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17:50 2nd December 2012

Burnley 1 Blackburn Rovers 1

Sam Vokes wrote his name into Burnley folklore with the goal that eased, if not ended, 33 years of hurt for the Clarets.

Not since 1979 have Burnley got the better of their bitter East Lancashire rivals.

And while the Clarets must wait to end that run, Vokes’ late equaliser brought to a halt a run of six successive league defeats to their derby foes.

Despite dominating the first half, Sean Dyche’s side looked set to add to the unwanted record when master poacher Jordan Rhodes headed Blackburn ahead after 67 minutes.

But Burnley found it in themselves to mount a late response and in the 89th-minute substitute Vokes headed home the Clarets’ first goal in the fixture at Turf Moor since Boxing Day, 1978.

Like another Christmas present – albeit a long time in the coming – the striker’s second goal of the season was no more than his side deserved and at least ensure pride remained intact before the teams do battle again in March.

With Turf Moor all but sold out in anticipation of the Clarets’ bid to re-write recent history, Burnley responded by settling the quickest and after a typically cagey start forced the issue in an increasingly one-sided first half.

With ten minutes gone Martin Paterson had the opportunity to tee up Chris McCann after a mis-cue from Dean Marney, back in Burnley’s starting line-up after a one-match ban, but his pass lacked the necessary accuracy.

And even though Ross Wallace got a second bite at the cherry, his shot under pressure flew over the top.

Wallace, like play-maker Brian Stock, was heavily involved and when he played ball into the path of McCann the midfielder stabbed an effort wide before the first real chance came in the 26th-minute.

Rovers had done a decent job of blocking balls into their penalty area but when a cross from Kieran Trippier was allowed to reach Charlie Austin it took an outstanding interception from Scott Dann to prevent Austin volleying Burnley ahead.

From the corner that followed Wallace and Marney combined well to create a half-chance for Jason Shackell with a volley which he couldn’t keep down.

And after a typically frenetic start that was the cue for the Clarets to take complete control and stretch Blackburn to the limit.

Michael Duff had been a colossus Burnley and when he strode out from the back and picked out Wallace the little winger ran at Rovers and let fly with a shot with Paul Robinson could only parry.
Austin Attempt Robinson
But if that was unconvincing, the former England international showed his class with two superb saves just before half time to deny the Clarets the lead they deserved.

With Burnley’s crosses starting to find their range Austin thought he had scored from a Wallace delivery only for Robinson to make a flying stop to keep out his goal-bound header.

And when the ball dropped at Paterson’s feet moments later his shot on the turn was curling towards the bottom corner before Robinson flung himself to his right to save his team again.

The Clarets had done everything right bar take the lead and Blackburn manager Henning Berg waited just ten minutes of the second half to try and engineer an improvement in his side with Joshua King replacing Pedersen.

And the on-loan Manchester United forward certainly livened up the visitors, who were only inches away from going ahead with an hour gone when only moments after Austin had almost got on the end of a Wallace cross at one end, Colin Kazim-Richards curled an effort just past the post at the other.

That triggered Blackburn’s best spell of the game as Mauro Formica began to exert an influence and the Clarets were put under pressure for the first time.

Paterson Attempt 

And mid-way through the second half that paid off as Rhodes pounced to make it 1-0.

The striker had barely had a kick but he needed just one sniff of goal make the difference.

Excellent play by right-back Adam Henley released Formica and from his cross Rhodes dived full length to glance a header beyond Lee Grant.

All the Clarets’ early momentum appeared to have been sucked out of them, although Shackell did his best to get his side back into it as the captain charged forward to get on the end of an Austin knock-down with an effort which he lifted over the top.

And with 15 minutes to go Dyche made a double change with Danny Ings and Junior Stanislas sent on to try and force a response.

The pair helped force a succession of corners as the Clarets geared up for a late push but Dann and Grant Hanley had never given an inch all afternoon and continued to stand firm.

With time running out it looked as though Rovers would hold out and inflict more pain on a generation of Clarets.

But with a minute to go of normal time Vokes emerged as the hero.

The big striker had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes but when Stanislas earned and delivered a free-kick, Vokes climbed highest in a crowded penalty area to glance a header past Robinson and into the far corner to claim one of the most popular and welcome goals scored at Turf Moor in decades.

Vokes might even have won it with another header from a Marney cross which flew over the top in stoppage time but with pride intact one point felt like sufficient reward on a dramatic day.

vokes header

Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Mee, Duff, Shackell, Stock (Ings 75), Marney, McCann (Vokes 86), Austin, Paterson (Stanislas 75), Wallace. Subs: Edgar, Lafferty, Bartley, Jensen.

Booked: Duff 57

Blackburn Rovers: Robinson, Henley, Martin Olsson, Hanley, Dann, Lowe, Murphy, Formica (Vukevic 79), Rhodes, Kazim-Richards, Pedersen (King 55). Subs: Givet, Dunn, Markus Olsson, Rochina, Kean.

Booked: Murphy 25

Referee: Lee Mason

Attendance: 21,341