Burnley 2 - 1 Everton
Another three o’clock kick-off on a Saturday so we had a leisurely run up, had a look around and nothing seemed to have changed since we were last here two years ago. It seems to me one of those places that time sort of stands still. Nice friendly people and always a good welcome in the ale house.
The teams were pored over as they arrived and no major shocks, just two changes, including Barkley for Cleverely. Most approved of that and we all hoped Ross could finally find some form and run the show. He had a good go I will give him that.
They kick off and right away we win the ball back and attack which saw Burnley have a mix up at the back which allowed Mirallas a shot on goal but straight at the keeper. We kept up the pressure and a ball up to Lukaku saw him execute an exquisite turn and in one movement leave his man and sweep the ball to Bolasie whose shot was blocked for a corner. From the corner the ball was worked back to the taker Mirallas who had his shot blocked but it went back to Bolasie who fired in an overhead kick wide.
Burnley worked a breakaway and Lukaku was back to help defend but made a hash of an attempted clearance which resulted in a melee in our box and we scrambled out for a corner which, when taken, the Burnley man shot over bar. All this before the 15-minute mark and really it told the story of the game. Everton would have all the attacking; Burnley would have breakaways that we would not defend well and so it was.
I noticed we were trying a different corner routine today with Barry standing close to the taker who was Mirallas and he would pass to Barry who would then try and find the best ball to get us in on goal but I think it needs a tad more practice as it was no more successful than any other we have taken. It maybe the start of something, who knows. I checked my watch with around 20 minutes or more gone and more of the same taking place. Everton attacking well and reaching the edges of their box but always breaking down at the last for a variety of reasons. Poor touch, shot off target or straight at keeper, lack of care and vision plus a lot of damned good Burnley blocks.
From the half-hour mark Burnley started to look more of a threat and it started with a terrible free kick from Jags who tried a ten yard pass to a Burnley player instead of one of ours. This led to a bit of panic as Burnley now looked for an opening and worked the ball wide but our man Stek coming out well and gathering to relieve the pressure. We went up the other end and Lukaku looked clear onto their keeper but a defender slid in and took the ball off his toe. Another poor free kick by Jags gave the ball to Burnley who broke forward but Oviedo did well in tidying up his mess.
No doubt Burnley were gaining in confidence as, although we had all the attacking, our failure to hit the net was giving them that feeling they could nick one. Lo and behold, Lukaku failed to take the ball clear from the half way line and Arfield profited, running on goal with a shot which he seemed to scuff but our keeper seemed bewildered by the miss-hit and went down a bit late, only weakly parried the ball into the path of Vokes who netted. Oh, the disappointment. Stek, saint last week sinner this week, eh?
From the goal we looked visibly shell-shocked, which was reflected in our passes being without much conviction and were either too strong or too weak. This led to a bit more panic when they attacked and Coleman was soon booked for a daft challenge. I thought I will be glad for the H/T whistle but not half as glad as Big Ron. The whistle went just as another miss-hit cross sailed wide. How apt, I mused.
H/T 1-0 down
The H/T chat wasn’t very constructive as that feeling of we have been here before many times and know only too well that feeling of disappointment laced with, ‘Here we go again’
We were first out for the second half and we were full of hope that the H/T team talk would see us mount the fight back and gain all the points. Well it should have done but...
From the off we attacked and earned a corner and again we used our new routine, Mirallas short to Barry who looked up and found Ross on the edge of the box. He got a shot in but not a very good one and the keeper easily dealt with it. We got to around the hour mark and it had been all Everton. Surely a goal is on the way I thought as we gain a free kick. Mirallas took it and gained a corner as the travelling faithful reached full voice in support of our lads. You might say trying to suck the ball in. The corner came over, the whistle went, Ashley was deemed to have fouled. Drat.
Just a minute later and Barry found the pass of the match to slide Lukaku through on goal and then the comedy bit as Lukaku found Bolasie running alongside him and had the temerity to outmuscle him and speed on goal and hit a shot across the keeper and into the net. The roar was heard in Spellow Lane, L4. I believe that was his first goal for us. The fans sang the Bolasie song and many other chants. Now we could turn our superiority into more goals and a win—well we should have done but...
Everton attacked and attacked again but that final ball or piece of magic in the box was absent and move after move ended in sorrow rather than a goal. I think one now could have opened the flood gates but getting one was proving elusive. Time was ticking on and we put a move together where I thought, "this is it". Coleman and Bolasie combined and made ground up our right, Coleman overlapped Bolasie who fed him in at just the right moment and Coleman from the by-line put in a great cross that looked like a tap in for Lukaku until a sliding Burnley centre back got his toe to the ball a fraction before Rom and a corner was all that great move was worth.
Clock ticking down fast, it was all Everton but a determined Burnley threw heads and bodies in where angels fear to tread. With 15 minutes to go both teams made subs. For us it was Deulofeu for Mirallas. Deulofeu was soon running at them and either getting a good cross in or a poor one which was a shame as he was seeing plenty of the ball. We were peppering their goal now and doing everything but score.
Bolasie tried a long range thunder bolt to try to catch the keeper off his line but the keeper did well and got back and tipped over. Burnley made another sub and Flanagan came on and the whole travelling end booed — I wonder why? Then Big Ron subbed Gueye for Cleverley. I didn’t quite understand that one as I thought it weakened us a bit in midfield but Gueye could have a twinge or tweak I suppose.
With the clock ticking, we continue to pepper their goal. Lukaku shot, Barkley shot, Bolasie shoot, among others, but all shots are either blocked or deflected as we go into 4 minutes of added time. All of a sudden I felt cold as we gave away a foul near the half-way line and their keeper sent everyone forward and prepared to take the kick.
I came over with a horrible feeling that said to me, ‘surely we can’t give it away now’. The keeper took the kick. I seemed to view things in slow motion as first we half-cleared and the Burnley lad shot and hit the bar with some pace and came out into play but straight to the Burnley man Arfield who hit it back into the net. I joined in with the hush then finally realised we had LOST.
I don’t remember much after that. Oh yes for two minutes Enner Valencia replaced Jags. A horrible feeling. We battered them to a 2-1 defeat.,MotM – Barry and Gueye were as good as any.
Well, that game will take some forgetting but all we can do is hope that Big Ron and his staff can work wonders with what we have now and try to strengthen window by window. On today’s showing we are a few players short even for the short term. Still crazy game this football and in a league where anyone can match anyone and consistency is fleeting who knows?
See you for breakfast in L4 a week tomorrow and hope it is our day.
UP THE BLUES
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