Clarets Blog: A point is well made

First published in Andrew Greaves Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by

It is amazing the difference a draw against the league leaders can do.

The doom and gloom that cast its shadow over Turf Moor following a couple of defeats was lifted after a very spirited performance against Southampton.

On Saturday, I think we turned a corner both in terms of the individual level of performance and as we played as a team.

Eddie Howe has never lost belief in this group of lads and, despite a couple of recent performances that can best be described as ropey, he has always maintained that they were capable of big things.

A colleague of mine, quite rightly, pointed out that no draw at home could be seen as a good result but I beg to differ in this case.

Southampton rode into town on a good run and sitting pretty right at the summit of the Championship table.

But for the most part, the Clarets were the better side, bossing the game and dictating the pace of the match.

Marvin Bartley produced an absolute master class in the middle of the park alongside captain Chris McCann.

He has glimpses of what he can do but on Saturday he put in a mature performance in which he broke up play, got the Clarets driving forward and generally put former loan man Jack Cork in the shade.

McCann looked more like the player of old while Jay Rodriguez also had his best game for a while, although he will be frustrated that he is still looking for a first league goal.

One person who is not finding goals hard to come by is Charlie Austin who added another to his collection to put the Clarets ahead just after half time.

The striker had one or two chances that fell by the way side and Howe said the fact we were not able to add more goals to the performance was the only disappointment on what was a very pleasing afternoon.

Defensively we looked solid and, despite not being his biggest fan, I thought Lee Grant looked very assured between the sticks and that kind of performance - despite conceding late on - will do him the world of good.

The game saw a number of former players return and they had mixed afternoons.

Of the ex-Clarets lining up for the Saints, I think the best performance was from half time substitute Richard Chaplow.

His introduction coincided with Southampton coming back into the game and his drive and energy was reminiscent of his time at Turf Moor.

Things seem to stutter for Chappy after he left Burnley for West Brom in 2005 but since joining Southampton he seems to have rediscovered his form and looks like he is enjoying his football again.

Danny Fox was lucky to stay on the pitch after kicking out at Kieran Trippier and generally didn’t cover himself in glory with an average performance, although he did provide the cross for Morgan Schneiderlin’s equaliser to end his game on a high.

Jack Cork struggled to get into the game and did not really do anything to suggest we should be missing him our midfield, especially with the performance of Bartley.

That said, he is a superb player so it is probably for the best that he had an off day.

Eddie Howe said after the match that the level of performance and intensity shown on Saturday is what is needed week in, week out.

We have a chance tomorrow night against Nottingham Forest to push on from Saturday and if we put in the same kind of shift, I have no doubt we will get that much-needed first home league win.


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