Huge clash looming on the horizon - Chris Boden’s Clarets verdict

Blue and white scarves were left on every seat in the away section of the Cricket Field Stand for travelling Leicester fans bearing the words ‘New Horizons’.

Sunday, 17th March 2019, 9:13 am
Updated Sunday, 17th March 2019, 9:23 am
Leicester scarves at Turf Moor
Leicester scarves at Turf Moor

Foxes supporters believe the future is brighter under new boss Brendan Rodgers than it was under Claude Puel - Leicester have won three of their last four league games, having won one of their last eight under the Frenchman.

However, Burnley’s recent change in fortunes means the only thing on the horizon for them is the tension of a battle for their Premier League survival, and, in particular, a key clash at Turf Moor with rivals Cardiff City.

Leicester inflicted a fourth-successive defeat on the Clarets, equalling their worst run in their Premier League history, all on the back of an eight-game unbeaten sequence which looked to be serenely guiding Sean Dyche’s side to safety.

Tom Heaton wins a late header in the Leicester box

One hopes that this setback isn’t as damaging as that four years ago, when Matt Taylor hit the post with a penalty, and Leicester instantly broke up field to score through Jamie Vardy, as Leicester moved towards their great escape and Burnley were relegated.

This was the sort of game teams lose on their way to the drop - Leicester were reduced to 10 men inside four minutes as Jack Cork fed Johann Berg Gudmundsson - back in the side ahead of Jeff Hendrick.

He got his body in front of Harry Maguire, who clipped his heels and brought him down 25 yards from goal. It was a simple decision for Michael Oliver to produce the red card.

But, Burnley failed to make their numerical superiority count over the remainder of the game.

Like so many of the Premier League sides outside the big six, they remain at their most comfortable when they don’t dominate possession, lying in wait for a mistake, and a chance to pounce.

Forced to patiently probe, the Clarets lack the necessary guile and craft.

Any openings came not through vision or invention, but through sheer persistence and hard graft.

Dyche himself admitted afterwards: “By the end, you're kind of waiting for the moment of quality, and clarity, and we didn't find it.”

Gudmundsson, as is so often the case, looked the most likely source, having a free kick deflected against the bar and over, before a surge towards goal ended with the ball running kindly for Chris Wood, only for Wilfred Ndidi to make a crucial intervention.

Wood then headed back across goal and wide from a Gudmundsson cross.

But the Foxes, with Youri Tielemans pulling the strings in midfield, stunned Turf Moor as James Tarkowski was drawn out of the area and turned neatly by James Maddison, who was then clumsily bundled over from behind.

Maddison sized up the free kick, and his effort, despite not being right in the corner, beat Tom Heaton, who got a hand to it.

It was a league high 14th goal conceded from outside the box this season.

Heaton then saved from Vardy after a sharp turn from Burnley-born Harvey Barnes' pass.

Burnley looked long, early, despite the awful weather, and Morgan and Jonny Evans were soaking it up with relative ease, before, out of the blue, Burnley levelled.

Wood held the ball up and fed Cork, who shifted it on to Dwight McNeil, who played it further left to Charlie Taylor.

Taylor pulled it back to McNeil, and he swept the ball inside the far corner for Burnley's 100th home Premier League goal.

Burnley got a better grip of the game in the second half, trying to move the two Leicester banks of four around, but while patient, their passing was all too often laboured.

Cork shaped an effort over after being teed up by Ashley Barnes, after one well-worked move, while Ashley Westwood fired wide of the near post after McNeil’s cross was half cleared.

McNeil also dragged a shot wide after Tarkowski and Cork combined.

The crowd stayed with the players, but the chances remained at a minimum, though Taylor should have had a penalty after being caught by Ndidi, while Ndidi, with his arm away from his body, saw the ball hit his hand and survive another strong spot kick appeal.

McNeil volleyed over from Cork’s ball in, and worked an effort just over the angle after cutting in from the right.

A point looked a disappointing outcome, but it got worse as substitute Robbie Brady needlessly put Ben Mee under pressure rather than clear downfield, and when the corner was recycled to Tielemans, his cross looked up off Taylor, and Wes Morgan headed in - a 10th goal conceded in the 90th minute or later this season by the league’s second leakiest defence.

There was still time for Schmeichel to block from close range from Matej Vydra - Burnley’s only effort on target in the second half - while Heaton came up and won a header from a corner, but Peter Crouch’s follow up was blocked.

The Clarets now have two weeks to lick their wounds, before another tricky-looking fixture at home to FA Cup semi-finalists Wolves, with that must-win game with Cardiff at Turf Moor looming large on the horizon.