It happened again, but this time it shouldn’t have done. “We know how to win” said manager Sean Dyche after Burnley came away with back-to-back derby wins from Ewood Park.
Many fans want to stick the proverbial knife into the old enemy, giving it a sharp twist. The manner of the victory was enough, and when you don’t deserve it, it tastes that much sweeter.
That lot down the road have had it too good, for too long. The tide has turned – they know it, we know it. The steel money has long gone – Burnley are now the better team, certainly the better supported of the two clubs and have one of the best managers in the league.
Looking round Ewood Park on Saturday, 10,000 empty seats tells you that our once proud neighbours are voting with their feet ever since the Indian consortium, The Venky’s group, took over in 2010.
Dyche is unbeaten in five games against Rovers and Burnley have not lost in the derby for six years. The latest win brings the Clarets one behind in the head-to-head record at 40-41, and that includes a period with no win in 35 years!
Looking down from my vantage point in the Jack Walker stand, part of a posse of Burnley inclined reporters, Dyche and Bowyer cut chalk and cheese in their technical areas – whilst Dyche commanded his troops, Bowyer looked like a lost child in a shopping centre.
Much of the vitriol coming from that lot is that the Clarets got lucky. Blackburn fans will do well to remember the Martin Olsson dive, David Dunn’s last-minute offside goal, Lee Williamson’s red card on Danny Ings and, of course, the Jordan Rhodes shinned equaliser.
Burnley won the derby with a moment of quality, not a referee’s decision or mistake. Blackburn fans sing that “Jordan Rhodes scores when he wants”; well he had four chances to put Burnley to the sword and didn’t fancy any of them.
“We were done by a sucker punch, a wonder goal”. Bowyer’s summation was spot on, but his decision to play Nathan Delfouneso wasn’t. You wonder if Rovers have to play him as part of the embargo punishment.
A word on Scott Arfield, who has come full circle from his infamous back-pass in Dyche’s first Lancashire derby, when he played in Rhodes for that fortuitous equaliser. The Scot has got his mojo back now he is out wide again, and the Clarets will need more of the same from a player who contributed so much to the last promotion push.
Burnley come out of the encounter with Blackburn Rovers sitting third without really getting into second gear all season, and upcoming home matches against Huddersfield and Fulham offer the Clarets real scope to close the gap on league leaders Brighton and Hove Albion.
Talking of gaps, Blackburn Rovers will do well to mind it – Burnley have now more than double their points tally after just 13 games. That’s a poultry return from Rovers in anyone’s book.