PROMOTION PARTY FALLS FLAT AS REF RAGE RULES
Burnley forced to wait to go up
BURNLEY boss Sean Dyche claimed referee Dean Whitestone was the real party pooper after his side’s automatic promotion celebrations were put on ice by ten-man Middlesbrough.
Jacob Butterfield fired in the only goal of the game shortly after half-time for the visitors at Turf Moor while Dyche’s side lacked a ruthless edge when chances came their way.
However, the Burnley managed believed they should have had two penalties, first when Jonathan Woodgate shoved Scott Arfield and then when Nathaniel Chalobah bundled Danny Ings over and it was of little consequence when Boro’s Daniel Ayala was sent off in stoppage time.
Had Dyche’s side won and other results gone their way they would have been toasting their promotion to the Premier League but instead the Burnley boss was left to berate the officials.
“It is a top-end performance by our standards, totally dominant, fantastic energy on show and it is incredible the ball didn’t end up in their net at some point,” said Dyche, whose side need five points from their last four games to be sure of automatic promotion.
“Their keeper is man of the match but the officials weren’t man of the match. There were certainly two absolutely blatant decisions not given. I have spoken to the referee and it always amazes when they say ‘it is opinion.’ I have looked at it 47 times on my laptop so I don’t know how it is opinion, that’s what I am flummoxed with.
“But they have a tough job and you expect it to be done in the appropriate manner but I don’t think it was.”
A win for Dyche’s side, and a defeat for Derby, could have guaranteed automatic promotion back to the top flight for the first time since the 2009/10 season.
But while Derby won comfortably against Huddersfield, Burnley came unstuck against an in-form Boro who have now won four games on the spin.
Both sides struggled to dominate the opening minutes but it was Burnley who looked the more threatening.
Kieran Trippier was a constant thorn down the right flank but Ings twice fired wide when well-placed in the first half and Michael Kightly’s looping header came back off the bar.
Danny Graham flashed a volley over the bar to serve notice of Boro’s attacking threat and after the break they hit the front, Butterfield firing home with his left foot from the edge of the area. It was almost 2-0 four minutes later as Lee Tomlin curled wide but Burnley looked to respond and almost
equalised on 72 minutes, Trippier again charging forward and finding Ings – the striker’s snap-shot going wide to Dyche’s despair.
The hosts continued to press and came close again in the closing stages but Ings again failed to convert from Trippier’s teasing cross.
Dimi Konstantopoulos remained unflappable in the Boro goa.
And despite defender Ayala receiving his marching orders for a second yellow card they were not to be denied another impressive scalp.
However, the victory was overshadowed somewhat by visiting fans who failed to respect the entire minute’s silence marking the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster and that displeased boss Aitor Karanka.
“There is a problem with my language so I prefer not to say anything so that I don’t make a mistake but I didn’t like it because this was an important day for every- body,” he said.
“Dimi (Konstantopoulos) was the best player for us – he has played very well for us in the last few games.
“I am pleased with his performances and for him as when I came he was third or fourth choice keeper.
“They had a lot of chances and we were lucky.
“They had more chances than us and showed what kind of team they are.”
CLOSE CALL: Burnley’s Ashley Barnes misses a chance
SPILLING CLARET: Jacob Butterfield scores the Middlesbrough winner
THREAT: Burnley’s Danny Ings goes close