Dan Black’s verdict as Burnley fail to turn possession into maximum points in Lancashire derby against North End
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Vincent Kompany had suggested that form or sequences tend to go out of the window when rivals share a pitch.
Arguably, for the most part, the reinstallation of this Championship meeting played out as many had anticipated.
It was attack versus defence, as was billed, with the Clarets — who had only been outscored by Sheffield United and Bristol City — struggling to break down the division's meanest rear-guard.
The visitors closed proceedings with 72% possession, dominating territorially against opposition that seemed content to sit deep and shut up shop following their 15th minute equaliser.
But the Lilywhites' mid-to-low block did the business as Kompany's men, who admittedly took too long to work out the logistics, were restricted to zero shots on target in the second half.
PNE boss Ryan Lowe didn't convince the press with his 'game plan' in his post match analysis, with the Liverpudlian appearing to contradict himself on more than one occasion.
The former Bury and Plymouth Argyle boss, who refuted Sky's claims that his side had consciously 'parked the bus' this season, had said: "The plan was to go toe-to-toe with them early doors," before adding, in the same breath, "Our game plan was to let them have large parts of the ball; that is what they're good at."
Whichever way up it was, there was clearly a method in the madness as the hosts claimed a share of the spoils. Lowe claimed that an early booking to Ali McCann, for a foul on Vitinho, had forced his side to adopt a different stance, but it's hard to see any team altering their approach for that reason, especially just minutes into a derby.
"We could've been better, braver and got on the front foot a bit more," Lowe continued. "We started brightly but when one of our players gets booked, you are then on the cautious side of things.
"There were then a couple of other bookings and our intention was to be on the front foot and get right after them, but you've then sort of got to slow that down."
North End's blockade continued to deepen in the second half, with Spurs forward Troy Parrott dropping into the number 10 role, Daniel Johnson was pushed up, while Ryan Ledson's introduction formed a 3-4-2-1 structure.
Alan Browne's 72nd minute introduction added another protective layer, after Manuel Benson's low attempt had brushed the side-netting, and it wasn't until Anass Zaroury's debut that the Clarets started to make inroads.
Kompany acknowledged: "On another day I think we had more goals, we forced them into changing their formation, they were a 5-3-2 and they ended up in a 5-4-1, which just added another body and the reason why we recovered the ball so much.
"In the second half we had more of the ball because they dropped another number in there, which helped them hold on to a result, but for us it's a positive because it's the first time we played against such a compact team so low.
"Teams like Millwall and Luton have a back five, but they're usually a couple of grass lines higher. Today, unfortunately, it took us 30 minutes in the first half and the second half to figure it out."
In the end, despite the ex-Charleroi forward giving Brad Potts kittens when working the inside channel, Burnley were unable to add to Taylor Harwood-Bellis' first goal for the club.
The Manchester City starlet climbed highest to meet Josh Brownhill's corner and guide his header home off the inside of the post. It was only the second time this season that Freddie Woodman's guard had been breached.
However, the home side had suffered from offensive frailties, scoring twice in eight games, so Kompany's prophecy could have come to light.
"These kinds of games get influenced by who scores first," he had said in his pre-match press conference. "If they score first you could probably write what's going to happen, and the type of challenges we'll probably have to overcome to win the game, and if we score first you could already write what they're going to have to do differently."
PNE would've taken a goal in any form, and so it showed. Their first one at Deepdale this season was a far cry from the glitz and glamour of Potts' finish at Kenilworth Road but, as they say, they all count.
Potts' header from Robbie Brady's corner looped up into the air and Jordan Storey capitalised on Arijanet Muric's slip to head in the equaliser, despite the best efforts of Josh Cullen on the line.
Vitinho and Connor Roberts had opportunities to restore Burnley's advantage, but it transpired to be another example of the Clarets failing to turn possession into maximum points.
"I've seen the Championship enough to know that it can be a horrible game here, but that just wasn't the case for us,” Kompany concluded. “We're trying to work on details so that we can finish these games off.
"That's a better position to be in than looking at fundamentals like lads not working hard enough, lads not understanding their positions, or lads being sloppy on the ball. I don't think we've got any issues with that and because we've got good players I'm patient.”