BURNLEY ALMOST PAY THE PENALTY
Taylor’s strike is enough for point
BURNLEY boss Sean Dyche criticised the officials after penalty decisions at each end both went against his side.
Dyche was unhappy that referee David Coote failed to point to the spot for Jonathan Spector’s challenge on Lukas Jutkiewicz 15 minutes from the end, at which time Birmingham were leading 21 courtesy of a soft Paul Caddis penalty.
Substitute Matthew Taylor eventually pulled Burnley’s coals out of the fire with an excellent free-kick to bring them level for the second time, after Jon Toral’s first-half strike was cancelled out by Michael Keane’s header after the break.
But Dyche’s displeasure was still clear. He said: “I don’t like to talk about referees but when it’s that blatant on Jutkiewicz it’s unfathomable.
“The defender’s panicked basically and pulled him down, and it’s not only a penalty but he goes off the pitch just by the nature of the rules.
“But other than that we got on with it, as we do, responded twice, as we tend to do, and the second half was much better.
“Then you have the contentious other penalty where their lad quite simply runs in an unnatural manner and stands on our lad’s toes trying to get out the way and goes down. So two big decisions go against us.”
Dyche will have been disappointed with the nature of Birmingham’s opener, which came from a Burnley attacking free-kick.
Michael Kightly’s effort was straight at Tomas Kuszczak, and Birmingham had the ball in the net at the other end before the referee’s vanishing foam was dry.
Clarets defender Keane made a total hash of Kuszczak’s long ball forward, allowing Clayton Donaldson to get a touch to the ball before Arsenal loanee Toral made it two goals in two games from 20 yards.
Birmingham looked most likely to score again before the break, with David Cotterill hitting the post with a curling left-footed effort.
Another Kightly free-kick went according to plan seven minutes after the break, with Jelle Vossen flicking on the winger’s delivery for Keane to nod in at the back post, making amends for his earlier error. It was a vital goal for a Burnley side that had played with terrible mal-coordination before the break, and they threatened twice more before the hour mark too.
So they were unfortunate to fall back behind after Donaldson took a dive under pressure from Tendayi Darikwa, successfully fooling the referee into giving a penalty that Caddis converted.
Substitute Sam Vokes went close to an equaliser off the bench for the second week running after his goal at Elland Road, but couldn’t quite get a touch to Darikwa’s low cross.
Referee Coote got it spot on nine minutes from time though, bringing back play for Maikel Kieftenbeld’s foul on George Boyd, with substitute Taylor smashing in the free-kick off the underside of the bar.
Birmingham boss Gary Rowett said: “Considering the fact that we’re playing against a team that was in the Premier League last season and have a vast array of attacking options available to them, I felt in the first half we were excellent.
“We moved the ball well on the counter-attack and weathered everything they threw at us.
“You know Burnley are a very good pressure team that make you defend and wait for you to make a mistake.
“In the end I’m not disappointed with the point.”
UP AND OVER: Matthew Taylor smashes in Burnley’s equaliser