Burnley relegated from the Premier League despite Hull victory
But there wasn’t to be a replica of that “Great Escape” from 1987 as Burnley were relegated back to the Championship despite a 1-0 win against Hull City, their fifth triumph in succession at the KC Stadium.
Danny Ings’s first goal in more than 16 hours and the Clarets’ first in 10-and-a-half hours just wasn’t enough to keep their survival push alive.
Perhaps, though, associating the two extremities from the club’s history should serve to remind us just how lucky we’ve been to experience such a journey. Twice!
Of course, questions will be raised about the club’s recruitment policy in the summer months and after the New Year. Such pontifications, you’d imagine, would be directed in Lee Darnbrough’s general direction. Though I’m not here to cast assertions.
And we’ll likely review the season’s key points that led to our relegation. Scott Arfield’s penalty miss at Selhurst Park, Danny Ings hitting the most late on against Villa, David Jones’s failure to hit the target moments before the half-time whistle against Newcastle United at Turf Moor.
Then there’s the surrender of two-goal leads against Crystal Palace and West Brom on home soil, a failure to take chances, Ings’s goals drying up, the team’s goals drying up, and Matt Taylor’s miss from the spot at home to Leicester City.
Those points, in hindsight, are something to ponder for another day. Let’s just, for now, appreciate how far we’ve come, celebrate everything we’ve achieved, and hope that one day we’ll get another opportunity to sample the voyage of England’s top tier.
Sean Dyche’s side didn’t make the impression needed against the Tigers, though results elsewhere had all but rendered their predicament as a lost cause anyway.
A lack of communication saw Jason Shackell flick over his own bar as Tom Heaton moved to meet Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross from the right hand side, though the visiting skipper was perfectly positioned to hoist clear from Robbie Brady’s driven cross in to the six-yard box after the Irishman combined incisively with Stephen Quinn down the left.
Brady was proving to be the home side’s most economical outlet as Steve Bruce’s men continued to probe, and it was his delivery that was met by Elmohamady at the back post, though the Egyptian powered a header over when towering above Taylor.
Shackell headed over from Jones’s corner at the other end while Dame N’Doye went even closer as his header dipped just over the bar from Brady’s corner.
As Burnley’s stretch without a goal surpassed the 600-minute mark, Stephen Harper plunged to his left to deny Ashley Barnes’s header as the ball skimmed awkwardly off the surface.
As the half drew to a close, City went close again with Brady proving a direct threat on this occasion. After Shackell had forced N’Doye to the deck, the Tigers midfielder stepped up and floated a sweetly-struck left-footed set-piece against the bar.
After the interval, Barnes’s acrobatic effort squirmed wide of the upright once Ings had helped on Trippier’s cross.
Heaton then thwarted Tom Huddlestone’s stinging drive moments later before Taylor’s fizzing assist grazed the head of Barnes though the touch wasn’t enough to deviate the ball goalwards.
Jonathan Moss’s decision to give Michael Duff his marching orders at the Boleyn Ground cost the Clarets dearly last weekend, and this time it was the turn of Martin Atkinson to become embroiled in controversy.
As Ings cut in from the left hand side, the striker was bundled over in the box by Michael Dawson. However, Atkinson waved away the penalty appeals, leaving Arfield to fire against Paul McShane when teed up by former Tiger George Boyd.
That prompted a double change from Bruce, with McShane and Jake Livermore making way for Nikica Jelavic and David Meyler.
But the transformation had the adverse effect. In the 62nd minute of the fixture, Ings brought a personal spell of 978 minutes without a goal to bring Burnley’s 631-minute spell without a breakthrough to a welcome end.
Boyd and Ben Mee maintained the pressure from Trippier’s corner and as the full back’s cross fell in to the penalty area, Ings lashed the ball home to spark delirium among the travelling supporters.
Whether it was relief, pent up frustration or an explosion of joy, Ings let his emotions flow amid celebration.
Abel Hernandez was introduced for the hosts, at the expense of Sone Aluko, as the hosts pressed for a point and it almost paid off when his clever back heel from close range was heading for the net, until Heaton stooped low to save.
Brady struck the woodwork once more with another exquisite free-kick that had Heaton well beaten and the Clarets stopped denied Quinn in the following moments.
The home side threw everything towards gaining an equaliser, but the Clarets held firm. However, wins for Sunderland, Villa and Leicester City, plus Newcastle’s draw at home to West Brom, ensured they’ll be plying their trade back in the Championship next term.