Preview: Three wins in a row?

Burnley v Aston Villa

15:00 – Turf Moor – Barclays Premier League

It’s amazing how quickly things can turn around in football.

A few weeks ago Burnley’s relegation was being talked of as an inevitability, but after successive wins the Clarets are off the bottom of the table and looking good.

Deserved – and reasonably comfortable – wins over Hull and Stoke have given Burnley momentum and the visit of Aston Villa to Turf Moor is a great chance to make it three wins in a row.

Villa are on a dreadful run and the less than surprising news of assistant manager Roy Keane’s departure after a less than surprising reported training ground bust-up may have had an impact on their preparation.

For perhaps the first time this season the onus will be on Burnley to make things happen and go out and win the game. A draw would not be a particularly good result for the Clarets.

Paul Lambert’s Villa side prefer to play on the break, using the pace of Gabby Agbonlahor and Andi Weimann, so Burnley are likely to dominate possession for a change.

Sean Dyche could be forced into a change at the back after Michael Duff limped off with 15 minutes to go at the Britannia. However, Michael Keane excelled in his cameo and the timing might just be ideal to make that inevitable switch with Villa being without star striker Christian Benteke through suspension.

Villa’s captain Ron Vlaar is also out, along with fellow defenders Philippe Senderos and Nathan Baker, although the return of Jores Okore in Monday night’s 1-1 draw with Southampton was welcomed by Villa supporters.

Okore looked good on his comeback from a long injury layoff but Burnley’s in-form strikeforce of Danny Ings and Ashley Barnes will be confident of adding to Villa’s woes.

Ings in particular is in sparkling nick and he seems to be getting better every game. His two goals at Stoke were both effectively tap-ins, but you have to be there to score them. Ings has scored three goals in his last four Premier League matches, making him one of the division’s form attackers, in addition to his two for the England U21s during the international break.

Alongside him Barnes is continuing to prove more people wrong every week, including me! Barnes earned his place in the side almost by default with Lukas Jutkiewicz and Marvin Sordell both struggling to make an impact, but the former Brighton man has starred in two wins. His winner against Hull was well taken and he played a key role in Burnley’s flying start at the Britannia.

Dyche could bring Scott Arfield back into the team after the Scot missed the win at Stoke with injury, but as Michael Kightly was in solid form against his old club it might be harsh to drop him. George Boyd, breaking new workrate records, has quickly made himself an indispensable member of the side on the other flank.

Burnley are likely to face a Villa side content to sit deep and soak up pressure, so the challenge will be breaking them down. Burnley found this tough when Sunderland came with a similar gameplan earlier in the season. The Clarets will have to mix up their attacks, making the most of Kieran Trippier’s incisive deliveries from deep, while getting Ings on the ball in and around the box as much as possible.

The prize on offer for Burnley is that a win is highly likely to get them out of the bottom three and above the dotted line of doom.

Possible line-ups

Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Keane, Shackell, Ward; Arfield, Marney, Jones, Boyd; Ings, Barnes

Aston Villa: Guzan; Hutton, Okore, Clark, Cissokho; Cleverley, Sanchez, Westwood; N’Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Weimann

Form: DDLLL

After a surprisingly good start to the season – Villa won at Stoke and Liverpool as they took ten points from their first four games with only one goal conceded – it’s been back to rank averageness for Paul Lambert’s side.

Villa haven’t won since September 13th, losing five in a row without scoring a goal before a 2-1 home loss to Spurs. Back to back draws have given them slightly more hope, but this is a Villa team that has been lucky to stay in the Premier League for the last few seasons.

They also went out of the Capital One Cup in yet another embarrassing result to lower league opposition, losing 1-0 at home to Leyton Orient.

Dangerman: Gabby Agbonlahor

With Benteke suspended due to his own stupidity, Agbonlahor is Villa’s main goal threat. The Brummie-born speed merchant is a threat on the break but has rarely been a prolific goalscorer in the top flight.

A career goal ratio of around one in five sums up Agbonlahor’s lack of Premier League class, but he has an eye for the spectacular and should not be written off completely.

Agbonlahor has scored three goals this season, two of them in wins and one in a draw.

Manager: Paul Lambert

Lambert has had to manage in difficult conditions at Villa as Randy Lerner has pulled the plug on squad investment as he seeks a buyer for the club.

However, the regular cup upsets to lower league opposition cannot be excused by a lack of spending and Lambert’s Villa team has been fairly awful at home for two years or even longer.

Lambert impressed in spells at Wycombe and Colchester, earning a big move to Norwich City in 2010 and he led the Carrow Road outfit to successive promotions and into the Premier League, turning down the advances of Burnley after Brian Laws’ sacking in the process.

He then added further to his reputation by keeping the Canaries in the top flight, but after leaving for Villa it has been a long struggle, with two long and miserable battles against the drop.

Prediction: 2-0

Burnley really should be winning this one according to the form book and Villa are one of the teams we’ll have to finish above if we’re to stay up.

With Ings in good form, we should have enough for a relatively comfortable victory.

How do you see the game going? What team would you pick? Comment below.

And if you’re not attending the match, why not follow the action with the return of the world-famous NNN live blog from 2.30pm. And if you are going to the match, call us with your reaction afterwards.

Podcast 57: Another unexpected win

Jamie is joined by James Bird, Kevin Robinson and Michael Bailey this week.

They discuss the 2-1 win over Stoke: the team performance, as well as George Boyd and Michael Keane’s individual performances. Also on this week’s podcast is news of Sam Vokes’ ongoing recovery from injury and his return to action in the development squad this week. Danny Ings’ new community project with disabled people is also mentioned.

You can listen online here or below. To listen to all previous episodes of the NNN podcast, please visit our mini-site, where you can also find links to subscribe on iTunes. Check out our guide if you’re not sure what any of this means. If you have any feedback or want to be a guest one week, please email us at podcast@nonaynever.net.

Premier League review: Burnley win again

In a new format for the weekend review, we reflect on Burnley’s second win of the season and other results from around the country.

Results recap

Stoke City 1-2 Burnley (Walters 32; Ings 12, 13)

Chelsea 2-0 West Bromwich Albion (Costa 11, Hazard 25)

Everton 2-1 West Ham United (Lukaku 26, Osman 73; Zarate 56)

Leicester City 0-0 Sunderland

Manchester City 2-1 Swansea City (Jovetic 19, Toure 62; Bony 9)

Newcastle United 1-0 QPR (Sissoko 78)

Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United (Giroud 90+5; Gibbs OG 56, Rooney 85)

Crystal Palace 3-1 Liverpool (Gayle 17, Ledley 78, Jedinak 81; Lambert 2)

Hull City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Livermore 8; Kane 61, Eriksen 90)

Aston Villa 1-1 Southampton (Agbonlahor 29; Clyne 81)

Five things to take from the weekend

  1. Burnley can win games ugly. The season’s first victory again Hull City wasn’t an ugly win. The Clarets dominated much of the match and created the better chances, resulting in a stunning header from Ashley Barnes. The goals on Saturday from Danny Ings were indeed stunning in their own way, but the rest of the performance was not as slick or doubtless as the game against the Tigers. Burnley’s defence produced a dogged, determined and powerful display to keep the lead that had been in place since the 12th minute and shows that Burnley don’t have to dominate the game to get results, we’re here for the fight.
  2. Newcastle can’t stop winning. Yet another victory from Alan Pardew’s Magpies saw them rise to fourth place on Saturday before Manchester United played later in the afternoon, albeit their latest win coming against now bottom of the table QPR. However, those are the types of games that big teams can slip up on, but there wasn’t a chance of that happening in truth as it simply seems impossible to stop Newcastle at the moment.
  3. Leicester City still can’t score a goal. The stat that’s being bounded around for fun at the minute is that the Foxes have now gone over eight hours of football without putting the ball in the right net. This is a serious issue for Nigel Pearson’s side who have now dipped their toes into the relegation zone and are ahead of the Clarets on just goal difference.
  4. Chelsea have pretty much won the league. The Blues walked to victory against the Baggies at Stamford Bridge and barely even broke a sweat building their two-goal lead through Diego Costa and Eden Hazard. They probably could have had as many as they wanted too, but in reality it’s only November and Jose Mourinho seems to be strolling his way to the Premier League title.
  5. Spurs LOVE making things hard for themselves. Going behind in the eighth minute was hardly ideal for Spurs, however that’s exactly thing kind of thing that just happens to them. Luckily for Mauricio Pochettino the men in white were able to fight back (perhaps thanks to Gaston Ramirez’ red card) to victory, and hopefully they can push on to where they want to be.

Something to celebrate

I’m discounting “Burnley winning” as that’s slightly too obvious. In a very closely related note though, it would probably be the performance of Michael Kightly and his involvement in Burnley’s two goals. Kightly’s pressure on Asmir Begovic forced the loose ball from which Ings finished his first and supplied the inch-perfect cross from which the striker volleyed in his second. The former Stoke player made absolutely no mistake when punishing his past side and filled the boots of the injured Scott Arfield brilliantly.

Something a little less exciting…

From a Clarets point of view, and I for one am actually a big fan of Palace’s venture in the Premier League and the Eagles’ victory against Liverpool is probably something we didn’t hope for. Burnley have climbed off the bottom of the league but they would have been 18th had Liverpool done the business at Selhurst Park – as it is, Neil Warnock’s men have climbed to 15th, two points ahead of the Clarets.

The weekend’s big movers

The big news for Clarets fans is of course that Burnley have pulled themselves off the bottom of the table, but there were some other important movers too. I’ve already mentioned Crystal Palace rising from 19th to 15th after their win, and that highlights just how close the table has become with Stoke City in 11th now just five points ahead of Burnley in 19th.

Manchester United fans have plenty to celebrate after a dreary start to the season as their perhaps unexpected (undeserved… don’t shoot!) victory at the Emirates lifts them into the final Champions League spot in fourth. Everton are still trying to make up for their slow form and are now just two points off a Europa League place, while Newcastle’s rise up the table is nothing shy of remarkable. As for the VERY top of the table, I doubt I’ll be discussing much movement any time soon.

Pick of the quotes

  • Sean Dyche – “Our will and desire to win was fantastic, but that’s something that you have to build and work on. Our players are learning and developing.
  • Mark Hughes – “We’re disappointed with the opening period and that’s what has cost us the three points. We were totally dominant.”
  • Jose Mourinho -“I don’t remember seeing football of that dimension many times at Stamford Bridge”
  • Brendan Rodgers – “We need to find a solution quickly because this is very disappointing, and we have no one but ourselves to blame.”
  • Steve Bruce (regarding Ramirez’ red card) – “Vertonghen’s a big strapping centre-back and he’s rolling around as if he’s been poleaxed”
  • Alan Pardew – “We had a lot of senior players missing so we had to reach deep into the squad, and they performed terrifically.”

Report: Vintage Clarets 2-1 Ted’s Old Boys

It was definitely a game of three halves for the Vintage Clarets as they ran out 2-1 winners against St. Theodores Old Boys at Burnley Belvedere FC in support of Mick Ennis with goals from Roger Eli and Brad Maylett.

Around 1,500 people turned out on a sunny Lancashire afternoon to show their appreciation the teacher affectionately known as ‘Mennis’ who is currently receiving treatment for cancer.

Blessed Trinity (formerly St ‘Teds’ Theodore’s) sports-mad teacher Mick has spent countless out of school hours supporting pupils to reach their sporting ambitions. He has managed school football teams to 8 Lancashire Cup Finals and 1 National Final. He also managed teams to 3 Lancashire Cricket Finals.

The game was played as three periods of 30 minutes with a different team from St Theodore’s playing in each.

The first chance fell to Teds with Nick Palich sliding in at the near post and Chris Pearce showed that he still had a sense of humour by shouting ”Yes!” as he failed to connect with the delivery.

It didn’t take the former pros long to take the lead. NNN columnist Paul Weller headed the ball in the box and Graham Lancashire saw it cleared off the line twice before it dropped to Roger Eli, whose header lobbed in to the far corner.

Andy Devanney, Twitter
Andy Devanney, Twitter

Weller was again in the thick of the action after a quarter of an hour when he saw his free-kick hit the wall and five minutes later he leapt like a salmon only to see his header saved. However, the resulting corner fell to Brad Maylett, who doubled the lead.

Pearce was again up to mischief when he charged up the field for a corner and hounded the Teds keeper just before the first break.

The second period was a quieter affair. Jamie Hoyland spurned a golden opportunity when his header went close and Graham Lancashire was on hand to console him.

Andy Devanney, Twitter
Andy Devanney, Twitter

When I say console, I mean laugh.

Manager John Deary gave Vintage Clarets debuts to Alex Kevan, Lee Roche, Jason Heffernan and Dennis Hill.

The final third saw the big guns rolled out for the Ormerod Road school boys. Manchester United’s Class of ’92 starlet Chris Casper was joined by former Claret John Mullin and his brother and Accrington Stanley legend Paul.

Andy Devanney, Twitter
Andy Devanney, Twitter

The pressure was immediately piled on from the Mullin brothers with wave after wave of attack culminating in Dean Stowe slotting the ball in the far corner despite a valiant Phil Eastwood challenge.

I suppose it was win, lose and draw for both teams but there can be only one winner and that was Mick Ennis who was able to attend part of the game.

The game was played with a superb spirit and there was little for professional football league referee Graham Salisbury to do.

Following the game there was an auction with some amazing pieces of memorabilia donated from far and wide. Jimmy Anderson had donated a signed England cricket shirt. There was a Manchester United shirt signed by Angel di Maria and signed Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs photos.

Man of the moment Danny Ings was actually in attendance and he donated his shirt from the Stoke City game as well as a pair of his orange boots. But my favourite lot of the evening was a signed picture of Bertie Bee rugby tackling that streaker against Preston North End.

Well over £2,000 was raised from those sales alone. Who said there was no money in Burnley?

It really was a terrific event and thanks must be given to all those who organised it.

Vintage Clarets: Pearce, Ishy, Atkinson, Eastwood, Harrison, Hoyland, Lancashire, Cartwright, Weller, Mumby, Eli
Subs: Kevan, Maylett, Roche, Heffernan, Hill, Deary

Teds team 1: Heys, Palich, Clarke, Perry, Taylor, Horne, Woodfield, Fogarty, Dugdale, Stowe, Finn
Subs: Russell

Teds team 2: Garnett, Byrne, Bentley, Byrne, Cole, Ennis, Geogheghan, Boyle, Cole, Berry
Subs: Palich, McMahon

Teds team 3: Anderson, Dugdale, Collins, Casper, Walsh, Bridge, Mullin, Bridge, Mullin, Stowe, Horrocks
Subs: McLaughlin

Pacific Finance MOTM: Jamie Hoyland

All of us at NNN send Mr Ennis our very best wishes. You can still support the cause by making a donation to Pendleside Hospice and include gift aid as a taxpayer.

Make a donation

Analysis: Stoke 1- 2 Burnley

Burnley victories are like buses. One doesn’t come for ages and then two come straight after each other!

Danny Ings carried his form of midweek with the England U21’s into the domestic campaign with two goals in two minutes carried the Clarets, despite a brief scare when Jon Waters halved the deficit just after the half hour mark.

The result means Burnley are now off the bottom and back from the apparent dead.

1st half highlights

Stoke 0-1 BURNLEY (Ings, 12)

The high-pressure start Burnley made paid immediate dividends.

George Boyd’s timely tackle resulted in the ball falling to Dean Marney and his excellent raking pass out to the left found Ashley Barnes. It was a great take from the former Brighton man and he bamboozled the defence, feinting one-way and another before delivering low into the box. The presence of Michael Kightly – against his former employers – panicked Asmir Begovic into spilling the low delivery to Danny Ings who slotted home from point blank range.

From a usually defensively well-drilled Stoke team, this wasn’t impressive.

Barnes being left virtually eternity on the edge of the box to pick out a cross beggars the question why Phil Bardsley didn’t tuck in to help out Geoff Cameron and Ryan Shawcross, neither of whom could abandon their positions to hassle Barnes too much.

Even when the delivery does come in there are question marks perhaps over Begovic who – with his 6′ 6” frame – ought to be doing a tad better, despite the close attentions of Kightly.

Stoke 0-2 BURNLEY (Ings, 13)

A quickfire second!

It was chaos at the back for Stoke as Kightly fizzed the ball across the fractured Stoke back-line to an ever-willing Ings, who adjusted his body position to turn past a beleaguered Begovic.

If the first was bad for the home faithful to endure, this was catastrophic!

Barnes’ insightful flick with the outside of his boot released Kightly down the flank. Kightly would have surely have expected more of a challenge from the experienced Bardsley but the former Sunderland man was so far out of position up the field it was embarrassing. Kightly had all day and night to steady himself and pick out the willing run of Ings. You could lay blame to the centre-halves for not being alive to the in-form forward but they were left with too difficult a task to close Kightly down and to watch Ings.

– Boyd’s shot from the edge of the area stung the hands of Begovic

STOKE 1-2 Burnley (Walters, 32)

The goal that rattled the nerves of the visitors and gave the hosts the incentive to up the anti.

It all came about due to Bojan’s superb first touch and delivery into the box, finding Jon Walters who got in front of his man to bury his header from 12 yards.

Once more, it came from a corner where Burnley were most vulnerable. Having defended the initial ball the Clarets then switched off with no one closing down the obvious dangerman in Bojan. You could argue either one of the centre-backs should have posed a greater challenge but it was a delightful ball and the header – though a very good one – should not have beaten Tom Heaton, who got a strong hand on the ball.

– Victor Moses went on a storming run but his goal-bound shot was deflected behind

– Heaton palmed away Moses’ curling effort as Stoke knocked heavily on the door

2nd half highlights

– Bojan’s superb pinging cross-field pass just evaded an on-rushing striker

– Bojan again piled forward and found Walters who in-turn picked out N’Zonzi who shot well over when he really should have hit the target

– Bojan dribbled beyond three Burnley players but Peter Crouch could only glance the dinked cross wide with players running in to turn the ball home

– Jason Shackell went down with a head injury as Stoke continued to press and Ings turned the ball behind for a corner with Stoke playing on regardless

– Crouch nodded down Charlie Adam’s pass for Bardsley but the ball went behind

– Adam took aim from distance but Tom Heaton smothered the ball in his arms

– Kieran Trippier’s poor distribution resulted in the ball being crossed into the box but Crouch, under pressure, turned it behind at the near post

– Adam again tried to find the net from distance but his deflected shot fell into Heaton’s grasp

– Begovic went up for a late Stoke corner but sent his header wide of goal

– Crouch’s header had to be turned behind by Michael Keane

Where was the game won and lost?

It was won on endeavour and Stoke’s inability to make the most of their massive 74% possession over the 90 minutes.

A quick start. It’s always nice, although sometimes a curse. What Burnley did in the opening 15 minutes was smother the hosts; they played at a high pressure. This was shown in the opening goal as George Boyd did well to win back the ball to instigate the move. Perhaps you could call Stoke a ‘complacent’ Premier League team now in that they are not in danger of being relegated, but they are unlikely to pull up many trees going forward. You get the feeling they feel they can steamroll teams like Burnley – like Leicester and Villa who both also won at the Britannia – when in actual fact, they cannot without near optimum performances. The idea of it being a curse stems from teams sitting back too early. This is what Burnley did but they were able to see out the victory; against better opponents though, Burnley would be broken down so perhaps it’s something to keep in mind in future.

Endeavour is vital for any team, especially if it isn’t packed with quality. If you have 11 classy players who are lazy against 11 average Joes who fight for every loose ball, those average Joes are going to be in with a chance. Everyone who has a brain cell knows that despite their inconsistent start to the season travelling to Stoke is always a very difficult place to come. In many ways, it reminds me of a clash a few years ago when Newcastle traveled to the Britannia and played in a very similar fashion. They intoxicated Stoke – not allowing them to play their game – and hit two goals to take the three points. It was described as a tactical masterclass from Alan Pardew. Although you could argue Burnley sat back perhaps a little to early, the rapid start and general work ethic is surely enough to label Dyche’s set-up as a masterclass for grinding out the result.

What you would say though is that Stoke were poor. As good as Burnley were early on, you couldn’t escape the feeling that Stoke were complacent and naive in their approach to the game. It was as if they needed to ship two goals before they realised that the Clarets would mount a serious threat. From then on afterwards it looked like a team without an identity. Under Tony Pulis they were ‘long ball and proud’ whereas under Hughes, they try to play intricate football but revert back to the high balls when intricacy doesn’t work. Much like Burnley themselves early in the campaign, they looked lost for ideas when they made it into the final third.

A resurgence?

When many predicted perhaps one or two points, Sean Dyche’s men have beaten the odds and claimed maximum points from their games against Hull and Stoke. Before that Hull win relegation was beginning to look like the unfortunate reality but now there is a renewed hope. Many would say Aston Villa would have been the easiest of the three November games following Arsenal so there is no reason why the Clarets can’t claim a third win on the spin.

December is the testing month however and it will ultimately define Burnley’s season. Games against Newcastle (home) and QPR (away) are games where you’d expect a share of the spoils from though that may not be enough with the fixture congestion later in the month when they will go toe-to-toe alongside Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City.

Bings?

The partnership of Ashley Barnes and Danny Ings is certainly promising.

Barnes’ header last week and his role in Ings’ double this week is testament of their excellent relationship thus far. It is certainly far more effective than Lukas Jutkiewicz and Ings as the £1.5 million man is just not equipped for the Premier League. His pace, his first touch, his passing and his shooting all leaves far too much to be desired, meaning an average player in Barnes can still make a more positive impact.

Burnley MOTM

Jason Shackell 8/10: The captain was the best of a very good bunch at the Britannia. Ings got the brace and everyone worked for the cause though the way in which Shackell marshaled the back-line and neutralised the likes of Mame Biram Diouf and Crouch was admirable. Some people have questioned his ability to perform in the top flight this season but there can be certainly no complaints on this display. Assured and commanding.

Tom Heaton 6/10: Some good saves and commanding of his box although perhaps could have done better for the goal

Kieran Trippier 6/10: Limited in his offensive contributions but relatively solid despite a late slip

Michael Duff 8/10: Dealt with the attacking threats Stoke had to offer wonderfully until being subbed off due to injury

Stephen Ward 6/10: Tough day once again for the full-back but he is growing into his role

Michael Kightly 7/10: An excellent display against his old club, gaining an assist before his early withdrawal

Dean Marney 7/10: Full of energy in the middle and an excellent crossfield pass contributed to the opener

David Jones 6/10: Outshone by his counterpart but a workmanlike display nonetheless

George Boyd 6/10: Another battling performance on the flank where he wasn’t particularly captivating but put in a shift for the team

Danny Ings 8/10: Hardworking as always alongside two poached finishes. A constant menace

Ashley Barnes 7/10: Worked his feet into the ground and played a part in both goals

Stoke MOTM

Bojan 7/10: A constant menace and really did carry the Stoke team at times. They were often very uninspired and required a spark against the battling Clarets, which was evident in the form of the Spaniard in large periods. Dealing with he and Moses was causing Burnley a lot of grief so it was thankful the latter had to leave the field through injury.

Begovic 6, Bardsley 4, Shawcross 6, Cameron 5, Muniesa 6, Sidwell 6, N’Zonzi 5, Moses 7, Walters 6, Diouf 5

Where next?

It’s a return to Turf Moor for the Clarets next week as Sean Dyche’s men take on struggling Aston Villa.

Paul Lambert’s men are struggling massively with only one goal in seven matches. With Southampton being the meanest defence in the division, Villa won’t be hitting too many past them tonight and will struggle to manage a draw. In stark contrast, Burnley are in a rich vein of form with two wins on the spin. It will no doubt be a very tight affair, but one that Burnley should be relishing – especially with star man Christian Benteke still suspended for the Villains.

I foresee a third consecutive win for the Clarets…just! Prediction: Burnley 1-0 Aston Villa.

What’s your assessment of the win at Stoke? Comment below. 

Report: We’re proving doubters wrong

Our away win at Stoke is the start of us proving the doubters wrong for what this team can achieve this season.

Going into the game I was unsure how I felt in terms of optimism, reading about Stoke’s injuries and the fact that they have struggled at home and not kept many clean sheets, it had the potential to be a good day out.

And it certainly was. Burnley fans witnessed arguably Burnley’s best team performance of the season, and individual performances including one or two from those who have struggled to win fans over since signing, that’s Ashley Barnes and Michael Kightly. They both played huge parts in both goals, Barnes deserves credit for the amount of work he put in, especially in the second half when being moved out wide to defend against Marko Arnautovic.

The final few minutes was almost (if not more) frightening than the game at Ewood Park back in March.

Crosses coming in left, right and centre aiming for the man giant of Peter Crouch and long distance shots from Charlie Adam all had the travelling 3,000 Burnley fans having no fingernails left come the final whistle. But the Burnley back four, or back ten if you like, stood strong. Despite the pressure Stoke put Burnley under in the second half, I can’t really think of many saves Tom Heaton had to make.

I arrived at the Britannia just before 2pm, and just before any of my pre match routines I decided to get myself something to eat before entering the turnstiles. Its fair it say, I didn’t expect myself to be burning off the calories from my burger so early into the game. I barely had the opportunity to get my breath back following celebrations from the first goal when I saw Michael Kightly put the ball across the goal for Ings to knock in his second of the game in the space of a minute. I had my hands on my knees trying to regain my breath afterwards.

It was pretty clear from that point how Burnley were going to set up: put all our men behind the ball and protect what we have.

The pressure Stoke put us under was unrelenting, it seemed as if we were in the final stages of the game with the amount of corners and crosses put into the box, however it was around 30-minute mark; it was going to be a nerve-wracking afternoon. Doubts whether Burnley could hold on to their lead started to creep in when a ball in from the right side by Bojan was met by Jon Walters who got in front of Jason Shackell to head home despite Tom Heaton getting a decent contact on the ball. It’s fair to say the goal was coming. Burnley couldn’t get out their own half and it just seemed a matter of time.

Managing to get to half time still leading 1-2, I was interested to see our Burnley would approach the second 45, do we go for a third or hang on for our lives?

It was the latter. Stoke threw the kitchen sink at Burnley but just couldn’t break Burnley down. Standing in the away end, I was wondering why I put myself through this every week, I could barely watch. You could probably count on one hand the number of touches Burnley had in Stoke’s half.

Stoke fans started to get more and more frustrated throughout the second half, Burnley constantly trying to win free kicks by going to ground and holding their heads to prompt the referee into stopping the game. It could have cost Burnley late on, Jason Shackell coming out to block Steve Sidwell’s shot with his body, Sidwell then clattering into Shackell, resulting in the Burnley skipper staying down holding his head inside the penalty area while Stoke kept up the pressure, hoping that Stoke will put the ball out, which they didn’t. Eventually the ball went out for a Stoke corner, Burnley were forced to defend the corner with ten men following Shackell receiving treatment and the referee forcing him off the field. It could have been costly.

With Stoke not giving up, I was constantly looking to my right-hand side to look at the big screen to see how long of the game was left, I had no fingernails left to bite. With Bojan continuing to cause problems and witnessing the Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic coming forward for two corners and seeing him win a header which thankfully went over the bar in the final minutes was too intense for my liking. But Burnley managed to hang on for the three points.

You could hear the relief amongst the travelling Burnley fans when the referee blew the full time whistle. I was so proud, seeing every single Burnley player putting their bodies on the line was great to see, managing to get us over the line for two consecutive Premier League wins.

Such an amazing feeling, hopefully there will be many more to come.

Photos: Stoke 1-2 Burnley

Woah – what a match that was!

Danny Ings continued his excellent form with a quick-fire first-half double to put Burnley 2-0 up early on, before Jon Walters set up an incredibly tense finish with a diving header on the half-hour mark.

Stoke put cross after cross into our box in the second half, but Tom Heaton hardly had a touch as his defenders stood tall to keep our lead intact.

Two wins on the bounce and off the bottom – here are the best photos from the game.

Paul Weller: First win means belief is reinforced

Burnley are back – and on the back of a win, too.

The 1-0 victory over Hull was a very good game and it was so pleasing to see the team going back to what it does best. They played at such a high tempo and with no fear, which for me is why Burnley got promoted.

You cant sit back in this league and respect teams, you have to go out and play your game and Burnley play at their best when they are in the opposition’s face playing high intensity football. Fitness and playing with lots off energy is what this team does best – they need to keep that up and they will start to pick up more points.

First win

The first win has taken far longer than everyone expected.

I first looked at the fixtures back in the summer and thought September is a key month where we can pick up a few points, but that wasn’t to be. But I now feel that is achievable in November, with very winnable games coming up and the confidence the lads should have now they have that monkey off their back.

Under the Waddle era we went a long time without our first win and without scoring a goal. This was unusual for us, as the previous season under Heath we were the leagues top scorers. But we had inner belief within the dressing room that we will get back to scoring goals and picking up points.

When the win did arrive it meant so much and reinforced that belief we had and set us up well for the battle ahead. We were in a different situation than Burnley this season though, in that we had a manager who was clueless and kept tinkering with the team. Once we stumbled across the right team and formation we showed people we weren’t that bad and eventually stayed up, just.

Senior players are key

Jamie Hoyland
Jamie Hoyland

The senior players in the dressing room were the ones that made that real difference. They believed and made sure you had the belief and confidence to turn it around.

There were senior players in the dressing room, like Jamie Hoyland, who were being treated really badly, but never gave up helping and supporting the others. The help, guidance, experience and the odd kick up the back side was a major part of why we stayed up that season. Their contribution to that season and for us a young players still learning should never be underestimated, their knowledge and experience was priceless.

The Palace model

What Crystal Palace did last year was a fantastic achievement. Do I think Burnley can do it? No.

Tony Pulis came in last year and rejuvenated the players, but also had a few quid to play with. This is totally different to where Burnley are right now. They don’t need a new manager to get the players going – they are already trying their best.

Sean simply needs money – and a lot of it. In January we need three or four players with pace, experience and quality. Easier said than done I know, but there are players out their who will come in January. Sean needs to be supported by the board and given money to buy players and get some good loan players in – ones that will come straight into the team, not young ones watching from the side.

Danny Ings and Ashley Barnes

Ashley Barnes 2014
I think Danny Ings is the major factor in why Burnley have started to perform better and why we have belief going forward.

Danny showed last week playing for England that he can lead the line by himself. He has the pace to get in behind, he can come short when he needs to and he also has an eye for goal.

I still think 4-4-2 is football suicide at times (away from home and against the top 7) but what Danny showed last week is that we can adopt the 4-5-1 system and that he can be our main man from the front.

Ashley Barnes is a hard working striker and one that his fellow players would appreciate in the team. Has he got enough quality to be a striker in the Premier League? I don’t think so, but he has the shirt at the moment and he won’t give that up with out a fight.

The FBAs

Finally, a big congratulations to all the guys involved in the No Nay Never podcast. Being shortlisted for the Football Blogging Awards was a great achievement and a just reward for all the hard work everyone puts in. It’s been a pleasure to be a small part of it and I’d just like to say thanks to everyone who reads, listens and voted for us. UTC.

Was the Hull game a turning point? Leave a comment below.