Burnley 1 v 1 Sheffield United (FA Premier League)
Following two successive 1-0 wins the Clarets returned to Premier League action against Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United. Sean Dyche had to make two changes to the starting line-up that won at Crystal Palace, with Ben Mee and Jack Cork replaced by Kevin Long and Jay Rodriguez. There was some good news for the Clarets boss with Robbie Brady Chris Wood and Johan Berg Gudmundsson all returning to the bench.
The vistors should have taken the lead in the first minute of the game, as striker Oliver McBurnie found himself clear twelve yards from goal following a terrific back flick from David McGoldrick. His first time shot produced a excellent reaction save from Clarets goalkeeper Nick Pope, who some how managed to get an outstretched foot to the ball.
Sheffield United had the ball in the Clarets net just two minutes later, when a long throw into the area was misjudged by England International Nick Pope, the ball fell to Norwood who slammed it into an empty goal only for it to be ruled out due to a foul on the keeper.
On nine minutes, the Clarets won the ball on the half-way line before playing the ball in field to Jay Rodriguez who runs at the Sheffield United in the middle of the park before sliding the ball to Erik Pieters on the left, his first time pass plays in Vydra at the edge of the box with just Henderson to beat but the Clarets striker sent his shot just wide.
The Blades should have taken the lead on ten minutes, when Ollie McBurnie broke into the Clarets area after getting passed Charlie Taylor before pulling the ball back to Berge who’s shot from the edge of the six yard box was blocked by James Tarkowski before the ball went out for a corner.
After a twenty minute period with very few goal mouth action the next real effort came to the visitors on thrity-four minutes, when an Ollie Norwood corner was met at the edge of the six yard box by John Egan, but his header back across goal went just over the Clarets crossbar with goalkeeper Nick Pope well beaten.
The Clarets then went close on thrity-seven minutes, when Phil Bardsley collected the ball on the half-way line before running towards the Sheffield United box. He then hit a shot from long range which Henderson in the Sheffield United goal could only parry back into the danger area and the ball just missed Rodriguez before being cleared by the defence.
On thirty-nine minutes, Enda Stevens collected the ball on the left-winger before beating Phil Bardsley and sending a cross to the edge of the six yard box were Ollie McBurnie got in front of Kevin Long and clipped a shot just over Nick Pope’s crossbar.
On forty-two minutes, the Clarets took the lead as Dwight McNeil’s free-kick from the left wing was curled into the middle of the Sheffield United penalty area for Jay Rodrigeuz to flick on as James Tarkowski got free of his marker McBurnie to slide the ball passed Henderson in the Sheffield United goal to make the half-time score 1-0.
The second-half started slower than the first but the visitors were having more of ball without creating to many clear cur chances. On fifty-five minutes, Chris Wilder made two changes replacing Jack Robinson and Oliver Norwood with Billy Sharp and Jack O’Connell both of which made impact on the game.
On sixty-three minutes, the Clarets had an excellent chance to double their lead, as Matej Vydra collected the ball and broke into the visitors half before picking out Ashley Westwood, who in turn tried to play in Dwight McNeil who was clear on goal, but the final pass was intercepted and the chance was gone.
The Clarets should have extended their lead on seventy-five minutes, as Jay Rodriguez hit a volley from thirty yards that was parried by Henderson in the Sheffield United goal, the ball fell to an unmarked Dwight McNeil inside the area with just the keeper to beat, but his first time shot went wide of the left-hand post.
The visitors drew level just five minutes later, when a short corner was chipped into the Clarets area for Billy Sharp who kept the move alive by flicking the ball to the back post were John Egan arrived to volley the ball post Nick Pope with the outside of his right foot to make the final score 1-1.
The draw keeps both sides in with a chance of Europa League football next season and it will have been a pleasing result for Sean Dyche as his side once again showed they are prepared to run through brick walls for the manager. However having already lost Jack Cork and Ben Mee for the rest of the season he will be hoping the injury to Erik Pieters in the final ten minutes is not a serious one.
Speaking after the match Sean Dyche said, “I’m certainly not disappointed, we are at maximum stretch at the moment with the squad. I thought we were very competitive in awkward conditions and made chances that should really have got the game done. Fair play to Sheffield United, they have some resilience to them, which we have seen all season.
They got some luck as well with the corner and delivery as it has got a little nick. Normally players coming out of an injured spell would have reserve games but we can’t do that. We just have to get them involved. But seven points from the four games is acceptable. All you can ask is for players to give you everything and they certainly are.”
Burnley – Pope, Bardsley, Taylor, Tarkowski, Long, Westwood, Brownhill, Pieters, McNeil, Vydra, Rodriguez (Subs) Peacock-Farrell, Gudmundsson, Brady, Wood, Dunne, Thompson, Goodridge, Thomas, Benson
Sheffield United – Henderson, Basham, Egan, Robinson, Baldock, Berge, Norwood, Osborn, Stevens, McBurnie, McGoldrick (Subs) O’Connell, Sharp, Jagielka, Freeman, Mousset, Moore, Rodwell, Zivkovic
Goals – (Burnley) Tarkowski (42) (Sheffield United) Egan (80)
Attendance – 0 (Behind Closed Doors)