Clarets' Away Day Blues at Goodison Park

16 April 2017 07:58

To visit Goodison Park  is akin to visiting a historic football throwback;  an old-fashioned, ramshackle stadium that is ingloriously penned in by row upon row of Victorian era terraced houses.

Similar to Burnley at Turf Moor, Everton reside very much within the heart of their community but still nestle in the shadow of the towering edifice of Anfield’s new stand, haughtily taunting them from across neighbouring Stanley Park.

But despite the homely familiarity of the surroundings, playing against Everton on their own manor is far from welcoming.

After their 3-1 defeat yesterday, Sean Dyche, in his post-match interview for the BBC, was absolutely correct to praise the mentality and organisation of his Burnley team. There was little wrong with the Clarets’ performance, especially throughout an impressive first half, but matches pivot on key moments and during that first half, Sam Vokes broke clear down the inside left channel, a split-second’s hesitation was all it took for Everton goalkeeper Robles to narrow the angle and repel Vokes’ shot.

In the second half; Romelu Lukaku found himself in a very similar position, with Lukaku, however, there was no such hesitancy; just a slick turn and a powerful strike beyond Tom Heaton.

That is what thirty million quid buys you; that assurance, that accuracy and that potency in front of goal. That is what Burnley – for all their endeavour, commitment and organisation – are lacking, particularly away from home.

During the course of this season, I have witnessed almost exact facsimiles of yesterday’s display at Arsenal and at Manchester City. Both those games may well have yielded points for Burnley had they been able to put away their chances.

Those chances are rare and come at a premium, which makes their conversion into goals so much more important. 

Nevertheless, there was enough about Burnley’s display to engender sufficient optimism that those last few elusive points needed to secure survival will arrive soon.

As a fan, I feel like Alistair Brownlee, desperate to help his staggering brother over the finishing line as those last few yards seemed insurmountable. 

To add a footnote, my view at Goodison Park yesterday, was severely restricted by some ignoramus who, not content with booing throughout the minute’s applause for the Hillsborough victims, insisted on standing on his seat throughout the second half. 

With no steward in sight, and with my natural British reticence to illicit a confrontation, I took the only course of action open to me; I tutted, shook my head and gave him a frown so penetrating that it would surely have burned into the tattoo on the back of his neck. If the culprit is reading this, your conduct, sir, has incurred my displeasure.

"Mersey Blues for Burnley" was written by uber Clarets fan and regular contributor to Clarets Mad, Dave Thornley.

Source: DSG