PHOTOS: Sheffield Wednesday 0, Burnley 2
THE celebration of New Year’s Day comes from an ancient Roman custom, the feast of the Roman god Janus – god of doorways and beginnings.
Clarets wideman Keith Treacy could have been heading for the Turf Moor door under former boss Eddie Howe, who had effectively washed his hands of him.
But the hugely talented, but frustrating Irishman looks to be making the most of his new start under Sean Dyche.
The name for the month of January comes from Janus, who was described as having two faces - one which looked back into the past, and the other forward to the future.
Hence January 1st is a logical day for new beginnings.
So it was apt Treacy chose the first day of 2013 to put his Burnley past behind him, and point to a promising new lease of life.
Having been handed a first league start for the Clarets since January on Saturday, the former Blackburn and Preston man found himself on the bench as he returned to the club he helped win promotion back to the Championship, while on loan at the back end of last season.
A thigh problem for Martin Paterson shortly before half-time led to his introduction, and he delivered a match-winning contribution, to crown a consummate away performance from Dyche’s men.
All that was missing from a dominant first half performance was a goal, and just after the hour Treacy provided that spark of magic to deservedly put the Clarets in front, cutting across the ball and guiding an exocet of a shot inside the post, so accurate keeper Chris Kirkland never even moved.
He then won the penalty that sealed victory 10 minutes later, coaxing in a cross which was clearly handled by right back Lewis Buxton.
And he was only denied a second goal close to the whistle by the post, after another thumping strike.
It was a glimpse of the quality he undoubtedly possesses, and now the challenge - as he openly admits - is to produce similar on a regular basis.
Howe tore his hair out trying to prompt the potential out of him, lamenting his fitness levels and refuelling habits.
However, Treacy has bought into Dyche’s new regime, shown the attitude and will to be a part of things at Turf Moor, and his performance at Hillsborough was a start to repaying the faith he has shown in him.
Dyche described him recently as an “X-Factor player”, capable of doing things other players can’t.
That is why he won a place in Giovanni Trappatoni’s Republic of Ireland squad in the company of some fine wingers, and why he caught the eye of Howe, who felt he could replace the creative spark lost by the sale of Chris Eagles.
Howe, on his departure, remained convinced he could be one of the best players in the division, and under Dyche he appears transformed, although this is just a start - a base for him to kick on from.
If he does build from this new beginning, he could very well provide that special ingredient - that quality and guile - to help Burnley push towards the top 10 and beyond.
In amidst the story of Treacy, it almost went unnoticed that Burnley comfortably picked up the three points without their 23-goal top-scorer Charlie Austin.
Dyche’s players - as they are more than capable of - are beginning to take more responsibility for scoring goals, however.
Until the game at Birmingham, only seven players had found the net so far this season - the least in the Championship.
Since then, four more have chipped in.
With Austin likely to be out for a couple of weeks, that is encouraging, and only one goal conceded in three games is another positive.
Burnley took on a Wednesday side who, despite sitting just outside the bottom three, had three wins and a draw in their last four outings - in which they had kept four clean sheets.
Dave Jones has tightened the Owls’ defence up somewhat - based on this evidence by getting bodies behind the ball and looking long and early for big Mamady Sidibe and the pace out wide of Michail Antonio and Jeremy Helan.
The wide players were initially a threat for the hosts, although Lee Grant barely had a save of note to make all game.
And Burnley, with their fluidity of movement in the final third, and patient possession, carved out a series of chances.
They didn’t take any in the first half - with three golden openings spurned, while Kieran Trippier nearly broke the bar from 30 yards with a screamer.
Once the goal arrived just after the hour, there was only one team going to win it though, as Burnley comfortably soaked up a predictable Wednesday’s barrage of long balls.
Burnly had lost their first league fixture of the year on four of the last five occasions before Tuesday, ironcally against Wednesday’s city rivals United two years ago, and the three points took them to within four points of the play-off places.
Happy New Year indeed!