quickly that some weren't sure it had actually gone in, but gone in it had and we were a goal down and up against it right from the start.

Whether it affected us or not, we certainly struggled to get any foothold into the game for some time. Everton were totally dominating the possession but thankfully didn't create much more in terms of goalscoring opportunities.

Eventually we started to get some of the play and took the game to Everton and for a period we were very much the team in the ascendancy. We were getting the ball into the Everton box and causing them some problems. More than once they were forced to block shots and there was a real hope in the stands that we could get back into this one.

And we did, the goal coming via a bad mistake from Romelu Lukaku. His sloppy play close to the half way line so him give the ball away to Lukas Jutkiewicz who quickly saw a Danny Ings' run. Juke played an inch perfect left foot pass for Ings, who had timed his run perfectly.

Last season's leading goalscorer, who I haven't seen score at Turf Moor since New Year's Day, having been forced to miss the Millwall game, got it absolutely right, taking the ball round goalkeeper Tim Howard and sliding the ball home into the empty net.

It's a brilliant feeling watching a ball move goalwards when you know there is no chance of anyone preventing it going in. Huge roars for Ings were, of course, dampened by the moronic goal music, but Burnley were level and very much in this game.

If only we could have got another. Scott Arfield shot just wide and we were beginning to put them under some real pressure, but unfortunately that came to an end just before the half hour when Everton went back in front.

It was a slick move but there was some fortune about the way it went in. Ward got a good block in but the ball landed just right for Lukaku who then scuffed his shot which I think deceived Tom Heaton and in it went.

Jutkiewicz was causing them some real problems but he should have done better when he again got the better of Antolin Alcaraz. He had options but chose to shoot and from an angle fired well wide.

Another Arfield effort just off target gave us some real hope that we could still get something out of this game as referee Andre Marriner blew for half time.

That said, the positivity in this report comes to an end because at not stage during that second half did we ever seriously threaten to get back into things. We had one early opportunity when the ball just wouldn't drop for Juke but it was to be a half of very little goalmouth option.

Everton had really taken control of the game. They were dictating the tempo and were dominating possession. They certainly weren't a side who felt there was any urgency to score a third goal and they were just basically closing the game down.

The whole place went flat. Any enthusiasm from the stands evaporated and this was the most stale atmosphere I've witnessed inside Turf Moor for quite some time.

Ashley Barnes replaced Jutkiewicz just past the hour. I know Juke is getting some stick just now, and much of that is down to his goal tally showing zero, but I think we are a much better team with him on the pitch than off it and there was no evidence here to suggest the introduction of Barnes offered us anything better at all.

No matter what we did it was Everton who remained in total control and it wasn't until the last few minutes that we made any more changes. For what it's worth, I'd have introduced Ross Wallace. He's the player that can potentially unlock the door with a quality ball into the box.

But within a couple of minutes, Marvin Sordell came on for Michal Kightly and then Nathaniel Chalobah replaced George Boyd.

Between those two substitutions, Everton gift wrapped the points with a third goal, and a stunning second from Eto'o as he fired into the corner of the net from distance leaving Heaton without a hope.

There were just five minutes remaining when that goal went in, but with the game won it opened up and there could so easily have been three more goals.

Steven Naismith fired wide when he might have done better and Eto'o was so close to a hat trick after a howler of a back pass from Kieran Trippier. From the tightest of angles he shot low only to see his effort come back off the foot of the far post, before all but rolling across the line into the grateful hands of Heaton.

At the other end, Ings did so, so well to get through and get a shooting position but fired his effort over the bar.

Who knows? Had that gone in we might just have given Everton an interesting few minutes but it was not to be and it would have been unjust had they returned to Merseyside with anything less than all three points.

There was some moaning coming away from the ground but not much I have to say, and I had a good conversation with Woody from London Clarets who basically said: "We are what we are."

That's how it is in this league. We will come up against teams throughout the season who will be that much better than us, and if they get the chance to control the game as Everton did then they will do just that.

It was though, without doubt, the most disappointing of the three home defeats. We accepted the one against Chelsea because they looked to be on another planet, and we at least saw us play as well as we've played all season in the first half against West Ham.

We did look a bit flat in the second half yesterday, but I did think much of that was down to just how good a side Everton looked, and I'd love a Gareth Barry in my team. He might not have been the best midfielder at international level but what a damn good player he is in the Premier League.

Matt Evans wrote in the guest report: "Now is not the time for deriding the efforts of the Board of Directors and the players as seems to happen after every defeat," and I would wish to echo those words.

For reasons we are not likely to see repeated, our Premier League season in 2009/10 was totally ruined. We can't, and surely don't want that to happen again.

I know we are not where we would wish to be. I know we weren't expecting to still be searching for our first win as we prepare to go into November, but now is the time, more than any, when we need everyone pulling in the same direction, and that includes each and every one of us in the stands.

Will we get that first win of the season at Arsenal in five days time? It looks a tall order but I'm sure we'll be better equipped if the 3,000 Clarets are behind the team as I'm sure they will be.

Yesterday was definitely not a must win game, but there is no doubt we need to start finding some wins from somewhere soon.

The teams were;

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, Jason Shackell, Stephen Ward, George Boyd (Nathaniel Chalobah 86), Scott Arfield, David Jones, Michael Kightly (Marvin Sordell 84), Danny Ings, Lukas Jutkiewicz (Ashley Barnes 84). Subs not used: Matt Gilks, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, Ross Wallace.
Yellow Cards: George Boyd, Scott Arfield, Stephen Ward, Ashley Barnes.

Everton: Tim Howard, Seamus Coleman, Antolin Alcaraz, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, James McCarthy, Gareth Barry, Steven Naismith, Samuel Eto'o, Leon Osman (Steven Pienaar 82), Romelu Lukaku (Ross Barkley 65). Subs not used: Robles, Tony Hibbert, Darron Gibson, Besic, Aiden McGeady.
Yellow Cards: Romelu Lukaku, Steven Naismith.

Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands).

Attendance: 19,927.