Tony Mowbray surely had enough on his plate on Saturday night without having to pull aside one of his most experienced campaigners for a word about a shouting match he had with some West Bromwich fans following Burnley's latest assault on the Premier League's sensitivities.
With Manchester United visiting tomorrow, Mowbray had seen his captain limp off with a worrying knee injury and his side then concede a morale-sapping late equaliser to tee up a fourth-round replay at Turf Moor that will threaten to drain yet more confidence and energy. What he definitely did not need was some in-house mutiny. Alas, that is what he got. While Paul Robinson was applauding the supporters at the end of this pulsating tie, at least one denizen of the Halfords Lane stand said something the defender did not like and from there it all became foul-mouthed and ugly. Eventually Robinson was led away by a member of staff, but the damage, if only in PR terms, had ben done.
When asked about it Mowbray confessed that this was not the first time that Robinson (right) had been drawn into a row with his own, but put it down to the 30-year-old's "passion". He might have also mentioned that Robinson was at fault for Martin Paterson's dramatic leveller and may just have warranted some stick from fans who cannot understand why Marek Cech does not get the nod at left-back. Yet that would have been an admission too far for any manager as well as ever so slightly insulting to the opponents.
But it is no disgrace to be held by Burnley. In fact, Premier League sides may soon arrive at the conclusion that a draw against them is not a bad result.
Fulham, Chelsea, Arsenal have all been knocked out by Owen Coyle's well-above-their-weight punchers in this campaign. And if it was not for some daft Carling Cup rule that evokes the away-goal rule only at the conclusion of extra time, so too would have Spurs last Wednesday. In any normal script, that heart-breaking shave with Wembley would have led to Burnley's rapid decline. But Coyle and his men were not about to let that happen. "How did we get them back up for this?" said the manager. "We just gave the players Thursday off and told them to get whatever crying they had to do out of the way and to return on Friday with the smiles back on their faces."
What impressed most was the manner in which they brushed off the inevitable fatigue to launch a fightback after seeing their early advantage – effected by a highly dubious penalty decision, when Jonathan Greening supposedly pushed over Robbie Blake – wiped out by a Robert Koren spectacular and then a deflected Kim Do-Heon free-kick.
Roman Bednar should have put the match beyond Burnley, when he rounded Brian Jensen, but then found wood. So still they believed. And when the excellent Paterson was there to turn in Wade Elliott's low cross their riposte had been long overdue. As, in some cruel fashion, had been Greening's medial ligament problem. "Jonathan said it was his first injury in 14 years and he is a bit distraught," said Mowbray. A scan will tell them if it will be the minimum of two weeks – or longer.
Goals: Alexander pen (25) 0-1; Koren (31) 1-1; Kim (45) 2-1; Paterson (89) 2-2.
West Bromwich Albion (4-3-1-2): Carson; Hoefkens, Pele, Donk (Zuiverloon, 72), Robinson; Kim, Greening (Valero, 40), Koren; Teixeira (Brunt, 71); Simpson, Bednar. Substitutes not used: Kiely (gk), Cech, Dorrans, Fortune.
Burnley (4-5-1): Jensen; Duff (Thompson, 66), Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes (Rodriguez, 86); Eagles (Gudjonsson 60), Elliott, Alexander, McCann, Blake; Paterson. Substitutes not used: Penny (gk), McDonald, Mahon, MacDonald.
Referee: M Dean (Wirral).
Man of the match: Paterson.
Attendance: 18,294.Reuse content