End to end at Burnley

I finally visited Turf Moor to see Burnley play after a 60 year wait. Back in 1961 Burnley were the Liverpool or Man City of the day and were playing in the European Cup having won the League the previous season. They had received a bye in the first round, beaten Reims in the next and now faced Hamburg in the quarter finals having won 3.1 at home the second leg was on TV in the afternoon. Getting home from school in time for the match I unfortunately saw them lose 1.4 and and were elimimated on agregate. The tears just rolled down my face, the first of many football disappointments that you learn to endure that is all part of the football experience.

So my son and I travelled north to Burnley on a dull day and it felt colder as we walked to the ground with the first spots of rain falling on us as we went through the turnstile. Inside a coffee and a Hollands meat and potato pie was welcomed (no chips here) as we chatted about the game and our last visit to a Premier League ground which had been to Everton nearly two years since, where today’s opponents Crystal Palace had been the visitors then. We hoped that the dull draw we saw then would not be repeated and noted Palace’s better results this term under new manager Patrick Vieira. We made our way to our seats 30 minutes before the game but decided to return to the concourse as the rain was now in full force and where we were to sit, although under cover, was getting soaked. We left it till near the start and found that everyone in the area of our allocated seats stood. This was a blessing as the seats were wet through. The supporters in this area of the ground were a noisy bunch which added to a good atmosphere. Although the supporters around us shouted, sang, chanted and chided the referee and third official, for what I have to say were some bemuseing decisions, it was all good hearted with very little swearing.

Burnley have a proud history having been formed in 1882 and have won the top English League twice and the FA Cup once. Their last top League win was just over 60 years ago and after a period in the doldrums have recently been constant members of the Premier League under no nonsense manager Sean Dyche.

This is an old ground that has been developed with individual stands on each side that has a good atmosphere and is adequate for their supporter base. The pitch was beautiful but the constant rain made the pitch slippery and the light wind blew the rain onto the first rows of supporters.

Burnley 3 Crystal Palace 3

Saturday 20th November 2021. 3.00pm kick off.

Crystal Palace have thrown off their dull play mantel dominating the play from the start to the delight of their large contingent of travelling fans who were matched and bettered by the Turf Moor locals.

The rejuvinated Christian Benteke latched onto a ball in the box in the box, turned, and hit an unstoppable left foot shot that seemed to take a deflection that ended up in the corner of the net having grazed the left hand post on 8 minutes. Palace kept up the pressure but unexpectedly from a corner on the left a static defence let Ben Mee rise above everyone to head home the equaliser at 19 minutes. Only 8 minutes later the same disconnect in the away teams defence allowed Chris Wood to head home when some confusion after a free-kick left Wood to score with a perfectly placed header past the leaping goalkeeper.

Benteke should have done better and drew Palace level when he had an open goal but headed wide.

Although ahead, Burnley couldn’t stem the away teams dominance and it was no surprise they were level when Benteke easily scored after receiving a great measured pass from the impressive Conor Gallagher. The move had been started by the Palace goalkeeper and passed through the field with no Burnley player getting anywhere near the ball.

It was now anyone’s game but it was Palace who went in ahead at half time when Guehi’s shot was deflected in after some frantic play following a corner.

Expecting another all action half the play calmed down with Burnley getting on top and back in the game when James Tarkowski’s run and high cross was met by Maxwell Cornet who hit a goal of the season by volleying the cross into the top left hand corner. Turf Moor erupted and Burnley stayed in charge and players and fans were incensed by some strange decisions from the officials.

Wilfried Zaha had a shot tipped onto the bar by Nick Pope but Burnley should have taken all three points at the death when substitute Hydra should have scored when put through with only the keeper to beat. Vincente Guaita bravely saved and the breathtaking game came to an end. Both Managers will have felt that they should have taken all three points.

I have had Holland’s pies before and would say that they are one of my favourites but this meat and potato pie was a disapointing mush.

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