Dan Black's verdict: City draw for Clarets in FA Cup quarter-final was a bit of a kick in the teeth!
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Within an hour of Burnley reaching their first FA Cup quarter-final in two decades — courtesy of a last-minute winner — dreams of a potential trip to Wembley were shattered into smithereens.
For the first time since the 2007/08 campaign — when Barnsley, Cardiff City, Bristol Rovers and West Brom enjoyed a prolonged run — half of the teams remaining in the competition at the 'sixth round' stage were from the EFL.
The Clarets, who finally broke Fleetwood Town's resistance courtesy of Connor Roberts in the dying moment at Turf Moor on Wednesday evening, held a 42.9 per cent chance of avoiding one of the 'big boys' from the Premier League.
Following years of disheartenment and disappointment, losing out to lower league opposition such as Huddersfield Town, AFC Bournemouth, Norwich City and Lincoln City, it seemed as though the draw had opened up for us, and we had allowed ourselves to get carried away on a flight of fancy.
For the first time in a long time the butterflies and goose-bumps were back, hairs standing on end as you waited with bated breath for the draw to be made.
But, within seconds, reality kicked in and we were back in 2017/18 and 2018/19 as Alan Shearer produced one for the 'old romantics' when pairing Vincent Kompany's Championship leaders with former club Manchester City at the Etihad.
It's a nice storyline, which writes itself, given the 36-year-old dedicated a decade of his life to City, became the club's most successful captain in recent history, won 10 domestic titles and made more than 350 appearances for the blue half of Manchester.
It'll pit the 'student' against the 'master', just as it did when Pep Guardiola got another one over on ex-assistant Mikel Arteta at the Emirates the other week, and it could provide the fans with a sneak peak into their future, with many tipping Kompany to succeed the Spaniard when the time is right.
However, regardless of how well this version of Burnley continues to perform under the Premier League Hall of Famer, we've all become accustomed to a certain outcome at M11.
After being pitted against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup in December, this was the toughest draw available for the Clarets, especially having suffered four successive 5-0 defeats on City's patch, prior to last season's less discouraging 2-0 loss. They've lost eight on the bounce there, by an aggregate of 31-2.
That's the kind of entertainment that keeps Kompany going back for more. He said: "You can go to the cinema so many times, you can only take the kids to the museum so many times, then eventually you come to a decision, are we watching City or United? That's still an easy decision in my life.
"The kids love football so we end up in what's a very friendly place for us. I knew that one day I was going to be in the dug-out and I'm just wanting the team to enjoy the moment and embrace it."
The ex-Belgium international, whose first and last pieces of silverware in English football came in the FA Cup, always knew that the luck of the draw would have a significant say on how far the Clarets could progress in the competition.
A tie at home to Grimsby Town, Sheffield United, Blackburn Rovers, or even Brighton or Fulham, would've been far more favourable, and conducive to their chances of playing at the home of English football for the first time since their play-off final in 2009.
They'll have to spring quite a surprise if they're to stop Erling Haaland et al and book their place in the final four. Their fortune was in the lap of the Gods, but they failed to deliver.
"I have always been a fan of cup competitions," said Kompany. "The difficulty is that luck plays a big part in it. That is the exciting part of it. "You could get a good night where it's enough to create an upset. I have always fancied my chances in those environments because how you approach it plays a big part in your chances to succeed.
"But when you are the manager of Burnley there are a couple of things that need to land your way. The reality of these cup competitions is that we went out to Man United [in the EFL Cup].
"The draw took us to Old Trafford and all of a sudden the probabilities diminish. So there's an element of the luck of the draw and right place at the right time.
"But usually these cup competitions are reserved for the usual ogres who sweep all of them. If we can get through the cracks and put ourselves in a position to remember for many years we will try our best.
"A draw at the Etihad or Old Trafford isn't the same as a draw at home to any other opponent. We are all at the mercy of the draw."
Burnley overcame a spirited and resilient Cod Army to make it into the final eight of the nation's most prestigious and most treasured cup competition.
Christina Aguilera had just knocked "All the Things She Said" by t.A.T.u. off the top of the UK charts with "Beautiful" the last time Burnley had played in an FA Cup quarter-final.
This episode, however, was anything but. Scott Brown's Town defended stoically, making block after block, and winning the loose balls, as the EFL's highest scorers struggled to find a way through.
Jay Lynch spared Aristote Nsiala's blushes when clearing his wayward back pass off the line before Lyle Foster, in search of his first goal for the Clarets, got the execution all wrong after robbing Harrison Holgate of possession on the halfway line.
The visitors defended with a three-man forcefield, which protected an already impenetrable five-man defensive unit, which restricted the hosts to efforts from outside the penalty area.
Both Charlie Taylor, who has never scored for Burnley, and Anass Zaroury tested Lynch, with the latter's chest and volley from a cleared cross drawing a fine save from the ex-Rochdale stopper at his near post.
Red cards are normally game-changing moments, but Cian Hayes' dismissal on the stroke of half-time, following a high boot on Josh Cullen, simply meant that Town had one less out-ball, as they continued to defend for their lives.
Five changes over the course of the second half forced the away side deeper and deeper, as Burnley effectively operated with two at the back in search of a winner.
Zaroury fired into the side-netting, Lynch got a hand to Foster's flick, and Taylor went within an inch of breaking his duck when a combination of the goalkeeper's glove and Holgate's midriff managed to prevent the defender's header from crossing the line.
But, in the end, their persistence was rewarded, and Town's resistence was broken, when Roberts flicked the ball home from inside the six-yard box after substitute Halil Dervisoglu and Taylor were denied in quick succession.
"I can appreciate blocks," said Kompany, when recognising his opponents' efforts. "I think the way we scored is what they were better at doing than us for the entirety of the game.
"Landing on those deflected balls, getting to it first, and then you have these heroic types of performances. In the end we found a way. I didn't feel we lost our nerve, or had to do anything different, other than putting the ball in the back of the net. I felt that the changes helped us, it's a good result, we found a way, and we've got to be happy about that."