Dan Black’s verdict as a comeback winner and last-minute goals are becoming commonplace for Burnley
The one moment we are talking about Burnley sacrificing 12 points from winning positions.
The next thing we’re talking about is that the Clarets have collected nine points from lost positions in their last four games.
It all started against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, when the visitors trailed by a couple of goals at half-time.
Their knack for overturning deficits accelerated in theatrical style at home to Reading.
And the pattern continued in a stunning finish against Rotherham United at Turf Moor on Wednesday night.
“The Championship is such a fantastic league,” said Vincent Kompany, after his side secured a fourth win on the bounce to go five points clear at the top of the table.
“It’s such a great product, not just for the Championship itself and the players, teams, coaches and fans, but for English football.
“There is no other tier that is stronger than this second tier. We just have to keep the pace in matches.”
Injury-time winners at Turf Moor are like London buses; you wait ages to see one and then two come at once.
Anass Zaroury converted in the fourth minute to give the Clarets three points at home to the Royals.
Incredibly, it was in the 100th minute when Halil Dervisoglu opened his account for the club to make it 3-2 to the Millers.
His instinctive finish came almost six years since Ashley Barnes – a second-half substitute when he replaced Jay Rodriguez – led his side past Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
However, Kompany does not particularly want this trend to continue. “That’s why we love the game,” he said. “Next time there’s 10 minutes on the clock and we’re 1-0 down, the fans and the players will believe again. I’d be more concerned if it was a lucky comeback.
“But I know how it goes and you can’t keep doing it. This way around is much more difficult, but it’s never been undeserved. We conceded too easily and we didn’t score the chances we had. I think the way forward is to focus even more, stay away from mistakes and make sure we are clinical when we have our chances.”
Jeremy Simpson’s failure to award Reading a penalty just days ago filled Paul Ince with indignation as the Clarets went on to overturn son Tom’s opener with the last kick of the game.
Just 24 hours after the ex-Manchester United ace continued to fume over that decision following his side’s goalless stalemate with Luton Town at Kenilworth Road, another manager condemned the performance of the officials.
United boss Matt Taylor was convinced the ball came from Manuel Benson, rather than defender Wes Harding, when the ball went out of play in the dying seconds. However, referee Leigh Doughty and his assistant thought otherwise.
He said: “It’s frustrating, you need different things when you come to Burnley. You need a good performance, which we had, you need a bit of luck, which I don’t think we did. You need the officials to make the right decisions, and we certainly didn’t get that tonight.
“The throw-in that led to their third goal, you can see from the reaction of the players, you can see it clearly, the fourth official saw it, the linesman is two meters away and didn’t see it.
“My player has gone to pick up the ball because it’s our throw-in and then he’s out of position. That leads to their third goal. People will think I’m moaning, but there are big, big moments in the game.”
The ex-Exeter City centre-back was also aggrieved by the amount of extra time shown at the end of the game, although it is hard to see his argument after the visitors tried every time-wasting tactic in the book.
“I thought it should have been 15,” countered Kompany. “Everyone has a big part in keeping the game flowing. No one pays for a ticket at the weekend to see a goalkeeper walk 40 yards out of his box to go and get the ball and then catwalk back to his position, release it, wave his arms, then it’s two minutes and 45 seconds gone.
“You finish your sausage and you wonder why there hasn’t been a kick. As long as we keep the game active, that’s what English football is about, not three minutes per set-piece. You can go to the NFL to see that . I think it’s worth saying because I think it’s good for the game.”
You reap what you sow. The away side learned that the hard way after losing Cohen Bramall to a second offence. More brilliance from Benson made it 2-2 with an electrifying run and finish in the 91st minute, cutting in former summer transfer Ben Wiles’ goal before beating Johansson beautifully.
The second-half substitute was then alert to Connor Roberts’ quick throw, pulling the ball back for Brownhill, who saved from United’s Swedish stopper before Burnley’s Turkish delight Dervisoglu followed up.
It was a testament to the patience and tenacity of the home side, who had taken just one of their 17 shots on target beforehand. Jay Rodriguez scored it, the easiest of his nine goals so far this season, turning the ball home on the line after Nathan Tella had lifted Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s pinpoint delivery over Johansson.
But they should have been out of sight. Rodriguez’s header from a Brownhill corner was partially blocked before being hacked off the line by Lee Peltier and Johansson kept out Gudmundsson’s first-time finish after man-of-the-match Ian Maatsen’s cross had fallen past Harding.
Oliver Rathbone also cleared off the line from Tella when Taylor Harwood-Bellis had assisted at another set-piece, and the Southampton striker then curled an effort wide when he was well-placed from Zaroury’s pass.
Rodriguez, with the final touch of the half, then headed a header just wide of the post from a delightful Zaroury delivery.
Icelander Gudmundsson got it all wrong early in the second half when he failed to direct a free header towards goal after Zaroury’s ‘chop’, one that Glen Little would be proud of, cleared the way for Brook Norton-Cuffy’s cross to the outside.
An effort from the left boot of Benson was cleared wide, a Roberts header was somehow kept out by Johansson, who was on deck, and Maatsen’s laser-like effort migrated narrowly wide of the post.
Even through all the near misses, the hosts refused to force the issue, instead sticking to what they do best. “If you have 10 games with 10 minutes left to play and every game you just lump it, you’re going to lose nine of those 10 games,” Kompany declared.
“But if you stick to those 10 minutes you’ll have a lot more games where you actually score the goal because the players are sharper, things move faster, so you can’t go against what you’ve done. That’s good. lesson for us.”
However, there is still work to be done, given the “soft” nature of the targets entered. Captain Wiles was left completely unmarked when he headed past Arijanet Muric from Norton-Cuffy’s cross in the third minute, while Chiedozie Ogbene restored his side’s lead after the hour when Vitinho had a gift.
They were sent in full view of Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbotham, who had happily revealed his methods of probing the opposition recently.
The 45-year-old former Wednesday defender shared his tactics with The Star, ahead of the Blades’ trip to The Hawthorns to face West Brom.
The opposition had just sworn in Carlos Corberon as the club’s new head coach, replacing Steve Bruce, meaning there was little information available on how the Spaniard would line up.
But Heckingbotham, who won the League One play-offs with the Owls in 2005, had a “lightbulb” moment, challenging a member of the backroom staff to scour the Baggies’ social media platforms with a fine tooth comb.
A detailed check of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram did the trick, with United able to pick out nuggets of intelligence from training clips on their official channels to help their cause as they won the game 2-0.
“You have to look at it (social media) because there’s so much stuff that’s put on there, and a lot of it is more educational than people sometimes realize,” he said.
“We put a lot of time into it. It can be something seemingly insignificant that goes out, something visual or something that is said, and that can tell you a lot if you know what you’re looking for.”
He may not need to go to such extreme measures to do his due diligence ahead of his side’s meeting with Burnley at the weekend, given that he had researched the Championship leaders first-hand.
The recipient of Manager of the Month for both August and September was stationed in The Bob Lord Stand alongside second-in-command Stuart McCall, the former Rangers midfielder who ended his career in the Steel City.
They will now believe they can expose the Clarets’ defensive frailty on their own patch, having seen the goals their next opponents ship against the Blades’ fellow Yorkshiremen.