Burnley vs Sunderland match report: Sean Dyche preaches workrate but, oh for some thrills

Burnley 0 Sunderland 0: Ashley Barnes nearly snatched victory for Sean Dyche's side but saw his effort cannon off the crossbar

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In the hour before kick-off Sunderland fans packed the stand of the cricket club that nestles against Turf Moor, unfurled their banners, and began cheering on a game between kids who used jumpers for goalposts. It was the most entertainment the 4,000 who had come down from Wearside would see.

Burnley are a deserving club with passionate supporters and committed players but the Harlem Globetrotters of football they are not. It is late September; their tally of wins is zero and their tally of goals is one. It is a testament to the work-rate of Sean Dyche’s side that this was their third point of the season.

It was deserved but at this rate a supporter filmed unwrapping a pie has a chance of appearing on Burnley’s end-of-season video.

There were, however, two edge-of-the-seat moments, both came late and involved the frame of the goal. First, Ashley Barnes’s shot deflected off the tip of Lee Cattermole’s boot and looped on to the top of Vito Mannone’s crossbar.


What followed was far more deliberate as Patrick van Aanholt took aim and sent a drive from the edge of the box that would have curled inside the post had Tom Heaton not touched it on to the frame of the goal. The rebound almost went back in off the back of the Burnley keeper’s boots. It was like watching one of Woody Allen’s recent films; 90 minutes of turgid dialogue containing a couple of decent jokes.

Nevertheless, Burnley have returned to the Premier League without sustaining the kind of early thrashing that might have undermined them completely.

Emanuele Giaccherini takes the ball forward for the Blackcats

That in itself is something for Dyche to build upon. “I have been in this game all my life, I know that if you create chances you have to take them,” he said. “I am not naïve, I know you have to score goals but performance also matters and our performance levels are good. There are things we are doing right.”

His opposite number, Gus Poyet, was rather more downbeat. He said: “It was okay but it was never more than okay.”

Sunderland possess resources that are simply unavailable at Turf Moor and yet they, like Burnley, are still searching for a first victory. There was no shortage of attempts on goal just their quality, although Mannone had to sprint out of his area to take the loosest of back-passes from Wes Brown and when Lukas Jutkiewicz was bundled over in the area by Emanuele Giaccherini the fans in the Jimmy McIlroy Stand screamed for a penalty.

Kieran Trippier in action for Burnley

At the other end, those Sunderland supporters who were displaying a “Pardew In” banner kept themselves going with the “Every little thing’s gonna be all right” chorus that had sustained them through their remarkable escape from relegation last season. As they huffed and puffed to find space in the Burnley area, it was easy to forget their last two away wins had been at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge.


Burnley (4-4-2): Heaton; Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee; Arfield, Marney, Jones (Wallace, 85), Boyd (Reid, 92); Jutkiewicz, Sordell (Barnes, 63).

Sunderland (4-2-3-1): Mannone; Vergini, O’Shea, Brown, Van Aanholt; Rodwell, Cattermole; Larsson (Jordi Gomez, 67), Giaccherini (Buckley, 73), Johnson (Altidore, 67); Wickham.

Referee: Anthony Taylor.

Man of the match: Arfield (Burnley)

Match rating: 4/10