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Burnley FC column
THE first question in Ian Holloway’s post match, post defeat, press conference at Turf Moor on Saturday was met with derision.
“Do you think that was a fair result?” asked the journalist.
“Are you drunk?” came the reply.
“Have you been drinking my friend? What do you think?
“I thought we were fantastic in the second half and that goal came against the run of play.
“How we haven’t got at least a point I do not know to be perfectly blunt with you.
“It’s a good start and it’s a good question. I’ve tried to answer it fairly.”
Anyone who saw that evening’s Football League Show would think Holloway had a point.
In under two minutes of ‘highlights’ – the first five seconds of which focused on the Crystal Palace boss shaking hands with a fan while having their photograph taken – it focused on first-half chances for the Eagles.
Glenn Murray’s shot from the edge of the box, which went wide, a rare Wilfried Zaha effort that Lee Grant saved before an unfortunate deflection off Jason Shackell called the keeper into action again.
In showing Junior Stanislas’ winner, the commentator (who had not been at the game and had only the prepared highlights package to go off) said: “The game would eventually be decided by a rare flash of quality on an otherwise dull afternoon at Turf Moor.”
On paper, it was a tight affair. On this ‘evidence’, it was a drab one too.
The reality, however, was that Saturday’s game was a great advert for Championship football. Against the division’s top scorers, Burnley had fashioned 16 shots at goal to Palace’s eight, seven of which were on target, compared to just three for the visitors – one of which was off an opposition defender.
But why let the facts get in the way of a story, or rather a non-story in this case?
Manchester United target Zaha was meant to be the star of the show. He drew journalists from national newspapers, some of who have not been seen since the Premier League season. The fact that he didn’t show up should be to Burnley’s credit, particularly full backs Kieran Trippier and Danny Lafferty.
But perhaps that is not fashionable enough for the national spotlight.
The Clarets have been used to that, it has happened before.
They practically slipped under the radar the last time they reached the play-offs.
What a story it would be if they could do it again.