David Dunn did his hopes of a new contract with Blackburn Rovers no harm at all by firing a dramatic equaliser deep into stoppage time yesterday to secure a point against bitter rivals Burnley. The Clarets appeared to be on course for a first east Lancashire derby triumph in 34 years after Jason Shackell had given them a deserved first-half lead and Sean Dyche's men were rarely troubled, despite Ben Mee's 65th-minute red card.
But Blackburn stalwart Dunn popped up unmarked – and offside, according to Dyche – inside the visitors' penalty area to produce a clinical finish in the fifth of six added minutes. Having been mocked by Burnley's supporters for his tearful reaction to Blackburn's FA Cup quarter-final exit at the hands of Millwall in midweek, the 33-year-old aimed crying gestures at the away support before tearing off his shirt in wild celebration.
"He's a talent," said the Blackburn manager, Michael Appleton. "I think Dunny's one of those people a little bit similar to myself as a person. When people want to knock him he always comes out fighting, he always comes up with the answers.
"I had a conversation with him last night at the hotel and we did joke about new contracts. I said it depends what you do over the next 10 games and how many games we win. He reminded me of that and, going into the dressing room, jumped on my back."
Appleton also stirred things up after the match when he said he hoped the result had the worst possible effect on their rivals, and claimed Burnley lost their discipline in the second period.
"I hope it's damaging to Burnley and I hope it feels like it's the worst result they have ever had," said Appleton.
"I thought [we deserved something] for the effort in the second half, when Burnley lost their discipline and we kept ours."
But Dyche claimed Dunn was in an offside position when retrieving Jason Lowe's touch on from Cameron Stewart's chip into the box.
"It doesn't feel like a defeat, not at all," said Dyche. "It feels like a result that's been taken away from us by an official's decision. I've seen it and David's two yards offside."
* There were 12 arrests at the derby for "relatively minor offences" such as damaging public property. One was made for throwing a missile, believed to be a coin, on to the pitch. However, Police praised the fans for their behaviour at Ewood Park, saying that there were no major incidents.
Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Kean; M Olsson (Gomes, 87), Dann, Kane, G Hanley; Lowe, Dunn, Stewart, Jones; Best (Morris, h-t), Rhodes.
Burnley (4-4-2): Grant; Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee; McCann, Wallace (Lafferty, 70), Kacaniklic, Bartley; Paterson (Vokes, 84), Austin (Ings, 81).
Referee: A D'Urso (Essex).