Ashley Barnes deserves huge credit for stepping up and handling the pressure of taking a last minute penalty, says Clarets captain Tom Heaton.
With plenty riding on the spot kick against Southampton, and seconds of the game remaining, Barnes remained cool and composed to stroke the ball past Alex McCarthy.
After equalising with practically the last kick of the afternoon, extending Burnley’s unbeaten run in the Premier League to six games in the process, Heaton claims the striker received a hero’s welcome when entering the dressing room.
“Barnesy has tucked that one away and fair play to him because it is the last minute of the game, it is a big game, it is a massive moment and to stand up with his chest out and stick it in the corner, then fair play to him,” said the skipper.
“When we got into the dressing room the lads were full of praise for him and rightly so because that is a big moment and it takes a man to step up and take that.
“He was lively all game, he put himself about, he was creating chances and following things in, He is great at the minute. To get back in it with the last kick of the game, we’re delighted with that.”
Through all the noise, the England international goalkeeper took a more considered approach to the penalty incident that occurred in the first half.
The 32-year-old revealed that referee Anthony Taylor explained his rationale in detail, though Heaton maintains that the wrong decision was made.
“It is a tough job refereeing, he saw it one way,” Heaton said. “I had a chat to him when everything was sort of kicking off a little bit and it is tough.
“It looked like a penalty from where I was but he saw one thing and it is difficult. We can whinge about it, I think it was a penalty, it looked like a penalty but he didn’t give it and it is unfortunate.
“In fairness he gave his explanation to everyone, he felt he was off balance. I think that was his idea. He felt he was off balance and saw him coming and that just helped him over rather than he was actually taken down.
“In fairness to Barnesy I think he brought the ball down with his leg out and he is on one leg anyway so he probably would have been off balance but it still means it is a penalty but as I say it is a tough role.
“I try and give them the respect they deserve but it is a tough job and I think they do a great job really.”
The result ensured that the Clarets climbed to 24 points, level with the Saints and Newcastle United, while staying in striking distance of Crystal Palace and Saturday’s opponents, Brighton.
Heaton said: At the minute we are trying to focus on ourselves and keep doing what we are doing.
“There is a long way to go but it is important we keep accruing the points and we will be looking to do that again at Brighton.”