Burnley 3 Bournemouth 2
Burnley: Hendrick (13'), Ward (16'), Boyd (75')
Bournemouth: Afobe (45'+2), Daniels (90'+1)
Man of the Match: Jeff Hendrick (Burnley)
Great comebacks acquire a special status precisely because they are rarities. Bournemouth had trailed Liverpool 2-0 and 3-1 last week and recovered to win 4-3. They went 2-0 and 3-1 down to Burnley and proved it is not a fail-safe formula for victory.
They contributed two goals and 17 of a remarkable game’s 33 shots but left Turf Moor pointless, lamenting a damaging four minutes in the first half when they conceded twice.
“We don’t want to become a team that plays well when chasing the game,” Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said. “We want to dominate from start to finish.”
Lofty ambitions were undermined by poor defending and thwarted by a Burnley side imbued with spirit. Bournemouth can testify to Burnley’s fearless directness and the intimidating properties of their historic home.
While Bournemouth have announced plans to build a new stadium, this was a return to a former home for Howe, who spent 21 months as Burnley manager, and a visit to the past. Turf Moor, which first staged Football League games in 1888, can appear an anachronism but it is an atmospheric one.
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“The fans see a team that give every inch every week to win a game and that is a powerful thing,” Burnley manager Sean Dyche said.
It helps explain why Burnley have a better home record than either Manchester club.
They can acquire considerable momentum, and found the net in memorable and mundane fashion in quick succession. The spectacular surprise came first, Jeff Hendrick unleashing a sublime 20-yard volley after controlling Matt Lowton’s through ball with a sharp touch.
“Fantastic,” Dyche said. “It is just a shame we aren’t Arsenal so it won’t be shown 1,000 times, just four.”
Then came a more typical Burnley goal, even if it was Stephen Ward’s first in the Premier League since January 2012. The full-back applied a simple finish after a sprawling Artur Boruc had just kept out the unmarked Ben Mee’s header. “Criminal,” Howe said.
He had granted just a third Premier League start to Ryan Fraser, with the improbable sight of the Scot selected ahead of a rested Jack Wilshere, and Liverpool’s tormentor was the instigator of the move that led to Benik Afobe halving the deficit. Dyche queried the amount of stoppage time played when the striker scored — “one minute was added and my watch said 1.17” — but Howe was also irritated by decisions as the drama proved relentless.
Dyche was happier with one choice: his own. He sent on two strikers when defending a 2-1 lead. Both Ashley Barnes and Andre Gray could have scored. Instead the latter set up Burnley’s third goal, finding George Boyd with a clever back-heel. He duly defeated Boruc for Burnley’s 14th home league goal, equalling their total in the 2014-15 Premier League season.
“We can be effective from the bench,” the Burnley manager said. “I don’t think we had the depth two years ago. We do now.”
Bournemouth had illustrated their own strength in depth last week. Their reserves of character were apparent again with Charlie Daniels striking in injury time. This time, however, Howe could not celebrate a comeback. Revisiting Burnley did not have the outcome he envisaged, although he emerged with one treasured memory.
These are arguably the two smallest clubs in the league, and also the only two to beat Liverpool this season. It was a sign of the solidarity between minnows when the Burnley fans spent the eighth minute clapping Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter, marking the first anniversary of the death of his baby daughter Renee. “The way they applauded to a man was very special,” Howe said.
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