Crystal Palace 1, Burnley 1: Chris Boden's thoughts on another step in the right direction

Burnley and Sean Dyche have had enough of motorways and traffic this week.
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But they put up a sufficient road block to frustrate Crystal Palace and make it seven points from nine, which has seen their points tally tripled, and turned their survival hopes around.

As Dyche said, following a week of roughly 1,115 miles on the road, with trips to Brighton and Crystal Palace, with a home clash with Spurs sandwiched inbetween: “We ask a lot of these players.

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"We came all the way down to Brighton (last Saturday), it took hours. Then we came down here and it took hours

Aaron Lennon forces the equaliserAaron Lennon forces the equaliser
Aaron Lennon forces the equaliser

"I drove down and it took me seven (hours) so it is a big ask and those type of journeys are not ideal.

"We looked a bit sluggish in the first half but it was a very strong response second half, I thought.”

And while it was arguably the softest performance of the three, particularly in a testing first half, the Clarets were strong enough of mind and body to come from behind and move within a point of Everton, two of a Leeds side in freefall, with two games in hand, and three of a similarly struggling Brentford, with three games in hand, and a trip to the Brentford Community Stadium on March 12th to come.

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This was a fifth occasion this season where Burnley had claimed a result having gone behind - they have claimed more points from losing positions than Arsenal and Wolves, and as many as Manchester City, who, admittedly, aren't often trailing their opponents!

But it again showed their firm mentality, as they extended their recent sequence of results to one defeat in seven games, having conceded just three goals in that time.

They could have been forgiven for thinking that six points from nine was a superb return, especially after a 'bonus' three points as such against Spurs, but they

responded instantly at the start of the second half to haul themselves level, and could easily have snatched a winner, while relying on their defensive solidity and a stroke of luck to keep Palace out at the other end.

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It had all started well, with Burnley getting on the ball and looking to stretch the Eagles, particulaly down the right, where Connor Roberts and Aaron Lennon saw a lot of the ball.

However, once the hosts took the lead after nine minutes with a goal which was all too easy from a Clarets' perspective, Palace held the upper hand.

Michael Olise skipped past Erik Pieters, enduring his toughest test in his recent run in the side, which includes taking on Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford, Mo Salah and Dejan Kulusevski, and then turned Dwight McNeil inside out before whipping in a right-footed cross, which Jeff Schlupp stretched to guide into the far corner.

Now, I suppose you have to trust VAR, but in the press box, we were not relayed a conclusive angle of the goal to suggest Schlupp was onside, nor did we see a still with lines drawn on the picture to emphasise he had timed his movement to perfection.

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To my eyes, it looked extremely tight, but probably just off. However, such is the frustration with how VAR is currently being applied, or the consistency of it.

Regardless, Palace were lifted, and Burnley struggled to get to grips with the game in the remainder of the half - they lacked energy in their pressing, and tempo in their passing, while James McArthur was a useful shield in front of Marc Guehi to lessen the impact of Wout Weghorst.

Wilfried Zaha and Olise stretched the game and caused problems with their pace and trickery, and Burnley were grateful of the half-time whistle so they could reorganise and go again.

Dyche said: "Second half the mentality was fantastic again, to take the game on from the whistle, which I asked them to do, and they did, and then the mental strength of the side.

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"We got about them and broke up the play on numerous occasions, pushed them on the back foot and played our own game and started to come into it.

"The response at half-time was terrific, to go out with such a clear-minded mentality and equalise in the first or second minute of the half, set the tone for us to have a better second half."

Burnley were level within 42 seconds of the restart, before many of the press corps had sat back down after traipsing for a brew at the break.

Roberts played a diagonal into Jay Rodriguez, and as he did here last season, when his lay off was perfect for Matt Lowton to thump in the club's goal of the season on the volley, his knockdown allowed Lennon to drill the ball across goal, looking for Weghorst, only for Luka Milivojevic to turn it into his own net.

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After that, either side could have won it, as Weghorst had a header turned over by Jack Butland, while the big Dutchman had the ball in the net, only to see Rodriguez flagged for a marginal off-side.

Zaha hit the far post as Palace pushed for a winner, but a draw was about right, and another positive result.

Burnley may remain in the bottom three - although they can climb out just by avoiding defeat at home to Leicester City on Tuesday night.

But their fate lies firmly in their own hands, and momemtum is certainly in their favour - and with players coming back to fitness, with Charlie Taylor making his first appearance since the turn of the year as a substitute for the injured Pieters, while Ashley Westwood was also deployed from the bench after Covid.

Top-scorer Maxwel Cornet was an unused sub, while Matej Vydra isn't far from a return after hernia surgery.