Burnley 1 v 0 Watford (FA Premier League)
Burnley Football Club returned to action this evening with the eyes of the nation watching following the incident at the Etihad Stadium on Monday evening, when a plane carrying a banner that read “White Lives Matters” flew over the stadium. This is not the only issue at Turf Moor with rumours in the national media that manager Sean Dyche is set to leave the club in the summer due to issues with the club Chairman Mike Garlick.
Dyche selected the same starting eleven that conceeded five goals at the Etihad Stadium however the manager was able to increase the numbers on the bench for this game with both Mace Goodridge and Phil Bardsley who was able to take his place on the bench after signing a new one year contract for the club on Wednesday evening.
The home side started the stronger of the two teams and had the first real effort of the half on five minutes, as Ashley Westwood played a delightful ball over the top of the Watford defence for Jay Rodriguez, who latched onto the ball on the angle of the area before hitting a volley that forced Foster into a save. The ball bounced free and was headed behind for a corner by Craig Dawson.
A minute later, Dwight McNeil collected the ball on the left-wing before beating his man and sending a pin-point cross to Josh Brownhill at the back post, he brought the ball down before sending a right-footed shot just wide of Ben Foster’s left-hand post.
On thirteen minutes, following a quick throw-in Ashley Westwood crossed into the box from deep on the right-wing for Jay Rodriguez to head the ball home unmarked from six yards passed a helpless Ben Foster, only of the goal to be disallowed for off-side. Just five minutes later, another shot from Rodriguez was saved by Ben Foster when Josh Brownhill was in a better position to score.
The Clarets should have taken the lead on twenty minutes when a long ball over the top from Ben Mee found Matej Vydra on the left-hand side, he chipped the ball over Foster who had started to come for the ball, his shot hit the post and bounced back to Rodriguez at the edge of the area and his effort was cleared off the line by Dawson before falling to Josh Brownhill who dragged his shot wide of Ben Foster’s goal.
The final effort of the half fell to Dwight McNeil who collected the ball at the edge of the Watford box and then sent a curling shot just wide of Ben Foster’s goal to leave the half time score 0-0. Sean Dyche will have been pleased with his sides effort in the first half as the Clarets were on top and should have gone in at least two goals in front.
Nigel Pearson, must have delivered an excellent half-time team talk as the visitors came out much stronger in the second-half, Watford were well on top in the opening twenty mintes of the second half. Will Hughes, who hardly touched the ball in the first-half was now controlling the game with some strong tackling and excellent passing that lead to the visitors creating some chances.
On fifty minutes, the viistors had an excellent chance to take the lead when the ball fell to Will Hughes at the edge of the Clarets box, but his curling effort was well left by Nick Pope as it went just wide of his left-hand post and out for a goalkick. Just ten minutes later the visitors had another massive chance when Nick Pope dropped a corner in the six yard box but he recovered well to save the rebound from Danny Welbeck.
The Clarets took the lead on seventy-two minutes, when Jack Cork collected the ball in the middle of the Watford half before playing the ball to Erik Pieters. He in turn slipped the ball to Dwight McNeil who crossed the ball to the edge of the six yard box for Rodriguez to glance a header beyond Ben Foster and into the goal and give the Clarets a 1-0 lead.
Burnley worked hard in the final ten minutes to protect their lead and defended well as a team, the officials added a further five minutes injury time which gave the visitors one more chance to draw level, but Cathcart headed the ball over Nick Pope’s crossbar from six yards to make the final score 1-0 to the Clarets.
Speaking after the match manager Sean Dyche said, “It has been a tough week for the club and the players, a lot has gone on at this football club and in the town in the past week and we can’t solve everything with a result, but it’s nice to get one. It showed again the players have resilience and they deserve all the credit for working so hard to gain that result. The club have tried to play their part in a really tough period probably as tough a time as I’ve had here for different reasons. The players have been first class to the varying challenges they’ve faced and the way they have conducted themselves.
We were very good for the first half an hour, then Watford came right back into it. But we’ve hit the post had another cleared off the line and caused them lots of problems. It’s hard to dominate a whole game in this league and for the first twenty-five minutes of the second half they had us on the back foot, without causing us too many problems. We have found a moment and that’s important, we came out of a 5-0 loss to a top, top team and the delivery of performance was better, sharper and with the same group of players. Sean Dyche said about his future, I am still here, I have had this before, still working with the players. It has been an emotional week, someone wrote the first time in seven years I had questioned the board, I think that’s pretty good.”
Burnley – Pope, Lowton, Taylor, Tarkowski, Mee, Cork, Westwood, Brownhill, Vydra, Rodriguez, McNeil (Subs) Peacock-Farrell, Jensen, Bardsley, Long, Pieters, Thompson, Dunne, Thomas, Goodridge
Watford – Foster, Femenia, Kabasele, Dawson, Masina, Capoue, Cleverley, Hughes, Sarr, Welbeck Deeney (Subs) Gomes, Mariappa, Chalobah, Cathcart, Doucoure, Pedro, Gray, Pussetto, Pereyra
Goals – (Burnley) Rodriguez (72)
Attendance – 0 (Behind Close doors)