Vokes comes to the rescue

Last updated : 10 August 2015 By Tony Scholes

I'd already decided this was going to be our first goalless draw opener for over thirty years. I didn't see a goal coming at either end so when Mirco Antenucci gave Leeds the lead on 83 minutes with a superb finish, I feared the worst.

One thing you should never do with a Sean Dyche side is write it off and less than three minutes later we were level with an equally good goal,  a superb header from Vokes from a Tendayi Darikwa cross.

It's a long time since Sam scored a league goal. It came from the penalty spot in the 2-0 home win against Doncaster in March 2014 but his last league goal in open play was scored at Birmingham earlier that month, our third in a 3-3 draw.

It had been a typical opening day of the season, virtually cloudless skies and the temperatures higher than they've been for most of the summer. Ours was a complicated route via car, train and taxi (don't ask) but we got there just as England had taken their ninth wicket and Michael Clarke was busy signing his resignation letter.

Sam Vokes scored his first league goal since March 2014

It was good to catch up with a few people who I haven't seen since the end of last season and two in particular who I haven't seen for some time.

Once in the ground I found I had a decent seat, close to the front of the upper tier affording me as good a view as possible. What I didn't know is that three people on the second row would opt to stand, therefore forcing the rest of us to do likewise for the entire game. I also had the misfortune to be in front of a couple of Burnley fans who spent most of the game doing nothing other than abusing our own players in what could possibly be described as not the best of language.

There was a surprise when Tom Heaton was named as captain. I don't think I've ever seen a goalkeeper captain the Clarets before, not even my old hero Adam Blacklaw, but Sean Dyche's reasons for the choice were fine and so it was Tom, who has recently signed an extended deal, led out the team we expected it to be, the one that had played in Michael Duff's testimonial last week.

The game proved to be what I think we all expected, a tough one and a tight one that could perhaps of gone either away. For much of it there was little in terms of goalmouth action and the two goals really did come out of the blue as the game was coming to a close.

Having said that, there really could have been goals at either end in the first quarter of an hour and our new captain and the referee Kevin Friend can take a lot of responsibility for their not being.

Heaton made a terrific save to deny Stuart Dallas, someone getting enough on it to force the shot up and onto the bar before it was cleared, but only Friend and his partner in crime Constantine Hatzidakis will know how we didn't win two penalties either side of that Heaton save.

Charlie Taylor clearly hauled down Lukas Jutkiewicz for what looked to me a clear penalty but how on earth the two officials missed the Guiseppe Bellusci handball is hard to believe. You won't get one any clearer; it was blatantly hand to ball.

We could have been behind but could so easily have been in front with those awards, but the longer the first half went on the better I thought we got. Michael Kightly, who impressed in this game, was really close with a shot in from the left which Jelle Vossen all but got a touch to, Jutkiewicz saw an effort well saved by Marco Silvstri and Vossen was so unlucky to see an effort deflected wide.

I'd been impressed with our first half performance and felt that should we continue then this was a very winnable game. Unfortunately, we weren't quite as good in the second half although for much of it I didn't think we were ever in much danger of losing it.

Leeds certainly should have scored though early in the half when Sam Byram set up Alex Mowatt. The midfielder, who was their best player, hit his shot towards the far bottom corner but to our relief it went wide.

There was a spell when they looked to be on top, and they certainly made use of the size of Chris Wood up front, but they weren't creating too much and generally we were keeping them out comfortably with the two central defenders, particularly Michael Keane, impressing.

With around twenty minutes to go came the first substitutions; one for Leeds and two for us, and two of those players were to make their mark on the game.

We were into the 83rd minute when Leeds got the ball up to Mirco Antenicci on the right hand side of the pitch. He turned inside and hit a superb left foot curler which Heaton had no chance of keeping out.

It's not a bad time to score a goal and give your team the lead and it left us facing defeat on the opening day of a Football League season since that disaster day at Hillsborough in 2008.

But the equaliser was to come and I don't think anyone could have chosen anyone better to score it.

Leeds had pushed for a second but the ball dropped for Heaton to collect and we didn't lose possession again. Eventually we got the ball out onto the right where Darikwa and George Boyd combined.

Boyd went on a great run before laying the ball back for Darikwa. His cross was met by Vokes whose header was perfect. The goalkeeper gave up on it and suddenly the away stand at Elland Road was celebrating.

There was still plenty of time remaining and five minutes were added on at the end. There was to be no further action at either end and a draw it was.

I never fancied this one as the opener. It's not a good place for us and to be honest it was not the best of places to go when they were welcoming yet another new manager. How long he'll last is hard to say but he should see it through another couple of weeks at least after this point.

As for us; we know we need strengthening in some areas and we can only hope signings will arrive before this window closes, but we also know we are going to be a very difficult team to beat again this season.

This was a team performance but I did think there were terrific individual performances within it from Keane, Kightly and Jutkiewicz.

It's to Port Vale next and then home for the first home league game of the season against Birmingham. It will be our fourth successive Football League game to be televised live by Sky and our fifth in the last six games. Are we becoming a big draw?

The teams were;

Leeds: Marco Silvestri, Gaetano Berardi, Guiseppe Bellusci, Sol Bamba, Charlie Taylor, Lewis Cook (Scott Wootton 90), Tom Adeyemi, Alex Mowatt (Souleymane Doukara 89), Sam Byram, Chris Wood, Stuart Dallas (Mirco Antenucci 70). Subs not used: Ross Turnbull, Liam Cooper, Lee Erwin, Kalvin Phillips.
Yellow Card: Sol Bamba.

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Tendayi Darikwa, Michael Duff, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, George Boyd, Scott Arfield, David Jones, Michael Kightly (Matt Taylor 89), Jelle Vossen (Marvin Sordell 69), Lukas Jutkiewicz (Sam Vokes 70). Subs not used: Matt Gilks, Cameron Dummigan, Tom Anderson, Stephen Ward.
Yellow Cards: Scott Arfield, Michael Kightly.

Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).

Attendance: 27,672 (including 1,719 Clarets).