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Irvine blames referee for Burnley derby draw
CLARETS legend Willie Irvine felt crucial refereeing decisions cost Burnley the chance to end 34 years of hurt against their East Lancashire rivals.
Burnley looked on course for a first victory over Blackburn Rovers since 1979 when they took the lead through Jason Shackell’s first half finish.
But a red card for full back Ben Mee midway through the second period changed the complexion of the game and Rovers levelled deep into stoppage time when David Dunn fired home.
And Irvine, who played more than 125 games for Burnley in an eight year stay at Turf Moor, believed that referee Andy D’Urso had cost the Clarets the points.
“I didn’t think the referee had a very good game,” said Irvine.
“He showed no consistency and for a lot of the game he seemed to penalise Burnley players too heavily.
“I didn’t think it was a red card in a million years and I don’t think anyone else felt it was but you could tell he was going to send him off by the way he waited for everything to calm down.
“There were a lot of fouls that he didn’t give yellow cards for and then some decisions which he decided to give a yellow for which were no worse than ones that had gone unpunished. It was very frustrating from a Burnley point of view.
“I thought both yellow cards for Ben Mee were not yellow cards and have no doubt that we would have won the game if we had kept 11 players on the field.”
But Irvine added that he was pleased to be leaving Ewood Park with a point, admitting he would have taken a 1-1 draw before kick-off.
“We have a point that I didn’t think we would get,” he added. “I am pleased we have got a point out of the derby but it is just a shame we lost three points in the last minute.
“But it is still a good result and the real positive for me was the fight and spirit that the Burnley players showed. They really battled well and I thought with 10 men we were fantastic. “It wasn’t a great game and it was scrappy and there were a lot of breaks in play but I thought the Burnley defence was fantastic.”
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