IS there anyone out there who can possibly conceive of a duller finale to 2012 than the 90-plus minutes that was Burnley 0 Leicester City 1?
Here was an hour and a half of such total drudgery that an afternoon in front of the telly with the Christmas leftovers and a two-star movie had become an attractive proposition by about 3.10pm.
“Flat,” was how Sean Dyche saw it. “There was no energy or tempo and it was quite cagey.”
Even after eight minutes you sensed it might be that kind of afternoon when Charlie Austin was forced to limp away from the action.
There was a bitty, disjointed approach to the Clarets’ play, which meant they never got any significant foothold in the game. The central midfield pairing of Dean Marney and Chris McCann failed to take the game by the scruff of the neck, there was almost a complete lack of creativity and the handful of half-chances that did come Burnley’s way were snatched at – usually by the eager but desperately out of form Martin Paterson.
In keeping with the spirit of the time of year, Keith Treacy was invited back into the flock and given his first start under the current manager who has, much to his credit, overseen his rehabilitation. Regrettably, the Irishman failed to make the most of such a rare chance.
Still, it would be unfair to judge him on one performance.
On the opposite wing, Ross Wallace was similarly uninspiring, deservedly getting the hook after just under an hour. Again, this presented his replacement with an opportunity to impress.
But although Sam Vokes worked hard and made some vital contributions in his own penalty box, he was significantly less influential at the other end of the pitch.
In the Welshman’s defence, he was stymied by an almost complete lack of service.
Still, it’s the bigger picture that counts. Only goal difference currently prevents Burnley from being the pride of the division’s Lancastrian contingent. And, Saturday aside, the Clarets’ performances probably deserve better results than they have been getting. There are signs that Sean Dyche has had a positive impact since his arrival.
There again, he’s had longer than 57 days to prove himself.
In closing, a happy and prosperous 2013 to you all.