Crystal Palace 0 v 1 Burnley (FA Premier Legue)
Burnley Football Club arrived in the capital by train from Stockport as the Clarets retuned to Premier League action against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Manager Sean Dyche had to make two changes to the side that beat Watford at Turf Moor last week, with full-back Matthew Lowton and striker Jay Rodriguez replaced by Erik Pieters and Phil Bardsley due to injury. Sean Dyche continued to prove a point to the board with seven players named on the bench, six of which were from the Clarets youth team squad.
The Clarets started the stronger of the two sides and enjoying most of the possession in the first-half. On twelve minutes, the home side won a free-kick in a dangerous position but the effort from Luka Milivojevic went high over Nick Pope’s crossbar. Just five minutes later, a great move by the Clarets as Dwight McNeil feed Josh Brownhill on the right and his first-time cross into the area went just over Erik Pieters.
The visitors should have taken the lead on nineteen minutes, when an Ashley Westwood corner was sent towards goal by Ben Mee only to see Van Aanholt block the effort on the line, before Dwight McNeil fired over Guaita’s crossbar from the angle of the six yard box.
On twenty-one minutes, another chance for the Clarets as Dwight McNeil looking lively just behind Matej Vydra, this time driving forward passed three Crystal Palace defenders to the edge of the area before firing a shot at Guaita, in the home side goal.
Jordan Ayew, had Crystal Palace’s first real effort at goal on thirty-one minutes, as he collected the ball in the pocket between the Clarets midfield and back four before taking a shot from the edge of the visistors area that went staright into the arms of Nick Pope.
The visitors had the final effort of the first-half, when they were awarded a free-kick after Josh Brownhill is brought down on the right wing just outside the area. However the resulting free-kick was wasted by the Clarets as Ashley Westwood sent the ball over and out for a goalkick, leaving the half-time score 0-0.
Roy Hodgson, who is now the oldest manager to have managed a club in the top flight of english football, made one change at half-time bring on James McCarthy for Kouyate as they looked to add more strenght into their midfield for the second-half. It looked to have worked just two minutes into the half when Zaha played a ball into Jordan Ayew inside the box, but as he turned and lined up a shot at goal James Tarkowski managed to get in a last ditch tackle and turn the ball away for a corner.
On fifty minutes, the games big talking point arrived as a decision for a possible red card was sent to Stockley Park for a VAR decision, as Jordan Ayew and Josh Brownhill battled for the ball on the halfway line, Ayew took a look at Brownhill before hitting him in the face with a forearm. VAR looked at the incident around seven or eight times before coming to the decision of no card, however head of referee’s Dermot Gallagher who was himself sat in Stockley Park said live on air that it was a red card and the officials got it wrong.
On sixty minutes, Dwight McNeil won a free-kick midway into the Crystal Palace half which was taken by Ashley Westwood, the ball found Clarets Captain Ben Mee who was making his 300th appearance for the club just inside the Palace area, his diving header hit the Palace keeper’s hand before hitting the post and going into the net to make it 1-0.
The Clarets lost another player on seventy minutes, when a challenge on Jack Cork lead to the midfielder being taken off and replaced by the on senior member of the Clarets squad on the bench Kevin Long, as the Clarets went to a back five for the final twenty minutes.
Wilfred Zaha, had a chance on the eighty-third minute but his shot was block by Charlie Taylor and went for a corner, from the resulting corner Mee made a last minute header off the line at the back post over the crossbar. But the Clarets defence were strong and held firm to win the match 1-0, as Nick Pope collected his 13th clean sheet of the season.
Speaking after the match manager Sean Dyche said, “In the first half we played very well and I think we shaded it, we’ve had to change things with the stretched squad we have and we did very well. In the second half Palace came out strongly and we lost our way a little bit but we stayed resolute and we had to change our shape, because we had kids on the bench and we didn’t want to throw them in.
The media have been linking us with qualifying for the UEFA Europa League it’s possible but there is a long way to go because of how thin our squad is. There are no excuses though the mentality in the squad is good and the players have to keep the physicality strong if we are to make a push for Europe.”
Crystal Palace – Guaita, Ward, Dann, Cahill, Van-Aanholt, Milivojevic, Townsend, Kouyate, McArthur, Zaha, Ayew (Subs) Meyer, Sakho, Hennessey, McCarthy, Woods, Tavares, Mitchell, Pierrick, Riedewald
Burnley – Pope, Bardsley, Taylor, Tarkowski, Mee, Cork, Westwood, Brownhill, Pieters, McNeil, Vydra, (Subs) Peacock-Farrell, Jensen, Thompson, Dunne, Thomas, Goodridge, Long
Goals – (Burnley) Mee (61)
Attendance – 0 (Behind Close doors)